Preston architect practice celebrates 60 years of business

A Preston architectural, planning and building surveying practice is celebrating its 60th year.

By Tim Gavell
Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 4:55 am

Cassidy and Ashton, which employs 50 staff across offices in Preston, Chester, Mold and London, welcomed over 150 people at an official birthday event held in Preston to mark the occasion, with guests including clients, staff, former employees, professional partners and the major of Preston, Javed Iqbal.

The practice’s anniversary was actually in 2020 but it was unable to honour the event in person due to lockdown restrictions, so the belated birthday was dubbed the Cassidy and Ashton ‘60+2’ event.

The practice started in 1960 when Gerald Cassidy left his role as an architect and a planner at Lancashire County Council’s planning department to go into private practice on his own.

Preston's Cassidy and Ashton have celebrated their 60th anniversary

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Due to increased demand, he asked local architect David Bennett to join him and later architect Bernard Ashton, to create Cassidy and Ashton.

Guests at the event were treated to a “through the decades” presentation by director, Alban Cassidy (son of Gerald), and chairman, Alistair Baines, who talked passionately about the practice’s journey since 1960.

One of the firm’s first projects was the design of St Teresa’s School in Penwortham, Preston, in 1961 on behalf of The Archdiocese of Liverpool.

Cassidy and Ashton worked on such buildings as the Lancaster University Chaplaincy Centre

The practice also designed the Chaplaincy Centre at Lancaster University in 1969, which inspired the University’s logo design, and won three categories at the RIBA 2019 awards, and a Royal Town Planning Institute award, for its work on the refurbishment of the iconic Grade II listed Preston Bus Station.

Other notable projects include the design of the iconic Porsche Centre in Preston, the award-winning Riley Sixth Form Centre at Bolton School, and the design of the James Hall distribution centre in Preston, in 2011.

The practice operates in sectors including education, heritage, commercial, social housing, healthcare, ecclesiastical, retail and leisure and residential, with a prestigious client base include BAE Systems, Blackpool Council, Stonyhurst College, Lancashire County Council, Chester Zoo, Porsche, Halton Borough Council, University of Liverpool, Airbus and Anwyl Partnerships.

Alistair Baines, chairman, said: “It was a hugely emotional and positive night and it was wonderful to bring the current team and former partners together with our clients and professional partners to celebrate.

Cassidy and Ashton also worked on the refurbishment of Preston Bus Station

“When collating the presentation, it reaffirmed just how much we have achieved as a firm, and the impact we have had on people. This really sums up our philosophy at Cassidy and Ashton. Ever since day one we have looked beyond the buildings to work with our clients to make a real difference to communities and lives.”

Alban Cassidy said: “The 60th event made me immensely proud. Proud that what my father started was still a vibrant business 60 years later. Proud that the ethos and culture that he applied at the start is still apparent today and proud that I have been able to be a small part of the Cassidy and Ashton story, which I hope will go on for another 60 years and more.”