In September 1951 the college had a new principal in the form of Mr. Charles Leslie-Old. In the same year the College became Wolverhampton and Staffordshire College of Technology. 'G Block' was built beside the front yard, along with the building at the back of the yard and the building in Wulfruna Street that's between the 1932 building and what was the George Hotel.

The new buildings included accommodation for the departments of Electrical and Production Engineering. The new laboratories were as follows: an Electrical Machines' Laboratory with a full range of modern DC and AC machines, a laboratory for Electronics and Telecommunications, including measuring instruments, a Machine Shop, well equipped with lathes, millers, grinders, etc., and a Machine Tools' Laboratory.

There was also a Heat Treatment and Testing Laboratory, a Metrology Laboratory, a Work Study Laboratory, a Welding and Sheet Metal Work Shop and a Toolmaking and Bench Fitting Shop. The college was well-supported by local industry and received gifts amounting to approximately £12,000. Within a few years more buildings had been added alongside Stafford Street,  including ‘B Block’, which opened in 1953 and was occupied by Wulfrun College until 1961.


The opening dates for the earlier buildings on the site.


The Refreshment Room, built in 1948.


Looking down on the 1951 extensions, from St. Peter's Church.


Building work for the Stafford Street extension in 1951. The structural steelwork was fabricated and erected by Herbertson & Company Limited, Beaconsfield Works, Wolverhampton.
Around this time, student numbers rapidly grew, from 3892 in 1951 / 1952 to 6236 in 1957 / 1958. This led to a reduction in student fees from £6.2s.0d. for class entry in 1949 / 1950 to £4.18s.6d. in 1950 / 1951. Staff also benefited when the local authority allowed them to travel first class on trains, whilst on college business. Teaching allowances were also given to staff studying for higher degrees.

One of the first acts of the new principal was to ensure that the Fraser Collection of geological rock samples that had been donated to the council, would be displayed at the college. It would be of great interest to geology students and civil engineering students. The collection was displayed on the ground floor, where it remained for many years.

One area that was in need of improvement was the library, which was situated on the top floor above 'The Marble'. In 1950 HM inspectors noted that it housed just 25 students at a time, seated at small tables and that the number of volumes was 4,500. By 1954 there were still only 5,500 volumes, but the number of periodicals had increased to 135. In the year 1953 / 1954 a full time librarian was finally appointed. Things wouldn't improve until 1974 when the library temporarily moved to the ground floor of 'B Block'.


 The machine room. From the 1953 Wolverhampton Handbook.

Research was becoming more important. By 1956 there were eight members of staff carrying out full time research. The research included a study of industrial dusts, carried out in Applied Sciences, design work on gas turbines for the Ministry of Fuel and Power, measuring the torsional strength of cast iron and of ductile cast iron. In the Production Engineering Department, two research assistants were at work on research into cutting tools and in the Mechanical Engineering Department a local firm is sponsoring research into problems with heat exchangers. 


The gymnasium. From the 1953 Wolverhampton Handbook.


Another view of the gymnasium.

The college's first computer, completed in 1951, known as the ‘WITCH’ arrived in 1957. WITCH stands for Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell. The computer was designed by R. C. M. Barnes & E. Cooke Yarborough to do calculations concerned with nuclear research. It was known as the Harwell Dekatron Computer and had twenty stores. It was replaced at Harwell by one of the early commercially built computers and offered as a gift through the Oxford Mathematical Institute, to the college that could present the best case for its future use. A short list of nine colleges was drawn up. After a visit from a member of staff, it was decided that the computer would be offered as a gift to Wolverhampton.

In its first year at the college, local firms donated £525 towards its upkeep and several courses and visits were arranged for sixth formers from local schools. Early projects included work for the West Midlands Gas Board, the production of combinations for safe locks, carried out by Peter Burden, and a number of mathematical programs.

On the 27th March, 1973, the computer was given to Birmingham Science Museum, in Newhall Street, but when that closed it went to the Museum Collection Centre in Dollman Street, Duddeston. In 2008 it was spotted by a member of staff from the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. The people there realised its importance as the oldest, still functioning, electronic stored program computer in the world, in original condition. Bletchley Park acquired the computer, which is now on permanent display as a working exhibit. Peter Burden was initially very involved in the restoration.


The WITCH, with Peter Burden on the left and Frank Hawley on the right, examining some punch tape. At the time Peter was 17 years old and still at school.
In 1957 the college began a part time training course for teachers in further education that led to a City and Guilds Technical Teacher's Certificate.

On the 1st January, 1958, the college principal, Mr. Charles Leslie-Old left and was replaced by Mr. Robert Scott. By 1959 the college had 6,236 students.

Collaboration between the college and Wulfrun College continued after 1961 when Wulfrun College had moved from 'B Block' to its Paget Road site. It was planned that Wulfrun College would be responsible for courses up to ONC level and Wolverhampton College of Technology would cater for higher level courses. From September 1962 twenty two courses moved to Wulfrun which gave each college a student population of around 5,000. It was a sad and worrying time for staff, because some would have to move and others would not.

Also in 1962 there were many joint projects with industry. One that caught the public's imagination at the time was a machine developed by Mr. M. H. Matthews of the Production Engineering Department. It could pin-point a target spot for brain surgery. Within two years there were over 80 collaborative projects with industry.

In July 1963, permission was given for the purchase of an IBM 1620 computer to replace the WITCH. At the time, the WITCH was still seen as a useful teaching aid because of its slow speed, visible storage and simple programming code.

In the early 1960s the number of full time students drastically increased, so a college hostel became an important consideration. A member of the teaching staff, Mr. H. K. Hammond, volunteered to become Lodgings Officer. He was to make lists of approved lodgings and keep an eye on the students' welfare. At the end of 1964, Brinsford Lodge, an ex-Malayan teachers' college was acquired as a hostel for 250 resident students, and 40 staff. It opened in September 1965 and was assisted by the local authority who allowed some council houses to be used for student accommodation.

From 1964 the college began to run BA degree courses, including English, mathematics, geography, history, music, physics, zoology and economics, and a year later an honours degree course in computer technology.

In 1966 the college became Wolverhampton College of Technology. Over the next twelve months 24 staff members were transferred to Wulfrun College and 43 new posts were created. The first degrees were awarded in 1967 and Management and Business Studies acquired premises in St. John's Square.


The main Hall.

In 1963 the Wolverhampton College of Art began running a degree-level course in the form of a Diploma in Art and Design. In 1967 the college’s Principal, Robin Plummer, oversaw the building of a new college alongside Ring Road St Peters. Work on the new site began in the summer of 1967, and by early 1969 the new building had appeared.

The first degree show was held there on 12th June, 1969 and the first full academic year started in September 1969. The building was officially opened by ex-student, Sir Charles Wheeler on the 23rd October, 1970.

On the 1st September, 1969, Wolverhampton College of Technology merged with Wolverhampton College of Art to form The Polytechnic, Wolverhampton. It had five faculties: Applied Science, Art and Design, Arts, Engineering, and Social Sciences. The Director was Robert Scott. Associate Directors were Robin Plummer and Mr. J. H. Williams.

There were the following departments: Building and Civil Engineering, Chemistry and Biology, Economics and Social Studies, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Finance Law and Government, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Industrial and Product Design, Languages, Management Centre, Management Studies, Materials, Mathematics and Computing, Mechanical Engineering, Modern Studies, Production Engineering.

The Polytechnic inherited Himley Hall, the former home of the Earls of Dudley. It housed the Management Centre, the Fraser geological collection, part of the Biological Sciences Department and was used for many overflow classes.


   
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