A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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There was a school in West Bromwich by 1686, apparently a private academy, (fn. 1) and by then the parish was entitled to send two boys to Old Swinford Hospital School (Worcs.), established in 1670. (fn. 2) By the later 18th century there were schools for the poor (fn. 3) and several private academies, (fn. 4) and the first Sunday schools were opened in 1786 and 1788. (fn. 5) The Dartmouths, the Clarkes, and others paid for the education of many poor children. (fn. 6) In 1819 the minister of All Saints' stated that there were enough schools for most of the poor and that parents were normally eager to take advantage of them. (fn. 7)
An unofficial house-to-house survey of working class education was undertaken in 1837. (fn. 8) It revealed that there were 7,803 working-class children living at home: 1,428 over the age of 14, 5,805 of school age (considered by the investigators to be from 2 to 14), and 570 who were under two. Of the first group some 27 per cent could read and write and almost 40 per cent could read but not write. Almost 46 per cent of the second group went to school; only 11 per cent could both read and write, although a further 71 per cent could read but could not write. Parents relied overwhelmingly on Sunday schools and dame schools: of the children at school over 42 per cent attended Sunday schools and just under 42 per cent went to dame schools to learn the alphabet or to the cheapest private schools to be taught reading and sewing. The two National schools accounted for only about 9 per cent of the total, while 7 per cent were at infants' schools.
A school board was formed in 1871. It at once undertook an educational census, which revealed that there were 14 schools in receipt of government aid, with room for 6,414 children, and 6 more schools not under government, with room for 1,850 children. A further 421 children were at schools where fees were more than 9d. a week, and there were 5 cheaper private-adventure schools with accommodation for 429 children. Seven hundred extra school places were needed. (fn. 9) A by-law making school attendance compulsory was passed in 1871, and after some early difficulties West Bromwich established one of the best records of school attendance among the Black Country boroughs. (fn. 10) Between 1882 and 1886 the board organized weekly classes for pupil teachers and uncertificated assistant teachers, and in 1896 it established a pupil-teachers' centre. (fn. 11) From 1893 to the early 1920s the corporation was a partner in running an industrial school at Lichfield. (fn. 12)
In 1903 West Bromwich county borough became responsible for all stages of public education. Schools were reorganized in 1930-3 on the lines laid down in the Hadow Report. (fn. 13) In 1946 a joint development plan for education was published for West Bromwich and Smethwick, which were then discussing amalgamation. Although amalgamation did not take place the report's proposals were adopted by each borough individually. West Bromwich decided to build more primary schools and to provide its first nursery schools. The tripartite system of secondary education was adopted. (fn. 14) Comprehensive secondary education was introduced in 1955 and became general in 1969. (fn. 15)
In 1961 the corporation purchased Ingestre Hall near Stafford and established there a residential arts centre for young people from West Bromwich. (fn. 16) The Plas Gwynant Adventure School at Nantgwynant (Caernarvons.) was opened in 1959. By 1966 the corporation had established three special schools for handicapped or maladjusted children: Millfield Day School in Westminster Road, opened in 1958, and residential schools at Shenstone (1954) and Whittington (1965). (fn. 17)
Since the later 19th century several trusts have been established to provide scholarships and prizes. (fn. 18) They include the George and Thomas Henry Salter Trust, the Akrill, Wilson, and Kenrick Foundations, and the West Bromwich Educational Foundation.
All Saints' Church of England Junior and Infants' School.
In 1811, with the help of Lord Dartmouth, a girls' school was established by subscription at Hall End. It was united with the National Society in 1815, and in 1827 it benefited under the terms of the will of Joseph Barrs of West Bromwich. (fn. 19) Boys were admitted from the mid 1840s. (fn. 20) In 1851 Lord Dartmouth provided new buildings in All Saints Street, with accommodation for both girls and boys; by May 1853 there was an average attendance of 60 girls and 65 boys. (fn. 21) An infants' school, built by Thomas Jesson, was added in 1854-5 on a site provided by Lord Dartmouth to the north of the 1851 schools. (fn. 22) Average attendance rose from 293 in January 1871 to 416 in 1881. (fn. 23) The schools were enlarged several times in the 1880s and 1890s, (fn. 24) and in 1900-1 the average attendance was 606. (fn. 25) In 1915, after a further building had been added, the school was reorganized into boys', girls', and infants' departments; in 1934 a further reorganization led to the creation of senior mixed, junior mixed, and infants' departments. (fn. 26) The junior and infants' departments were granted voluntary aided status in 1954. The senior (secondary modern) department was subsequently given voluntary controlled status but was closed in 1969 as a result of the reorganization of secondary education in the borough. (fn. 27)
Christ Church National School (Boys), later Christ Church Junior and Infants' School.
