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History - pt1
The College

By Alex Poile, groundsman

The College was founded in 1863 by a group of prominent local businessmen and industrialists, most of who were associated with the Queen Street Congregational Church.

Their aim was the provision of a school with a Free Church atmosphere, at a time when the Church of England almost entirely dominated the few educational institutions then in existence.

A splendid Georgian, four bedroom house, described as a ‘gentleman’s residence’ was purchased for £3,700, situated in what has subsequently become known as College Road, set in 6.5 acres of grounds- useful for future building expansion.

So in August that year the first boys moved in (all boarders), the Headmaster, the Rev.Robert Halley MA, his wife and a cow which was kept in order to supply the school with fresh milk. During that first year a single building, now the tuck shop, but originally the gymnasium, was erected.

By 1865 numbers had risen to 38 boys and the school’s directors and shareholders decided to build what is today, the boys’ Boarding House, domestic / ancillary quarters, surgery and sick bays, kitchen and dining room, the chapel and library.

The caretaker’s lodge was added in 1867 followed by the swimming pool – one of the country’s first heated pools - in 1870.

In 1943 Florence Thorneycroft sold Tettenhall Towers, part of the Thorneycroft estate adjoining the school, to the Governors of Tettenhall College for £15,100.

In addition to the Towers building, there was a stable block (now the Sixth Form Centre and changing rooms),the Gatehouse and 26.5 acres of grounds. It was widely believed that Miss Florence wished the property to become part of the College.

In 1946, work on levelling the newly-acquired playing fields, which were until then sloping meadows, began in earnest.

It was an Old Tettenhallian, Fred Yorath, with his bulldozers (ex American World War 2 machines), who levelled the sloping meadows, cutting into the tree line, which then extended in places down as far as the cricket squares.

Old Tettenhallians of the 46/47 vintage never fail to relate the ordeal of enforced stone picking – the whole school was conscripted into this monumental task. Fred Yorath also designed the Horace Pearson memorial pavilion opened in 1953, but destroyed by a fallen tree in 2000.

During 1953, the much needed and long-awaited building expansion programme began – the first for nearly ninety years!

The first part of the Maurice Jacks block opened in 1954 with a single storey administration suite and classrooms 1-5. (Mr. M L Jacks was Chairman of the Governing Body at the time.)

Also during 1953, the field at the rear of the Boarding House was asphalted and altered to two levels- modern day needs have resulted in the top half becoming a car park.

In 1958, the science block - considered state of the art at the time - was opened by the Chief Assessor, Sir Graham Savage. 1958 also saw the demolition of the wall between the tuck shop and the fives court. Evolving safety procedures demanded access to the rear of the boys’ Boarding House.

1960 witnessed the linking of the initial stage of the Jacks Block and the Science Block, by means of a newly constructed biology lab and two further classrooms (Numbers 1 and 2).

The Geography room was added in 1968 and finally, in 1974, the upper storey.

An area of waste ground to the rear of the Towers was utilised in 1978 for the siting of the squash courts and for several years in succession our girls’ team were the National School Champions.

During the autumn term of 1983, the Sports Hall was opened (the girls’ changing rooms attached to the rear of the hall were built in 1993).

The school became fully co-educational in 1983. Thorneycroft House, the purpose built Girls’ Boarding House was opened in 1990. Following this in 1993, Garden House in College Road was purchased for use as a boarding house for younger girls; it is now the residence of the Cochrane family.

Next > In Recent Years

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The Main Building & Playground
The Main Building & Playground

The Dining Hall
The Dining Hall

Pavillion & Scoring Board
Pavillion & Scoring Board

A Games Room
A Games Room

War Memorial Playing Fields
War Memorial Playing Fields

The Headmasters House & Studies
The Headmasters House & Studies

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