In July 1983, the Arthur Storer
Building, housing the Law School, and Economics and
Social Studies opened. By 1985 there were around 4,500 full
time and sandwich course students and 2,800 part time
Courtesy of David Parsons.
|The Polytechnic had a new director
in 1985 in the form of Professor Michael Harrison. Mick
Harrison was also a governor of Thomas Telford School,
and of Bilston College. He became a member of the
council of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a
trustee of the Black Country Heritage Trust, and a
member of the board of the Wolverhampton City Challenge
Project. He also had extensive international links.
Mick Harrison was a graduate of Leicester
University, where he began his teaching
career. He then moved to London and taught
at Enfield Technical College before moving
to Leeds University.
He then returned to Enfield Technical
College and was there from 1968 to 1971 when
it became part of Middlesex Polytechnic.
After several other teaching jobs, he moved
to Hull College of Higher Education where he
became Dean of the Faculty of Business and
In 1982 he moved to Wolverhampton and
became Dean and Assistant Director of the
Polytechnic. He then became Deputy Director,
before becoming Director in 1985.
In 1981 the departments of
mechanical, electrical and production engineering were
united to form the School of Engineering.
Wulfruna Street in the early
In 1983 The Polytechnic,
Wolverhampton became Wolverhampton Polytechnic, after it
became independent from the local education
Looking across the Polytechnic
from St. Peter's Church in June 1988.
Another view from St. Peter's
A final view from St. Peter's
|In the late 1970s and early 1980s
the Polytechnic had its own 'underground' satirical
magazine called 'Wolfbane', produced by Paul Hudson.
A cartoon from Wolfbane, date
A cartoon from a 1977 edition of
|The following article from 1977 is about
‘Polydat’ and the Department of Computing
virtual library: a new
concept in resource
management technology - C.
B. Hayter, Confusions and
virtual library is an
important new concept in
technology. Basically it
involves a continuing
dialogue between information
consumers and information
providers and coordinators
in a goal-oriented attempt
to delineate a formally
profile of consumer
requirements. The dialogue
is driven by a network of
based systems co-operating
via a local area network
that can be dynamically
interfaced to the consumer's
word processor or personal
computer. Once the dialogue
is complete and the
profile has been
professionally trained and
providers and co-ordinators
take over the processing of
the consumer's request. They
will provide the consumer
with a structured list of
sequenced on a computed
relevance criterion. This
will enable the information
consumer to interface him or
her self to the acquisition
of a maximally relevant
subset of the source media
with a minimal diversion
from other activities.
Polytechnic has secured a
contract in this area as
part of the 6th sub-division
of the Japanese 5th
generation computer project.
The research will involve a
detailed investigation into
appropriate to the support
and monitoring of research
into inter- and
communications and dialogues
with special reference to
the efficient use of virtual
libraries. Awarding the
contract to the Polytechnic,
Deputy Information Minister
Yohoho Andabottleofrum said
that he had been
particularly impressed by
the immense depth and
breadth of the Polytechnic's
experience in the
Director G****e S*******e
said that he was personally
honoured to be part of such
an ongoingly important
project. In an interview
with a reporter for
S*******e said it would
almost certainly prove
necessary to establish
several extra schools to
support the research effort.
He also welcomed the
opportunity to set up a
working party to delineate
the precise role of the
school as a facet of the
experience of the
preliminary step the
Polytechnic has established
a committee to formalise and
co-ordinate proposals for
the establishment and
deployment of resources and
staff in this important
area. Support of the project
will require the
establishment of several
extra information providers,
handlers to be based on the
fourth floor of the Robert
Scott Library. It will also
require the provision of an
infrastructure. In order to
provide the requisite office
space and resources, the
Polytechnic regrets that it
will no longer be able to
keep books in the Library.
The article was written by the
late Peter Burden.
competitions. Frank Sharman, on the
far right, from the Law School, is
handing out prizes to a winning
team. Courtesy of Frank Sharman.
Another look at Wulfruna Street and
the main entrance.
Courtesy of David Parsons.
In the 1980s the polytechnic had its own
newsletter called PolySpective. It contained all of
the latest news about the polytechnic, including
staff changes, promotions, resignations, retirements
and the setting-up of new departments. The following
is from the October 1986 edition that was kindly
copied by David Parsons.
At the time there were many changes in the
directorate. Geoffrey Brooks was appointed as
Assistant Director of Administration and Resources,
John White became Deputy Director of Resource
Planning and Roger Waterhouse became Deputy Director
of Academic Planning. John McLaren became Dean of
Postgraduate Studies, Steve Bristow became Dean of
Modular Studies, Harry Plevy became Director of the
Unit of Industrial and Commercial Collaboration,
Gerald Bennett became Head of the School of Business
and Management, Norman Gough became Head of Computer
Aided Engineering in the School of Engineering, Bob
Jamieson became Head of the Centre for Health and
Biomedical Studies in the School of Applied
Sciences, Rob Cutler replaced Ian Andrews as
Personnel Officer, Dave Hopkins became Head of the
School of Languages and European Studies, John
Wildsmith became Head of the Faculty of Business and
Social Science and finally, Mr. W. J. Wilson became
Residential Services Officer.