A boys' school was established by subscription in New Street in 1811. Lord Dartmouth provided the site and was prominent in the work. The school was united with the National Society in 1815, and in 1827 it benefited under the terms of the will of Joseph Barrs of West Bromwich. (fn. 28) It became Christ Church National School on the formation of the new parish in 1837. In 1842 fees, 2d. a week, were charged only in the infants' department, (fn. 29) but by 1846-7 fees were charged throughout the school. There were then some 125 pupils. (fn. 30) The building had been enlarged by 1851, and there was an attendance of 200 in 1860. (fn. 31) In 1862 the 'small, old-fashioned, illconvenienced, barn-like superstructure' was replaced by new schools for boys and infants on a site in Walsall Street given by Lord Dartmouth. He also gave the site and buildings of the old school to the parish, and the proceeds from their sale, with grants from government and the National Society, helped to pay for the new schools. They were completed in stages; the last part, the infants' schoolroom, was opened in 1863. (fn. 32) Average attendance in January 1871 was 305. (fn. 33) Robert Hodgson, vicar 1872-82, raised the numbers. The school was enlarged during his incumbency, and by 1881 the average attendance had risen to 448. (fn. 34) The school was transferred to the local authority in 1929. In 1932 it became a junior girls' and infants' school (the boys being transferred to Bratt Street), in 1934 a junior mixed school, and in 1948 a junior mixed and infants' school. It was closed in 1968, and the children were moved to the premises of the former Technical High School at the Cronehills. (fn. 35)
Great Bridge Wesleyan Methodist School, later Fisher Street Council School.
A day school was built in 1826 at Great Bridge for the near-by Wesleyan Methodist chapel, which itself stood in Tipton parish. (fn. 36) By 1859 there was an attendance of some 120 and numbers were increasing. Since the building was due to be demolished to make way for a new street and was in any case regarded by the Wesleyans as 'totally inadequate for the improved system of instruction', larger buildings were erected the same year near by in Fisher Street. (fn. 37) The school reopened in 1860 with mixed and infants' departments, (fn. 38) and under Joseph Vincent, head teacher 1865-1909, it won a high reputation locally. (fn. 39) In 1907 it was transferred to the local authority. The senior pupils were moved to the new George Salter School in 1932, and Fisher Street continued as a junior and infants' school until its closure in 1969. (fn. 40)
Lyndon Infants' School.
An infants' school existed at Lyndon by 1834, when there was an attendance of about 100. It was organized from Ebenezer Congregational chapel by 1845 and had probably always been connected with it. No mention of it has been found after 1850, and it appears to have closed in that year. (fn. 41)
St. Michael's Roman Catholic School.
A charity school in connexion with the Roman Catholic mission had been established in St. Michael Street by 1834. In the early 1850s it was run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul, who also kept a boarding-school for girls. A new school-house was built in 1870, and in January 1871 the average attendance was 75. (fn. 42) The infants' department was closed in 1910 because of lack of space, and infants were thenceforth taught at local authority schools. (fn. 43) The school itself was closed in 1962 and the pupils were transferred to the St. John Bosco Roman Catholic School. (fn. 44)
Great Bridge Congregational School.
In 1835 an infants' school was opened in Sheepwash Lane, Great Bridge, by the Congregationalists, who in 1839 built Salem chapel there. (fn. 45) In 1851 there was a large British school attached to the chapel. (fn. 46) Day schools were still being conducted there in 1861, (fn. 47) but by 1868 the chapel maintained only Sunday schools. (fn. 48)
Paradise Street Wesleyan Methodist School, later Bratt Street Wesleyan Methodist School and Bratt Street Council School.
In 1838 the Wesleyan Methodists opened day schools, including an infants' department, in their Sunday-school building in Paradise Street. In 1842 between 60 and 80 boys, a similar number of girls, and some 150 infants attended. The schools were replaced in 1858 by a new building in Bratt Street. (fn. 49) In 1911 the school was handed over to the local authority. Plans to replace it were halted by the First World War. From 1921 to 1925 the girls were housed in a block of Cronehills School, then not completed. In 1932 Bratt Street became a junior boys' and infants' school, the girls being transferred to Christ Church School. In 1934 the boys' department was converted into a special department for educationally sub-normal children, while the infants' department continued to function as a separate unit until it was closed in 1948, the pupils being transferred to Christ Church School and other schools near by. With the transfer of educationally sub-normal pupils to the new Millfield Day School, Westminster Road, in 1958, Bratt Street was closed completely. (fn. 50) The building, which was of red brick with stone dressings and in an earlyGothic style, (fn. 51) was demolished in 1971.
