"Wolverhampton Higher Grade School" from an old
postcard. The exterior remains essentially the same today.
Local listing: Originally the Higher Grade School.
Opened in 1894. Finely detailed brick and terracotta building
by architect T. H. Fleeming. Extension of 1926 to Dunkley
Plaque: Architect: T. H. Fleeming. Higher Grade School, 1894 to 1921.
Wolverhampton Municipal Secondary School, 1921 to 1945. Wolverhampton Municipal
Grammar School, 1945 to 1974. Sponsors: W.M.G.S. Old Pupils Association
David Clayton, The School by the Park 1894 - 1994, W.M.G.S. Old Pupils
Association, 1994. Malcolm Seabourne and Roy Lowe, The English School: its
Architecture and Organisation, Vol. II: 1870 - 1970, Routledge and Keegan Paul,
1977, p. 35.
The main hall, once used for assemblies, is still a major circulation
area and also acts as a meeting point and exhibition space.
|The Education Act 1870 required children to attend school
until the age of 13. School Boards were set up at local level to implement the
Wolverhampton's Board proposed, as early as 1883, to provide education
beyond that age and this building was the eventual result, even though it was
not opened until 1894.
The architect was T. H. Fleeming, who was architect to the Board. His original
plans were subject to the usual sorts of amendments imposed by the Board itself
and by the central government's Board of Education. But the design of the
exterior is almost certainly Fleeming's unamended work. The builder was Henry
The plaque gives the building's subsequent history, which is not so chequered
as it might seem: there was considerable continuity between the schools - and
all of them were well rated.
|In 1974 the school was amalgamated with Graiseley and Penn Modern Schools,
renamed Colton Hills Comprehensive Schools, and moved, over a period of time, to
a new site a considerable distance away at Goldthorn Park.
These buildings then
became an annexe to Colton Hills, then to Aldersely School. In 1977 the
buildings became a new school, Valley Park School, which left for new premises
After a period of some uncertainty as to the building's future it was
taken over as a campus of Wulfrun College, which, in 1999, was amalgamated with
Bilston College to form Wolverhampton College, one of whose campuses it now is.
If you wander round the back to where the car park is, note how
unusually well this area has been tidied up, made more usable and pleasant to
This photo of the girls' entrance, which is a kind of scaled-down version of
the main front entrance, gives an idea of the use of terracotta. Note too
the good wrought iron gates.