It’s hard to believe that Armisons, a quantity surveying firm pivotal in building up Derby, England over the past forty years, is hidden a couple of hundred yards from Darley Abbey Mills.
Yet, its current home in a two-story Brick Row building, which the firm has occupied since 1976, is steeped in history. The building, formerly St. Matthew’s School, was built in the early 1820s to accommodate the families migrating to Darley Abbey during the Industrial Revolution.
The school operated until 1976, when it moved to a new building. This was when Armisons, a quantity surveying firm established by Michael Armison in 1972, was able to acquire the building. Mr. Armison explained that his purchase was “a fairly good bargain” and that the building was in a “reasonable condition,” even though his company did have to “spend a lot of money to alter” its interior and were prohibited from making exterior improvements due to its historic status. He praised the building’s spaciousness, high ceilings, environment and proximity to Derby’s city center.
Since moving into their new headquarters, Armisons’ business has advanced considerably. Today, Mr Armson is one of three partners at the firm, which has a team of ten people and makes over £750,000 a year. The company has expanded its offerings, which now include project management, construction cost management and quantity surveying, over the years and has handled thousands of projects. Armisons has worked on the Roundhouse restoration project, the Joseph Wright Sixth-Form Centre, Friar Gate Studios, the refurbishment of the buildings at Markeaton Park, the Derby Register Office and several commercial buildings in Pride Park. The firm has worked on supermarkets, theaters, hotels, sport facilities, healthcare facilities and religious buildings. One of their more impressive efforts was the rebuilding of a Victorian era church in Birmingham.
While Mr. Armison is pleased with his firm’s current headquarters, he has pondered moving to a new location. He admitted that he and his coworkers were “comfortable” in the “pleasant, nostalgic environment” of the Darley Abbey location, which is near a park. Armison also explained how out-of-town visitors were often impressed by the quaintness of their location. More than this, he said the area the firm is now located in has become a “thriving business hub” that is “an impressive place to be.” With all that said, Armison admitted he had considered moving the firm to a more visible location in the heart of Derby. He also noted the maintenance costs of maintaining such a historic building, as opposed to those of operating out of a modern office complex. However, Armison said, “if we did move, we would make sure something else happens here to preserve” this historic building.