At the time, the Health Studies Section and the
Psychology Section joined the newly formed Centre
for Health and Biomedical Studies in the School of
Applied Sciences, that would soon move to the Old
Post Office building in Lichfield Street and become
the School of Health Sciences. The Geography section
in the School of Applied Sciences was split in two.
The Environmental Geographers remained in the
school, but the Social and Human Geographers became
part of the School of Humanities and Cultural
Studies. The Audio Visual Aids Unit was
decentralised and the staff moved to other
The newsletter contained articles on the deaths
of some members of staff, including Danny Moore, a
caretaker in 'B Block' and a polytechnic driver, who
died of cancer, Bill Squire from the School of
Business and Management who died in a road accident,
also Richard Revell from the history section who
died suddenly at home.
In 1986, 2,200 new students arrived at the
polytechnic, 1,700 of whom applied for
accommodation. As a result, accommodation had to be
found for 450 students outside the hostels. 150 were
found accommodation with landladies, 100 at hotels
and guest houses and 200 in the private sector.
Courtesy of David Parsons.
In April 1987, the government published a White
Paper called 'Higher Education: Meeting the
Challenge.' It set out plans to remove all
polytechnics and higher education colleges from
local authority control and to make them independent
corporate bodies. This became law in July 1988 as
the Education Reform Bill. From the 1st April 1989,
the board of governors assumed full responsibility
for the operation of the polytechnic, which became
the legal employer of all its staff and the owner of
all its property and assets.
At this time there
were 9,815 students, 3,000 of whom were women, 2,360
were mature students (over the age of 21), 5,618
were full-time students and 3,798 were part-time.
1,635 students were from the Black Country and 238
were from abroad.
At the time it was the only higher education
establishment in the country to have its own 'high
Professor Mick Harrison greets
the Mayor, Councillor Richards on Vesting Day,
April, 1989. The mayors of Dudley, Walsall and
Wolverhampton were invited to the Vesting Day
ceremony and were each presented with a special
medal to mark the occasion. The medal had been
designed by Ron Dutton. Courtesy of David Parsons.
Another view of Mick Harrison
and the Mayor, on the 3rd April, 1989. Courtesy of
Some of the onlookers at
Vesting Day. On the extreme right is the
Polytechnic's Chaplain, the Rev. Geoffrey Wynne
who retired in 2010 after 44 years service. Courtesy
of David Parsons.
In 1989 the Polytechnic merged with the West
Midlands College of Higher Education in Walsall, and in
1991 work began on a new campus in Telford to cater for
College of Higher Education
1963 saw the opening of the West
Midlands College of Education in Gorway Road, Walsall.
It was originally allied to Birmingham University's
School of Education as a teachers training college.
Several extensions were added in 1968 including a drama
studio, a tutorial building, and a study building. A
library was added in 1971, followed in 1972 by a dining
hall, a medical centre, two student hostels, staff
accommodation, a physical education building, and a
music centre. In 1989 it became Wolverhampton
Polytechnic's Walsall Campus.
The Walsall Campus in about
1990. Courtesy of David Parsons.
|In the 1980s, collaboration between
the Polytechnic and educational
establishments abroad greatly increased.
Students and staff in the Faculty of Art
and Design exchanged places with
colleagues at Alfred University in New
York State and some Management Studies
students gained MBA degrees at Penn
State University. There were also links
between the Faculty of Education and the
University and Polytechnic of Virginia
and the Department of Languages and
European Studies placed around 100
students in European educational
establishments each year.
One of the study areas
in the mid 1980s. Courtesy of David Parsons.
Noelma Shaw in 1984.
|The polytechnic had a large number of
BBC micros in the 1980s. In the photo
opposite, Noelma Shaw of Applied Sciences is
seen hard at work on a BBC micro programme.
Noelma was an expert on butterflies and
greatly added to the department's
She left the polytechnic near the end of
In 1987 the newly formed School of Health
Sciences moved into the old post office
building in Lichfield Street, that
backed-onto Berry Street. The building
included the old Valhalla pub building on
the corner which became the Higher Education
Shop. The University continued to rent the building
until about 2007.
The Higher Education
Shop. From a University leaflet. Courtesy of
The Finance and Personnel Departments and
the Estates Department moved to offices on
the Molineux football ground site where there
were also classrooms. The Advice Centre and
the Registry moved to a building in Stafford
Street, on the corner of Whitmore Street.
The Polytechnic also acquired the building
next door, the old Drill Hall office
building, where there were classrooms and
In 1989 the new campus opened at Stafford
The location of the various
buildings around main site. From a Polytechnic leaflet.
Courtesy of David Parsons.
||The northern end of the
site. Also from a Polytechnic leaflet.
Courtesy of David Parsons.
The heading from a staff
newsletter. Courtesy of David Parsons.
An article from the October 1980
staff newsletter. Courtesy of David Parsons.
|The Chaplaincy Centre officially opened in March
1981. It was funded by many local churches, largely
due to the efforts of the Polytechnic's Senior
Chaplain, the Rev. Geoffrey Wynne.