Ebenezer British School, later Ebenezer Board School.
When the Congregationalists opened Ebenezer chapel in Old Meeting Street in 1839 the former chapel on an adjoining site was converted into premises for day and Sunday schools. The day school was united with the British Society by 1845. From 1850 the building consisted of a schoolroom and two classrooms. In October 1858 there were 70 on the books. (fn. 52) In January 1871 the school had an average attendance of 127. (fn. 53) From 1878 until the opening of Black Lake Board School in 1885 the premises were leased to the board as a mixed and infants' board school. (fn. 54)
Summit British School, later Summit Board School.
By 1842 the Kenricks were running a school for boys, girls, and infants in Glover Street near their Summit Foundry. It was intended primarily for the education of the firm's workers and their children but was also open to outsiders. The two teachers in 1842 were, like the Kenricks themselves, nonconformists. In 1849 accommodation consisted of a schoolroom for boys and a schoolroom and classroom for girls. The school was united with the British Society by 1855, and in 1860 it had an attendance of about 100. A separate infants' schoolroom was built in 1861, and an infants' school was established in 1862 with 80 on the books. (fn. 55) From 1872 until the opening of Spon Lane Board School in 1889 the Kenricks leased their school premises to the board. (fn. 56)
Holy Trinity Church of England Junior and Infants' School, formerly Holy Trinity National School.
In 1842 George Silvester, donor of the site of Holy Trinity Church and its vicarage, presented the minister and churchwardens with a further plot near the church for a school. (fn. 57) The school, in what is now Trinity Road, was built in a plain style to a design furnished by the Education Department, with the aid of grants from government, the National Society, and the Diocesan Schools Society, (fn. 58) and was opened in 1843 as a mixed National school. (fn. 59) By 1853 the average attendance had reached 180 on weekdays, with about 450 at the Sunday school. In 1854 a new department for over 100 infants was built at the corner of the present Lower Trinity Street and Constance Avenue with a grant from the National Society. It was opened early in 1855 and remained in use until 1889, when Spon Lane Board School was opened. (fn. 60) Holy Trinity School itself became a voluntary controlled mixed and infants' school following the 1902 Act. The buildings were enlarged in 1910. The school ceased to take senior pupils in 1934, and since then it has remained a voluntary controlled junior and infants' school. (fn. 61)
Mayer's Green and Queen Street British School, later Mayer's Green and Queen Street Board School.
A day school in connexion with Mayer's Green Congregational chapel was established in 1844 with the arrival of a new minister, B. H. Cooper. It was housed in a new two-storey building adjoining the chapel. An additional building was subsequently erected near by in Queen Street. By 1851 the school was united with the British Society. (fn. 62) The premises were leased to the board in 1871 and were reopened in 1872 as a mixed and infants' board school; the boys were housed in the Queen Street building and the girls and infants in the two-storey block by the chapel. (fn. 63) The school closed in 1893 with the opening of Beeches Road Board School. (fn. 64)
Hill Top Wesleyan Methodist School, later Hill Top Temporary Council School.
A day school was built at Hill Top in 1844 by the trustees of the Wesleyan Methodist chapel there and was in use in 1845. (fn. 65) The average attendance in January 1871 was 241. (fn. 66) A new infants' school was added in 1873. (fn. 67) The school was transferred to the local authority in 1906 and continued as Hill Top Temporary Council School until 1911, when the pupils were transferred to the new Hill Top Council School. (fn. 68)
St. James's National School, Hill Top.
A National school was opened next to St. James's Church, Hill Top, in 1845. (fn. 69) In 1846-7 there were 562 pupils, including 130 infants. (fn. 70) The school was improved and enlarged in 1871. (fn. 71) Average attendance was 314 in January 1871 and 543 in 1900-1. (fn. 72) It eventually proved too expensive to maintain the buildings in the required state, and the school closed in 1911. The pupils were transferred to Hill Top Council School. (fn. 73)
Christ Church National School (Girls), later St. John's National School.
