In January 1948 the National Foundry College opened in temporary accommodation at the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire Technical College.

James Bamford, head of the college.

In the mid 1930s, the British Foundry School had been formed at Birmingham Central Technical College, purely on a temporary basis. The Chairman, Randall Garfield Hoskings, C.B.E. was assisted by Dr. W. E. Fisher, O.B.E., Principal of the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire Technical College. After the war the college moved to the Wolverhampton site, where a post-graduate diploma course began and research was carried out. The head of the Foundry College was James Bamford. His assistants were J. B. McIntyre, W. Prentice, S. N. Wrightson and W. B. Hendry.

Within a few years the Foundry College was to move into the new 3 storey building in Stafford Street, that was built at a cost of £90,000, plus £35,000 for equipment. In January, 1953 the college governors made an appeal to industry to provide £10,000 to equip the experimental foundry, which resulted in donations and equipment with a value of more than £7,000.

The new building included a fully-equipped foundry, two spacious teaching rooms, equipped with visual aids, for use as either lecture rooms or drawing offices, dark rooms, offices and stores, seven laboratories, fitted with the most up-to-date equipment for the chemical analysis, heat treatment and metallographic examination of all ferrous and non-ferrous materials. There was also a workshop for maintenance work, the making of research equipment and the preparation of test pieces and specimens.

The foundry was used for the teaching of foundry techniques and experimental methods. There were also analytical and sand testing facilities in adjacent laboratories, an X-ray room, complete with a control room and a 250 kV, X-ray machine, which was situated in the basement, along with demonstration and dark rooms. The Metallurgical Analysis Laboratory was in room 61 in an adjacent building. Students of the foundry college and the technical college had use of relevant laboratories within the two colleges, including the pattern shop, mechanical testing laboratory and the metallurgical laboratories.

The new building in Stafford Street and its main entrance.

The college buildings in about 1953. The new foundry college is on the extreme right.

The Experimental Foundry on the ground floor.

Another, presumably later, plan of the Experimental Foundry on the ground floor.

The foundry college's
rooms on the ground
floor of the new building.
The foundry college's
rooms on the first floor
of the new building.
The foundry college's
rooms on the second floor
of the new building.

Metallurgical Analysis Laboratory.

The preparation of metallurgical specimens.

Balance Room.

Heat Treatment Laboratory.

Sand Testing.

Metallography Tutorial.

The Workshop.

The Project Laboratory.

The foundry college ran full-time and part-time courses and provided local and regional education for the industry. The courses listed in the prospectus included a Diploma Course, Post-Diploma work, short courses and local activities. Also listed are the necessary qualifications for entry and the arrangements under which entrance, progress and research scholarships were awarded, together with several benefits that were included within the scholarship award. Students during their course were expected to reside in Tor Lodge Hostel, at Tettenhall, unless given special permission to live elsewhere.

Tor Lodge.

Tor Lodge Hostel was officially opened on 23rd September 1949 by Mr. George Tomlinson, Minister of Education, who also visited the National Foundry College and inaugurated its third session.
The new buildings in Stafford Street were completed in 1953. They were officially opened on Wednesday 3rd February, 1954 by Sir Gilbert Flemming, K.C.B. at a ceremony in the main hall.

A photograph from the early 1960s showing a new intake of students and members of staff. Courtesy of David Parsons and Mark Cooper.

A group of students and staff from the National Foundry College, during an end of year trip to Italy in 1965. It was their final year at the college. They visited several Italian foundries and engineering companies including the Lamborghini car company in Modena. The photo is courtesy of David Parsons and Mark Cooper, who is on the far right.

Applecross. Courtesy of David Parsons and Mark Cooper.

The students' residential study room in Tor Lodge.

The students' residential lounge, also in Tor Lodge.

Near to Tor Lodge, off Tor Lodge Drive, Tettenhall, is Applecross, another house that was used for residential accommodation for foundry college students, many of whom were from abroad. Both houses were sold and provided funds for the Tor Lodge and Applecross Trust, a charity that supports people who work in the cast metals industry, by offering contributions towards the cost of training and education.
The Foundry College closed in August 1967. In 1966 the government ceased to support such institutions. The government grant was removed and changes were made to further education and the way students were trained to enter industry. Tor Lodge Hostel was sold and became accommodation for up to 30 students who studied pattern making, foundry work or photography at Wednesbury College and West Bromwich College of Commerce and Technology. The house was sold in 1988 and is now private accommodation.

I have to thank David Parsons and Mark Cooper for the photographs used in this section.

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