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No room for college's growing population

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: April 27, 2014

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THE expansion of Stafford College goes on and on . . . and has been doing so since it was first established in the early part of last century.

Since then, various buildings on Earl Street and Tenterbanks have disappeared as the college has grown in popularity with a consequent increase in the student population.

Once it was a “night school”, a place where would-be technicians from firms such as W H Dorman and Co and English Electric learned their skills after completing their day's work.

It also spawned a generation of artists with part of the campus known as Stafford College of Art (later transferred to The Oval) and in latter years it was known as the Stafford College of Further Education.

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In 1967, the old Tenterbanks Primary School became the latest 'victim' of the college's progress as it was demolished to make way for a £200,000 workshop and laboratory block.

A sense of panic must have struck the college authorities that year when they realised that they were unable to cater for at least 300 of the college's students.

But a site on Newport Road, now occupied by a veterinary practice and a keep fit gym, was made available at the last minute to save some red faces among college administrators.

An annexe of ten double mobile classrooms was erected on the site and was almost self-contained with its own teaching areas, staff and administrative block, students’ room and a snack bar.

The sum of £50,000 was invested in the facility which was expected last five years and would initially accommodate the college's business studies and liberal studies departments.

A year earlier – in 1966 – the college had the use of the Walton School but classes were required when that new build became the town's first comprehensive school.

College authorities had considered leasing accommodation in the Princes Street shopping and office block but this was shelved in favour of the Newport Road site.

The site was captured in 1969 by Newsletter photographer and college lecturer Eddie Bissell in a series of aerial photographs . . . the mobile classrooms are shown arched around the rear of what is now veterinary surgeon's premises.

The aerial picture also shows familiar cottages which front Newport Road with the Royal Mail sorting office shown adjacent to the railway line.

A right-hand turn leads to Brunswick Terrace and opposite of the offices and headquarters of a former West Midlands utility, now the site of several luxury apartments which seemed to change hands with increasing regularity.

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