In 1846 the managers of Christ Church National School for boys in New Street established a school for girls in a building in Newhall Street rented from Lord Dartmouth. In 1855 the average attendance was 65; there were 84 girls on the books, of whom 10 were taught free, 50 paid 2d. a week, and 24 3d. a week. (fn. 74) There was then accommodation for 160 children, and in 1856 alterations and repairs carried out with a small grant from the National Society raised this to 250. (fn. 75) In 1857 Lord Dartmouth gave the site and building to Christ Church. (fn. 76) By January 1871 the average attendance had risen to 143, and in that year a schoolroom for infants was erected next to the existing building. (fn. 77) The school became the responsibility of the new parish of St. John the Evangelist formed in 1879. (fn. 78) It lost pupils to Lyng Board School, opened in 1880-1, and was closed in 1884. (fn. 79)
Golds Hill School, later Golds Hill Council School.
In March 1853 the Bagnalls began to run evening classes at three of their works, including the Golds Hill Ironworks in West Bromwich. The school there, which was for boys and young men employed at the works, was open four nights a week; it started at 7 p.m. and those who attended it thus had an hour's break after the day shift had ended. By the end of the year there were 227 on the books. Their ages ranged from 10 to 20; they were taught the elements and general knowledge; they were encouraged by the Bagnalls with gifts of books and preferential treatment when it came to membership of the works cricket teams. (fn. 80) In 1855 a school for boys, girls, and infants was opened at the works. It was intended primarily for the children of those connected with the firm but was also open to outsiders. There were 226 children on the books in April 1855, paying fees of between 2d. and 6d. a week. The evening school continued to be held in the building four nights a week, and in 1856 200 boys employed by the firm attended it. (fn. 81) In the late 1850s a report to the Newcastle Commission named the Bagnalls' school as one of those in the Black Country which deservedly had 'the highest reputation for efficiency'. (fn. 82) The average attendance in January 1871 was 277. (fn. 83)
The board purchased the site and buildings in 1878 and, after improving and enlarging the buildings, reopened the school as a board school for boys, girls, and infants. (fn. 84) In 1882, after the closure of the ironworks and the consequent drop in the population of the area, the boys' and girls' departments were merged. The infants' and mixed departments were merged in 1911 to form a junior mixed and infants' school. The infants were transferred to a new school at Harvills Hawthorn in 1949, and when the junior pupils followed them in 1950 Golds Hill School was closed.
Dartmouth Street School, later Dartmouth Street Board School.
A Baptist day school supported entirely by pence existed by 1833. (fn. 85) In the later 1850s a day school connected with Bethel Baptist chapel in Dartmouth Street was being conducted in a building erected behind the chapel in 1855. (fn. 86) In the early 1870s it was a mixed school with an average attendance, in January 1871, of 75. Numbers more than doubled over the next three years, (fn. 87) but in 1876 the managers leased the building to the board, which needed additional accommodation in the area. (fn. 88) It continued as a board school until 1886. (fn. 89)
St. Peter's National School, later St. Peter's Council School.
A National school in connexion with St. Peter's, Greets Green, was set up in 1859, shortly after the building of the church. It was initially housed in a small corrugated-iron building adjoining the church. Within a few weeks there was an average daily attendance of over 100, and the need for additional accommodation was soon felt. A site for a new school to the south of the church was presented by W. Jones, and in 1866 a two-storeyed building in a Venetian Gothic style was opened for boys, girls, and infants. (fn. 90) In January 1871 there was an average attendance of 409. (fn. 91) By 1878 the school was in financial difficulties, and it was decided to hand it over to the board. The step was averted, apparently at the last moment, by the new incumbent, W. F. Bradley, and in 1881 the finances were on a sound footing, though the average attendance had fallen to 328. (fn. 92) The school was transferred to the local authority in 1910 and continued as a mixed and infants' council school until the opening in 1932 of George Salter School. (fn. 93)
Hallam Street Infants' School.
An infants' school existed in Hallam Street by 1860. In 1870 it occupied a building leased from Lord Dartmouth and was run by a board of managers, who employed a mistress and two assistants. There were some 150 children on the books. (fn. 94) When the mission church of St. Mary Magdalene, Cottrell Street, was opened in 1871 (fn. 95) the school was apparently attached to it. In January 1871 the average attendance had been 79. The school closed at some date between 1876 and 1880. (fn. 96)
Moor Street Ragged School, later Moor Street Board School.
A ragged school was opened by a body of trustees in a newly erected building in Moor Street in 1863. There was an infants' ragged school by 1868. In January 1871 the average attendance was 150. (fn. 97) In 1876 the premises and their fittings were sold to the board and the school reopened as Moor Street Board School, taking girls and infants. Accommodation was increased, (fn. 98) and in 1881 the average attendance was 350. Moor Street became a mixed and infants' school in 1890 and closed in 1917 because a firm engaged in war work required the building. The pupils were dispersed. (fn. 99)
St. Andrew's National School.
