Ashworth refurbishment

In 2018, the Estates Department completed a refurbishment of the entrance of the Ashworth building on our King’s Buildings campus.

Ashworth building at night

The Ashworth Building, named after Professor of Zoology James Ashworth, was officially opened by HRH Prince George on 15th May 1929. Extensions of the Ashworth Laboratories were completed in 1966 and again in 2004. The Small Works and Minor Projects team within the Estates Department is currently carrying out renovations to the Ashworth Labs which are due for completion this autumn.

The refurbishment of the entrance included new lighting which makes the building a real feature of the campus at all times of the day and night. The lighting has also helped emphasise the oval plaques displaying animals from the different habitats of the world which can be found around the entrance.

Feedback about the new exterior has been positive, with people commenting that it looks like it has always been there. The interior lobby has also been refurbished to match existing 1920’s period features.


The 2018 refurbishment has made the exterior entrance to become fully accessible. The Small Projects and Minor Works team worked hard to ensure whilst accessible the new ramp and stairs still reflect the building's original design through the careful use of materials and subtle design.

Further accessibility work is being carried out across the University estate over the next three years with substantial investment in both interior and exterior upgrades. Work is currently underway to create new accessible entrances at the Grant Institute and the Joseph Black Building.

History of Ashworth Building

Professor of Zoology, James Ashworth, worked closely with architects John Lorimer and John F Matthews to create a purpose-built building that contains a lecture theatre, research and teaching labs and a suite of rooms for a museum collection.

Special glass was used for the windows, reducing the sun’s UV rays to protect the specimens in the building. The renowned sculptor Phyllis Bone was commissioned to create a variety of oval plaques displaying animals from different habitats which are featured on the external walls of the building. 

It is said that Professor Ashworth was proud of his building and zealous in its protection, famously making a student replace a 15 foot work-bench after they scored their name into its surface!

August 2019