GRP; heritage listing; construction technology; design; conservation, GRP, heritage listing, construction technology, design, conservation


This article describes the use of glass-reinforced polyester (GRP) in Preston Bus Station in Lancashire, England, designed by Building Design Partnership (BDP) and completed in 1969. GRP was used both for concrete moulds that play a key role in enabling the construction of the building’s distinctive elevation, and for kiosks, signage and smaller fittings. A survey of articles shows that the use of GRP for concrete moulds enabled innovative and efficient construction and this practice continues to date. Some smaller fittings in GRP which were expected to be durable and maintenance-free have been modified, damaged, or removed, yet, others survive and are in a good condition. The legacy of the car park pay kiosks was to last as a prototype for a prefabricated sectional building system.

How to Cite

Malathouni, C. (2022). THE USE OF GLASS-REINFORCED POLYESTER IN PRESTON BUS STATION. Docomomo Journal, (66), 94–102.





Technical Issue


Author Biography

Christina Malathouni, School of Architecture, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

Christina Malathouni Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of Liverpool, UK. She holds a PhD from The Bartlett, UCL, has worked for The Twentieth Century Society (London), and is full member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (UK). She identified the use of GRP in Preston Bus Station which enabled its listing.


BUILDING DESIGN PARTNERSHIP ARCHIVE, London, UK (internal memos and press clippings).

DUGDALE, Peter, “Giant Crane Will Create Instant Terminal”, Lancashire Evening Post, c.9 August 1968.

FARRELL, Terry, “A Fortnight of Rampage”, Lancashire Evening Post, c.27 October 1969. GLASDON LIMITED, “Britain’s Largest Road Passenger Transport Building, Preston Bus Station, Uses Glasdon Glasfibre”, Typical Application Sheet No 6a, January 1970.

HISTORIC ENGLAND, “Preston Central Bus Station and Car Park”, National Heritage List for England, List Entry Number: 1416042;

KIRBY, David, “UK Lagging Behind in Use of Plastics”, Municipal Engineering, 20 March 1970, S615-S617.

LEGGATT, A.J., “GRP and Buildings”, The Structural Engineer, No. 12, Vol. 54, December 1976, 479-487.

MALATHOUNI, Christina and Janet DURKIN, “Preston Bus Station: Architectural History, Politics and Democracy in a Post-World War II Designation Saga”, Fabrications: The journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2018, 160-184.

THOMPSON, Max, “Which Buildings Deserve Protection?”, “Analysis” section, New Civil Engineer, 9 May 2013, 10-11.

STEPHENSON, Ralph, “Preston Bus Station and Car Park”, The ARUP journal, Vol. 4, No. 4, December 1969, 19-26.