The school-church of St. Andrew, Old Meeting Street, was opened in November 1867 and a school was established in January 1868. It had accommodation for 300 children; boys were taught in the nave, girls in the transepts, and infants in the chancel. (fn. 100) In January 1871 the average attendance was 96. (fn. 101) Later in 1871 an infants' school for 200 children was opened, also in Old Meeting Street, and the chancel of St. Andrew's was thenceforth used solely for worship. (fn. 102) From 1877 the whole building was used exclusively as a church, and the infants' school became a mixed school, with an average attendance in 1881 of 134. (fn. 103) It closed in 1893. (fn. 104)
Spon Lane Wesleyan Methodist School, later Spon Lane Board School.
In January 1871 a mixed and infants' day school was established in existing Sunday-school buildings behind the Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Spon Lane. Attendance the following month was estimated at 122. (fn. 105) In 1878 the buildings were leased to the board, and the school continued as a mixed board school. In 1889 it was superseded by the new board school in Spon Lane. (fn. 106)
Other public elementary schools in existence before 1871.
These included an infants' school at Greets Green, mentioned about 1860; (fn. 107) another infants' school maintained for many years by William Bullock & Co. of the Spon Lane Foundry and held in a house in Twenty House Row, Ault Street, in 1861; (fn. 108) and a day school for boys and girls attached to one of the Primitive Methodist chapels in the late 1860s and early 1870s. (fn. 109) A Wesleyan Methodist school noted in Roebuck Street in 1868 may have been merely the Sunday school of c. 1855. In 1878 it became a board school. (fn. 110) A ragged school attached to St. Peter's was opened in 1866; (fn. 111) nothing more is known of this or of a ragged school in Newton Road noted in 1869. (fn. 112)
Schools Opened Since 1871. (fn. 113)
Beeches Junior and Infants' School, Beeches Road, was opened in 1893 as a board school for boys, girls, and infants (Beeches Road Board School) and replaced the Mayer's Green and Queen Street schoolrooms rented by the board since 1872. A separate building was erected as a cookery centre; but from 1896 to 1907 it was used as a pupil-teachers' centre, subsequently as classrooms, and then as a nursery annexe to the infants' department. In 1939, the number of pupils having fallen, Beeches Road was reorganized as a junior and infants' school.
Black Lake Junior and Infants' School, Swan Lane, was opened in 1885 as a mixed and infants' board school. In 1918 it was reorganized as a threedepartment school (boys, girls, and infants), and it functioned as such until 1943, when it reverted to two departments. It closed in 1969.
Bull Lane Board School, for infants and young children, was housed in rented premises in Bull Lane from 1890 until 1895. In 1895 it moved to new buildings, also in Bull Lane. The buildings were later affected by mining subsidence, and the school closed in 1932. (fn. 114)
Charlemont Junior and Infants' School, Willett Road, originated as an all-age school planned in the late 1920s to serve the new Charlemont housing estate. The first buildings were opened in 1929 as a temporary infants' department. Senior and junior departments were added in 1930 as new buildings were completed, and in 1931 further expansion made possible the division of the senior department into separate boys' and girls' departments. Following the acquisition in 1937 of an adjacent site in Hollyhedge Road two new assembly halls, a gymnasium, and other buildings were added. The senior departments became a secondary modern school in the reorganization after 1944 and were closed in 1967. The remaining departments continued as Charlemont Junior and Infants' School.
Cronehills Junior and Infants' School, Hardware Street, was designed as a replacement for Bratt Street School. (fn. 115) The school was to consist of two large classroom blocks and another block to house centres for subjects such as housewifery. Building began in 1915, but because of the war nothing was available for use until 1921, when the special-subject block was adapted as a temporary girls' school for pupils from Bratt Street. The completed school was opened in 1925 as a selective central school for boys and girls, and the girls who had been housed in the special-subject block returned to Bratt Street. In 1947 Cronehills became West Bromwich Secondary Technical School and in 1948 absorbed the junior technical school which had been carried on since 1930 at Kenrick Technical College. In 1952 the boys' and girls' departments were merged. In 1967-8 the technical school also occupied part of Charlemont School as an annexe for first-year pupils. In 1968 all pupils moved to the new Manor High School, Friar Park Road, and the Cronehills premises were occupied by children from the closed Christ Church Junior and Infants' School.
George Salter High School, Claypit Lane, was opened in 1932 as George Salter School, senior pupils being transferred to it from the Fisher Street and St. Peter's schools. As a result of the reorganization after 1944 a secondary modern school for boys and another for girls were housed in the buildings. In 1969 the two schools were amalgamated with the Spon Lane secondary modern school to form the comprehensive George Salter High School, with its main centre in Claypit Lane.
