Wolverhampton's Locally Listed Buildings

Former Technical School

Mount Pleasant, Bilston

Listing: Finely detailed brick and terracotta, former Technical School built in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. In more recent years, part of Bilston Community College.

Comment: A very richly decorated building - even the side elevations have terracotta panels. The building also forms part of a very interesting row with the old Electricity and Tramway buildings alongside.  Why on earth is this not nationally listed?  The architect was C. L. N. Wilson, the Engineer to Bilston Urban District Council

A close up view of the fine terracotta work on the front of the building.
The high quality figurework above the entrance.

The building is said to be a copy of another art school which had impressed the council's architect.  It was copied so slavishly that, as the original had a cellar to deal with its sloping site, this one had a cellar on its flat site.  The original is sometimes said to be the Glasgow School of Art - which, for a number of reasons, not least the dates, is impossible.  Other versions of the story put the original in Liverpool.

The school seems to have specialised in art and design and certainly turned out a lot of designers for local industry.  Later it became incorporated in the much larger Bilston Technical College but they eventually abandonned it.  It now lies empty and in dire need of a new use.  It is one of the landmark buildings of Bilston and greatly appreciated by Bilstonians.

The building always was a subject of civic pride.  This large (55 mm diam) medal was issued in 1897, showing the Technical School on one side and the Bilston Waterworks (at the Bratch) on the other. The Waterworks were designed by a consultant enginer, Baldwin Latham, but C.L.N.Wilson was the Resident Engineer.