School of Art & Design – Wolverhampton

Ring Rd Wolverhampton WV1 1SA

The Municipal School of Art and Crafts officially opened on 21st June, 1885.

In May 1950 the School of Art and Crafts became Wolverhampton College of Art.

Its aims were to maintain and develop the closest possible relations with industry, collaborate with employers to develop new training courses, and to maintain a high level of achievement in the fine arts.

In 1963 the college began running its first degree-level course in the form of a Diploma in Art and Design. Three years later the college had a new Principal, Robin Plummer who oversaw the building of a new college alongside Ring Road St Peters. Work on the new site began in the summer of 1967, and by early 1969 the new building had appeared. 

Architects: Diamond Redfern and Partners with A Chapman Borough Architect

The first degree show was held there on 12th June, 1969 and the first full academic year started in September 1969. The building was officially opened by an ex student, Sir Charles Wheeler on 23rd October, 1970.

Wolverhampton College of Art merged with Wolverhampton College of Technology to form The Polytechnic Wolverhampton – which was founded on 1st September 1969.

History Website

A group of interested parties visited the College, as part of a photographic walk lead by Black Country Type aka Tom Hicks with the cooperation of the School of Art, organised by the Modernist Society.

Being a product of the Great British Art School Challenge I was delighted to find the college to be in rude health. Floor after floor of well equipped studios and workshops which service the needs of hoards of eager students.

Accessed by raw shuttered concrete stairwells.

As a historically inky individual I was particularly taken with the extensive printmaking facilities.

Don’t delay enrol today!

Varna Street – Rogue Studios Manchester

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Once there was a school – from May 16th 1898, there was a school.

One of many Manchester School Board schools built in an imposing functional, triple storied style, they often seemed several times too big, for the infants which they contained.

With one thousand five hundred pupils, it was dubbed the largest school in Lancashire.

Nestled in a tight corner formed by the Lanky Cut and the train line below, surrounded by the huddled masses, in their manifold terraced homes.

 

1963

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Once home to cheeky monkey, soon to be Monkee Davy Jones.

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His runaway, overnight fame made his humble Gorton home a mecca for adoring fans.

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The school’s interior was a mix of wide open halls and closeted classrooms.

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Archive photographs from the Manchester Local Image Collection

Eventually the school bell rang for the last time, and a newer brighter home was found for the little learners.

Lights were turned off and the doors of Varna Street were closed.

But not for the last time, a new use was found for this recently listed building.

Having lost their city centre base Rogue Studios were offered the site by the local authority, and in double quick time they have created a home for artists, a community resource and project space, which will continue to prosper for years to come.

Many thanks to Ms. Jenny Steele Rogue artist for my guided tour.

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