Greets Green Junior and Infants' School, Whitgreave Street, began its life early in 1872, when the board hired rooms attached to the Greets Green Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels as temporary accommodation for a new board school. Greets Green Board School, for boys, girls, and infants, was opened a few weeks later. By April 1872 there were some 140 pupils. (fn. 116) In 1876 the school moved into new buildings in Whitgreave Street. New classrooms were opened in 1890, (fn. 117) and the Primitive Methodist premises were hired again to provide yet more accommodation, an arrangement which continued until 1932. Because of declining numbers the boys' and girls' departments were merged into a mixed department in 1938.
Guns Village Junior and Infants' School, Earl Street, was opened in 1879 as a board school. Previously the board had hired temporary premises for children from the area: rooms adjoining the Primitive Methodist chapel in Guns Lane in 1873 and the building which had been used by the day school attached to the Baptist chapel in Dartmouth Street in 1876. The new school originally housed older pupils only; the Dartmouth Street building was retained as a school for infants and First Standard children. Dartmouth Street was closed in 1886; the pupils were transferred to Guns Village, which in turn lost its older pupils to Black Lake School. The school was extended in 1896.
Harvills Hawthorn Junior and Infants' School, Wolseley Road, was opened in 1949. The infants who had previously attended Golds Hill School were transferred to the new school, and in 1950 the juniors from Golds Hill were similarly transferred.
Hill Top High School, at the junction of Hill Top and Coles Lane, was opened in 1911 as a council school with four departments: senior boys', senior girls', junior mixed, and infants'. It replaced the two schools then existing at Hill Top, St. James's and that maintained by the Wesleyan chapel. In 1914 it was enlarged. (fn. 118) The assembly halls and two classrooms were destroyed by enemy action in 1940. The infants were transferred to Hateley Heath School in 1950 and the juniors in 1952, leaving Hill Top a secondary modern school. In 1969 it became the comprehensive Hill Top High School.
Joseph Edward Cox Junior and Infants' School, Dorset Road, was opened in 1930 in temporary premises adjoining the site of the present school, the junior department of which was opened in 1934 and the infants' department in 1936.
Kenrick Junior Technical School was established in 1930 as West Bromwich Junior Technical School in the buildings of Kenrick Technical College. In 1948 it was absorbed by the newly established West Bromwich Secondary Technical School. (fn. 119)
Lodge Estate Junior and Infants' School, Lodge Road, was opened in 1904 as a three-department school for boys, girls, and infants. It was enlarged in 1911. In 1940 the senior pupils were transferred to George Salter and Spon Lane schools, and Lodge Estate continued as an infants' school. By 1970 it was a junior and infants' school.
Lyng Junior School, opposite Dora Road, originated in the Lyng Board School for boys and infants opened in 1877. (fn. 120) It was originally housed in temporary premises leased by the board, the Sundayschool building attached to Lyng Primitive Methodist chapel. Those premises were vacated in 1880 when the boys' and infants' departments of a new school in Sams Lane were opened. A girls' department was added in 1881, and the buildings were extended in 1883. Further extension followed in 1911. The school was demolished in 1966 during the re development of the area. It was then a junior and infants' school, and the pupils were transferred to new schools a short distance away, the infants to Lyttleton Hall School and the juniors to a new Lyng School. The two schools form a single building opposite Dora Road and share certain facilities.
Menzies High School, Clarkes Lane, originated as West Bromwich Municipal Secondary School, established in 1902 at the West Bromwich Institute, Lodge Road, at the expense of G. H. (later Sir George) Kenrick. The school premises were extended in 1907 and 1909. In December 1919 there were 470 pupils. In its early years the school took many children from outside the borough, chiefly from Wednesbury, Tipton, and Bilston, but by the early 1930s virtually all the pupils came from West Bromwich. (fn. 121) In the reorganization after 1944 the school remained the borough's only grammar school, and in 1964 it moved to new buildings in Clarkes Lane. (fn. 122) In 1969 it became the comprehensive Menzies High School.
Park Village Board School, Roebuck Street, was opened in 1878 in premises leased from the trustees of Beeches Road Wesleyan Methodist chapel. (fn. 123) It took children up to the age of nine. In 1908, since there was then sufficient accommodation in near-by schools for children of five and over, it was closed.
