Architectural firm marks 60 years of working on buildings in Wigan and further afield

An award-winning architectural practice, which has worked on schools, churches, houses and other buildings across Wigan, is celebrating 60 years in business.

Many things in the borough have changed over the past six decades, but Anthony Grimshaw Associates has remained.

Anthony Grimshaw decided to set up his own firm in 1962 after being sacked from his job in Bolton for being “cheeky”.

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Anthony Grimshaw with daughter Rebecca in 1966

It initially operated from the bedroom of his council house in Lower Ince, before he moved to Bridgeman Terrace in Wigan, where the front room was the office and the back room was his first family home.

The practice has remained in the same street ever since, though it is now located a few doors down and covers three floors.

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It is now run by Anthony’s daughters Rebecca and Rachel Grimshaw, who took over several years ago. Rebecca is a conservation accredited architect and Rachel is an interior designer, while also having a parallel career as an award-winning ceramic sculptor.

The firm’s roots are very much embedded in Wigan and the North West, but the team has completed projects across the UK as well as in Europe.

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Rachel Grimshaw

Anthony trained both in an architect’s office and at the school of architecture at Manchester School, which gave him a very practical understanding of materials and on-site construction

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The practice has always done a wide range of work, including both conservation contracts and new builds, together with interiors and the design of furniture and fittings.

Work included private houses in the 1960s, schools in the 1970s, and offices and shops in the 1980s, as well as schools including St Mary and St John’s and the Deanery’s sports hall and classroom blocks.

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Other early buildings in the area included Wigan and Leigh Hospice, Bryan House, the interior of St George’s after a fire in the 1980s, and doctors’ surgeries in Aspull and Beech Hill

Rebecca Grimshaw
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The team has worked on eight new school buildings in Wigan, five doctors’ surgeries, two hair salons, nine offices and six church halls.

Work has also been done on at least 26 of Wigan’s churches, ranging from quinquennial inspectors to major conservation and repair projects, plus the design of three new church buildings.

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Many projects have been for repeat clients, such as at Wigan Parish Church, St John’s Methodist Church in Hindley and St Peter’s Church in Westleigh.

The firm was one of four shortlisted for the redesign of the town centre in the 1980s and, as a founding member of Wigan Civic Trust, Anthony played a major part in helping to prevent the destruction of the Wigan Pier buildings.

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Bryan House in Wigan in 1976

Accolades over the years have included numerous local and national civic trust awards, a RIBA award, and recognition from the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, the Stone Federation and RICS Building Conservation Awards. There was a commendation and a shortlisting from the SPAB John Betjeman Award.

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Having weathered several recessions and a pandemic, together with years of prosperity, this now female-led family practice looks forward to the next 60 years.

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