A visit to Preston Bus Station.

After visiting Northcote, I convinced the other half to go to Preston. Last time we took a detour home via a North West town, we ended up in the Magical Moomin Valley, so I have form in delivering quality experiences.

The reason I wanted to go was to see, first hand, the marvel that is Preston Bus Station and car park. Preston Bus Station is a Brutalist masterpiece, a structure built to last, to provide a public service through pure form and design.

Unlike Park Hill flats, it had an application to become a Listed Building rejected some time ago. Unlike Park Hill flats, it is impossible to gentrify something that runs a working class service. Unlike Park Hill flats, it is the town’s favourite building. Unlike Park Hill flats, the council want to demolish it.

Demolish it.

The arguments for this is that it doesn’t get great numbers, that more people get buses from streets in the city, rather than the terminus. That demolishing it would provide a large area of land for Preston City Council to redevelop, put a mall or an array of chain shops, a John Lewis, M&S and Cineworld. Perhaps they could put some aspirational flats to leave rotting until the recession picks up. The replacement would cost more than refurbishment, and might not even happen at all.

As I’ve written before, I’m quite distressed at the historical myopia of town planners and councils. The desire to demolish the recent past and build inferior buildings, at a great cost — both economically and culturally — to the public.

Here are some photographs (passed through Instagram) from our wander around PBS:

Bus Station interior. Hard concrete, waiting bays.

Car park interior. Low ceilings, concrete pillars, curved walls.

Car park level. View along length, curved walls to protect car fronts.

External curves.

External, full curves.

External curve, looking up.

Preston Bus Station feels stuck in time, generally. The corporate signage is all in the Helvetica of its time, and there are a lot of informal, more hand-type style signs. Most of them have been there since its opening in 1969, and nothing much has been updated.

Far from being a relic or stamping its own demolition papers, it acts as a record of its inception, a moment of hope, pride and of making a public statement.

Internal signage.

Internal signage.

External signage, bay number.

Internal. There are about six of these throughout PBS, all are stuck on this time.

I’ll be upset if it is torn down, but not surprised. You can do your part by signing this petition, then go and visit it on bus and spend a shitload of money on eggs, bacon, chips and beans in the café.


3 thoughts on “A visit to Preston Bus Station.

  1. I’m a huge fan of the Preston Bus Station, and at the moment it seems that the campaign to keep it up is starting to get back on track. The constant delays by “those in the know” seems to be doing more good than bad for the Station, because there’s no guaranteed date for either its demolition or John Lewis’ installation.

    The Bus Station is a vital part of Preston’s transport infrastructure. We need to do all we can to keep it there. Such a disrespect for history would not be accepted anywhere else.

    • I always find it incredible how little understanding for a place’s culture the people who are supposed to protect it have. It’s clearly a deliberate tactic to stymy any development work on it, pending major refurbishment or demolition, all the while letting it fester and rot some more. Make the case stronger.

      As bus station’s go, it was as bus as Sheffield’s bus station, which is right at the foot of the city centre, next to the train station. It just needs some tidying, civic love and to stop being mistreated.

      Love live PBS.

  2. A Day Out At Preston Bus Station | Preston Bus Station

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