St. Mary's National School for Infants, Hateley Heath, was established in 1872 in the school-church of St. Mary the Virgin, Hateley Heath, erected in 1871. It was closed c. 1881 as a result of a decline in the population of the area. (fn. 124)
St. Paul's Church of England School, Hamstead, became a responsibility of the West Bromwich education department in 1928 as a result of that year's boundary changes. Its premises, built some time after 1874 and extended in 1894, had already been classified by the Board of Education as inadequate. Its senior pupils were transferred to Charlemont School in 1934, the younger ones to Hamstead Junior and Infants' School in 1937, and St. Paul's was then closed.
Spon Lane School, Parliament Street, was opened in 1889 as a board school to take pupils from the temporary board schools which had been established at Summit School and Spon Lane Wesleyan School. It was extended in 1911, 1927, and 1931, became a secondary modern school in the reorganization after 1944, and in 1969 was amalgamated with the George Salter Schools in Claypit Lane to form the new comprehensive George Salter High School. The buildings remained in use in 1970 as an annexe to the high school.
Scientific And Literary Institutions.
A small mechanics' institute was formed in 1829 by the manager of the Swan Village gas-works but was apparently short-lived. (fn. 125)
In 1836 the West Bromwich Institution for the Advancement of Knowledge was formed under the presidency of R. L. Chance. (fn. 126) The subscription was £1 a year; new members over the age of 21 also paid a 5s. entrance fee. In return members had the use of a library, which by 1849 contained some 1,600 volumes, and a reading room. Lectures were arranged and in 1844 there were classes for debating, mathematics, and English grammar; in 1837 there had been a short-lived weekly class in mechanical drawing, run by a local teacher. Despite the patronage of Chance and Samuel Kenrick the Institution never established itself firmly. Membership, which at one stage rose to about 120, had fallen to 70 by 1849, though it appears to have risen to 90 by 1851. (fn. 127) There were several financial crises. It still existed in 1856, with Chance as its president, but its later history is obscure.
The Institution was the only mechanics' or literary institute noted in West Bromwich in the 1851 Educational Census. Nevertheless by 1845 there appears also to have been a separate mechanics' institute, with its own library and reading room. (fn. 128) Little is known of it. It apparently lasted until at least 1861, (fn. 129) but like the Institution it seems to have had little influence. (fn. 130) Its president between at least 1845 and 1850 was Thomas Bagnall. (fn. 131) Possibly it is to be identified with a branch of the Institution which was established at Hill Top in 1843 and seceded from the parent body in 1844. (fn. 132) In 1843 Reuben Farley proposed the establishment of a mechanics' institute at Greets Green; but the project failed to win Lord Dartmouth's support and Farley took it no further. (fn. 133)
In 1846 George Kenrick established a People's Library and Reading Room, apparently at Summit School. For 1d. a week working men had the use of a library which eventually amounted to some 300 volumes; newspapers, periodicals, and lectures were also provided. The establishment apparently came to an end on Kenrick's death in 1848. (fn. 134)
The West Bromwich Temperance and Educational Mission began work in the town in 1852, also under the patronage of the Kenricks. Its aim was the reform and education of the working classes. A missionary preached the evils of intoxicating drink and began to hold mutual improvement classes, in the form of discussion groups, at the school attached to Salem Chapel, Great Bridge, and at the reading rooms at the Chances' works in Spon Lane, Smethwick. In 1853 the mission opened an institute in a house on the corner of High Street and St. Michael Street. George Kenrick's brother Archibald, chairman of the managing committee, guaranteed the rent for a trial period and presented the books from the People's Library. The institute was to have a reading room and a circulating library, and activities were to include lectures, a Mutual Improvement and Discussion Society, meeting weekly, and evening classes to teach adults reading and writing. The yearly subscription was 6s. for the use of the reading room and the library and 4s. for the use of the library only. (fn. 135) By 1860 the library, known like George Kenrick's as the People's Library, contained nearly 1,000 volumes of standard and scientific works, the reading room was well supplied with newspapers and periodicals, and lectures were held during the winter. (fn. 136) Although the library had dropped to 600 volumes by 1869, the Mission was still in existence in 1872. It appears to have closed by 1876, possibly as a result of the opening of the free public library in 1874-5. (fn. 137)
The 1860s and 1870s saw the establishment of a number of groups concerned with adult and further education. In 1863 the Hill Top Adult School, which later claimed to have been the first such school in the Black Country, began with three or four people meeting in a small room; by 1886 there were 260 on the books, with an average attendance of 212. (fn. 138) The incumbent of St. Peter's was running a night school for adults in 1863. (fn. 139) Another night school, established in 1869, met at the Holy Trinity National school and was attended largely by young people employed by the Salters. A mutual improvement class was meeting at the school in 1872. (fn. 140) The Adult-School movement also established schools giving instruction in the elements as an aid to Bible reading. The first outside Birmingham was that started at Ebenezer in 1870. (fn. 141) In the mid 1880s the Anglicans too had at least one Sunday-morning adult school giving instruction in the elements. (fn. 142) A West Bromwich Young Men's Literary Association met at the Bratt Street school in at least the late 1860s and early 1870s, and there were other self-improvement societies. (fn. 143)
