Bilston Science and
by Bev Parker
|The school was once very important to Bilston, and
has had an interesting history. The Technical Instructions Act
of 1893 made money available for the education of children in
technical skills, science and arts & crafts. Bilston soon
decided to obtain some of this money and the project began. The
town engineer, Captain Wilson had to turn into an architect to
produce the building for the town. He is said to have gone to
see a suitable building that had just been completed in
The building was exactly what Bilston
needed, and so as the story goes he "borrowed" the plans and
returned to Bilston with them. It is again said that this caused
alarm amongst his colleagues when they discovered that the Glasgow
building was designed for a site that sloped from back to front.
Captain Wilson again rose to this new challenge and had the site
suitably contoured before work began. Construction started in 1896
and the school opened its doors in 1897.
|The college was very successful, and provided
laboratory facilities, workshop facilities, pottery classes and
art studios for the students. It also contained an examinations
room and a museum. Local industry greatly benefited from the
engineers who started their careers here. Many distinguished
local personalities were involved in its running, including
industrialists, J. W. Sankey and Sir Alfred Hickman. Councillor
William Jordan became Chairman of the first Management
A close up of the fine terracotta tiles on the front of the
The fine figure work above the entrance.
|The building was extended in 1951 to cater for
evening classes, but the demand was too great and so local day
schools and church schoolrooms had to be used for the overflow.
The new Westfield College opened in 1966 and the old Science
and Art School became just an annexe. It remained in use until a
few years ago when reorganisation led to its closure.
|The three fine heads shown
here are on the sides of the building.
||Its very sad to see the building today in its
It was locally listed on 16th March 2000 and is
included in the locally listed buildings section.