Beautiful and Brutal: 50 Years in the life of Preston Bus Station

21 September – 24 November 2019

Preston Bus Station is an internationally important piece of architecture that was built for everyday use by the people of Preston.


Now in its 50th year, Charles Quick, artist and co-curator of In Certain Places, is collaborating with the Harris to re-present and reveal Preston Bus Station through archives, collections, artists’ commissions and interventions, which will permeate spaces throughout the Harris.

Built in 1969 by BDP, Preston Bus Station was the largest in Europe – a space-age structure built in the same year as the moon landing. Its strong architectural presence has inspired a wealth of artists, filmmakers and photographers, including Shezad Dawood and Nathaniel Mellors.

Existing work will feature alongside new contemporary art commissions by LOW PROFILEKeith Harrison and Anna Raczynski to reveal aspects of the architecture on site and in the Harris.
LOW PROFILE will explore the role of people in the building’s identity through a large-scale artwork. Keith Harrison, known for his sculptural and audio work, will be creating a performative work at the Preston Bus Station. Anna Raczynski artist/filmmaker will be creating a series of talking head portraits of people associated with Preston Bus Station.

Preston Bus Station was saved from demolition after a 13 year campaign initiated by the people of Preston and is now Grade II listed. It has been revitalised through an extensive restoration programme by Lancashire County Council and John Puttick architects, which will be completed later this year. Its beautiful and brutal form has regained its former glory – loved by many and loathed by some. Whatever your opinion, it is one of Preston’s most distinctive pieces of architecture and is a place where the daily transactions of the city take place.

A complementary events programme at Preston Bus Station and the Harris will include films, talks, tours and workshops to contextualise the social architecture of the building and its role in the city.

See work by local photographers, taken of Preston bus station during its 50 years on display, on the main staircase.


Caption: Preston Bus Station (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)


Further information:
  • Opening hours Monday 11am-5pm; Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 11am-4pm
  • Location: Market Square, Preston, Lancashire PR1 2PP
  • The museum is a short walk from Preston bus and train stations
  • Contact Tel 01772 258248. Email:
  • Admission is free