In 1881 a few local industrialists began to press for the establishment of a literary and scientific institute. The model was to be the Birmingham and Midland Institute and the chief object the education of artisans in 'the principles and technicalities affecting their several pursuits'. Other social and educational activities were to be offered to make the proposed institute more widely attractive. A public meeting held in 1882 decided that a building should be erected; money was raised by subscription, and in 1886 the West Bromwich Institute in Lodge Road was opened, with a reading room, classrooms, laboratory, lecture theatre, and assembly hall. (fn. 144) Some 24 classes in art and the 'more severe branches of study' were begun as part of the Institute's activities; (fn. 145) in 1887 the art classes were organized into a school of art. (fn. 146) The management of the art school and science classes was handed over in 1891 to the town council's newly formed technical instruction committee, (fn. 147) and five years later the building in Lodge Road was itself transferred to the corporation, the conveyance reserving to the Institute the use of certain rooms for its own purposes. (fn. 148) The Institute continued as a voluntary body and still existed in 1970. The three-storeyed Institute building is of brick and terracotta and was designed by Wood & Kendrick of West Bromwich in the 'Tudor or late Gothic' style. (fn. 149)
In 1891 the town council adopted the Technical Instruction Act and took over the educational work then being organized by the Institute; later in 1891 the Institute's art school and science classes became the Municipal Art School and the Municipal Science and Technical School. (fn. 150) In 1896 the Institute building in Lodge Road was conveyed to the corporation, (fn. 151) which extended it in 1898. (fn. 152) The art school was transferred from the Institute in 1902 to the new Ryland Memorial School of Art, built on an adjoining site at the expense of G. H. (later Sir George) Kenrick, who also paid for the conversion of part of the Institute building into a municipal secondary school. (fn. 153) Kenrick Technical College, a building to the design of T. Spencer Wood in High Street adjoining the Institute site, was officially opened in 1928 and replaced the Municipal Science and Technical School; there was still, however, some shortage of accommodation, and rooms in the Institute were also used for the college's work. From 1930 to 1948 the college included a junior technical school. (fn. 154) Work on a new West Bromwich Technical College in High Street, occupying part of the site of Kenrick Technical College, began in 1949 and the new college was officially opened in 1954; parts of it had been in use since 1951. The building, also to the design of T. Spencer Wood, consists of a large single-storey block with a seven-storey block at one end. (fn. 155) In 1969 the Technical College merged with Ryland Memorial School and two other colleges in the enlarged borough, the Wednesbury colleges of Commerce and Technology, to form the West Bromwich College of Commerce and Technology. The premises in High Street became the Engineering Division of the new college. (fn. 156)
A Job Wiggin was teaching in the parish by 1686; (fn. 157) later he was probably assisted by his son Job, described in 1726 as a writingmaster. (fn. 158) The elder Wiggin was moderately wealthy, (fn. 159) and his prosperity suggests that his school was a private academy. Boarding-schools in the 1760s included a boys' school at Lyndon kept by William Howell, (fn. 160) a commercial academy, and a girls' school. (fn. 161) Richard Witton (d. 1765), minister of the Old Meeting, kept a school at his house in what is now Witton Lane. (fn. 162) Perhaps the best known of the 18th- and early-19th-century private schools was that run by Philemon Parkes from at least 1776 until his death in 1786; it was probably the school which Witton had owned, and it survived under various names until at least the mid 19th century. (fn. 163) Another school important locally was that run from at least 1807 until 1859 first by Joseph Jacques and then by his son Charles. (fn. 164) In 1829 there were at least 13 private schools, of which eight took boarders, (fn. 165) and directories show that private day and boarding schools continued to flourish in the later 19th century.
From 1857 until his death in 1891 the 5th Lord Dartmouth housed an Anglican educational institution in Sandwell Hall rent free. (fn. 166) It was originally intended for the training of girls as domestic servants and boys as agricultural labourers. Under the direction of Laetitia Frances Selwyn, sister of the bishop of Lichfield, the house also became a ladies' home and a school for middle-class girls, many of whom were trained as governesses. In the 1880s, under Miss Selwyn's successor, Sandwell combined the functions of a girls' school, a college for the higher education of girls, and an industrial school for girls and boys.