Charles Aslin

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Famous Derbeians - Charles Aslin

Charles Aslin was Borough architect of Derby from 1929 to 1945. Back in 1924 radical plans had been drawn up to change the face of Derby's town centre with proposals for road widening and the building of a new ring road to take traffic away from the centre. A more finely tuned proposal, known as the Central Improvement Plan of 1931, aimed at also improving market facilities, building a new bus station and creating a municipal centre comprising of town hall, magistrates courts and police station which would form one coherent development with the river becoming an attractive feature of the town. It was Aslin's task to oversee the complete design.

Land was cleared along the river bank and the morledge, where old industrial works were removed. The old Shot Tower, a Derby landmark for many years was also demolished to make way for the new council house as the town hall was to be called.

The bus station was highly praised and is acknowledged to be the initial design for a drive in/out bus station that operated in the style of a railway station, with curved platforms making maximum advantage of a relatively small area. Always prepared to challenge accepted values the station was built of concrete using cantilever construction, this became the style that others were to follow.

On leaving Derby, Aslin became the County Architect for Hertfordshire. In Hertfordshire he became interested in the production of prefabricated schools. Once again his ingenuity came to the fore and the schools became the standard for architects who visited the sites from all over the world. He became the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1954 where he fought to raise the awareness of standards of good architecture.

His influence spans a time when architecture was in turmoil. He set the path for the use of new materials and design concepts that carried the suburban architecture of the time up to the present day

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Derby Bus Station before closure in 2005
Derby Bus Station

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