Looking Back; Facing Forward

This is the first of our regular blogs, where we hope to provide comment and opinion on issues that are particularly important to us here in Yorkshire. And in our first blog, I have taken the opportunity both to reflect on our achievements in the Yorkshire region and also set out our plans for the future. And doing so at the start of 2015 seems fitting for two reasons;

On the one hand, it is 25 years since Paul Metcalfe opened our first office on Eastgate; and we’re immensely proud to have served this region for so long. But our history in the region actually extends back much further. Shortly after the company was founded by Bill Curtin in Liverpool back in 1960, forays across the Pennines became increasingly frequent; and Curtins was involved in a number of projects across Yorkshire during the 1960s. Indeed, the company’s first £1 million project was in Leeds; a new Teacher Training College for Trinity & All Saints College in Horsforth in 1964.

So whilst we celebrated 25 years in Leeds in 2014, we’re proud to have a history in Yorkshire that goes back over 50.

The other cause for celebration is our recent office move. In August we moved into Rose Wharf on East Street and have now become settled in our new home; and in November over 120 guests from across the Construction and Property Industry joined us in our new offices to help celebrate both the move and our 25th anniversary.

The building is well known within the construction and property industry in Yorkshire and is also home to a number of property consultants.

It is also a building that resonates with Curtins and with me personally in the way it has echoes of Curtins past. Often companies in our industry are involved in specific projects that come to define them; or that prove to be a springboard for future success, and the redevelopment of Albert Dock in Liverpool proved to be both for Curtins. Bill Curtin had successfully lobbied both central and local government to stop the building being demolished in the late 1970s; and was then appointed as designer in the early 1980s, for the redevelopment of the docks, which included over one million square feet of retail, commercial and residential space. The redevelopment was completed in 1987 and is now the largest Grade I listed building in the UK. The project raised the company profile nationally and it is no coincidence that 8 of our 11 offices were opened within 3 years of its completion.

Rose Wharf is of a similar era and design to Albert Dock. With its tied brick arch floors, its cast iron columns and beams, its large stone lintels and cills and its exposed brickwork; the building is a carbon copy of Albert Dock on a smaller scale. The fact that the history of the building is on permanent display offers a real drama to the internal space and provides an inspiring place for us to work. And so it feels particularly fitting that Bills picture looms large in the reception area; greeting both staff and visitors alike into our office.

And so, this combination of a rich history in the region and an office that echoes our own history, gives us a real sense of purpose. But as we continue to drive the business forward, we will always look back and draw on the company’s rich heritage to provide inspiration for us all.