Another article from the October
1980 staff newsletter, describing the move to the
football ground. Courtesy of David Parsons.
||Towards the end of the
1980s the Polytechnic began to produce its own
opposite is of the front cover of the first edition.
Courtesy of David Parsons.
|Some members of staff who left in the 1970s and
1980s are well remembered. The caretaker, Jack Price
kept the buildings secure, always with the help of
his dog and Reg Morton, one of the founders of West
Midlands Studies which helped with the formation of
the museums at Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale. Mrs.
Harris, the refectory manageress always strictly ruled
her territory and the never to be forgotten Elfed
Roberts, the lecturer in politics, who was extremely
popular and claimed to be known by every person in
the establishment. He left in 1978 and moved to Hong
Kong where he became a lecturer in political studies
at Hong Kong University. He was later an Associate
Professor there and became Head of Department of Pobl
Group, which created good homes for people.
Another person who was well known at the polytechnic
was Irene Hewitt who retired in 1980 after
completing 42 years of service in administration.
Another once well known figure was the late Jack
Hammond, the Chief Administrator. Just before his
retirement in 1980 he received an MBE for his work
in educational administration. He was a sociable man
who loved music and played the piano, guitar and
double bass. He died at his Wombourne home at the
age of 89, in 2008.
Another well remembered figure was Bob Smith who ran
the maintenance department in the basement of 'G
Block' for many years. He was an electrical engineer
who was an expert on the distribution of electricity
in Wolverhampton and the surrounding area. The
maintenance department moved from 'G Block' to the
old Carvers building in Stafford Street.
party held for long serving Mrs.
Margaret Rownes who worked in the
Registration Department. She was a
long-serving staff member who worked
there for 37 years, starting at the
Wolverhampton and Staffordshire
Technical College at the age of 15.
At the back is
John White, Deputy Vice Chancellor and
For many years, a familiar figure on 'The Marble'
was head caretaker, Reg Kean. His office was on the
right-hand side of 'The Marble', as you enter the
building. Reg was in the Royal Navy for many years
before becoming a member of staff. Thanks to his
influence, in his day, most members of the
caretaking staff were ex-naval men. He became
president of the Royal Naval Association in
Wolverhampton and actively supported other ex-navy
men. He lived at Warstones in Penn and died on the
6th March, 2017 at the age of 96.
||Reg Kean and
his wife Elsie.
|Another very well known figure was
Harold Starr, who for many years worked
in Audio Visual Aids. Harold had been a
cinema projectionist before joining the
college. On Friday nights he would be
the projectionist at the students union
film shows in the cinema in 'C Block'
where popular feature films were shown.
He also became very involved in the
staff bar in 'C Block' after it opened
in the late 1960s, often serving behind
He was always friendly, outward going
and helpful. One of Harold's hobbies was
dancing with his wife.
When Audio Visual Aids on main site
closed, Harold was transferred to Audio
Visual Aids at the Dudley Campus. He
retired in 1993.
Harold died in 2008 or 2009.
Harold Star in the
late 1970s. Courtesy of David Parsons.
|One person who worked throughout
the establishment and was known by
most people was photographer Geoff
Knight. During his time at the
Polytechnic he must have taken a
vast number of photographs, which he
also processed and printed. He had
photos published in local newspapers
and did wedding photography with his
wife Elaine, who he married in 1976.
In his later time at the
Polytechnic, he was moved to the
photography section in the School of
Art and Design, but was never happy
there. In 1988 he got a job teaching
photography at Wakefield College and
Geoff and Elaine bought a bungalow
at Skelmanthorpe, near Huddersfield.
Geoff suffered from a recurring
illness which was never properly
diagnosed. He retired in the summer
of 1997 and looked forward to
enjoying a long retirement. He loved
sailing and bought a new boat in
readiness for retirement. Sadly, in
January 1998, on his return from
visiting his father in Scarborough,
he had a massive heart attack and
died. It was a few days before his
50th birthday. He might still be
alive today if the illness had been
Geoff Knight in
action in St. George's garden in the mid
|Danny Moore was a well known and
popular figure in 'B Block' where he
worked as a caretaker.
He was also
a polytechnic driver and worked at
weekends behind the bar at the Himley
He was a keen gardener and had a
lovely garden at his home in Balmain
Sadly he died of cancer on the
25th July, 1986 at the age of 51.
Danny Moore in
and his wife Gaynor at his
retirement party. A newspaper
cutting from an unknown newspaper.
|A long-serving member of staff
is the Rev. Geoffrey Wynne who
started his career at the college in
1966 and retired 44 years later on
the 3rd July, 2010.
He had been
taught at St. Joseph's College in
Shropshire by former monk, Tom Baker, who became an actor and was well
known as Doctor Who.
In 1979 he inaugurated an appeal
to build the polytechnic's
Chaplaincy Centre, which
officially opened in March 1981 and
had been funded by many local
In 2009 he received an honorary
doctorate for his achievements at
the polytechnic and the university.
In 2020 he is still active, as a
Director and Minister of Religion at