|In January 1948 the National Foundry College opened
in temporary accommodation at the Wolverhampton and
Staffordshire Technical College.
James Bamford, head of the
In the mid 1930s, the British
Foundry School had been formed at Birmingham Central
Technical College, purely on a temporary basis. The
Chairman, Randall Garfield Hoskings, C.B.E. was
assisted by Dr. W. E. Fisher, O.B.E., Principal of
the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire Technical
College. After the war the college moved to the
Wolverhampton site, where a post-graduate diploma
course began and research was carried out. The head
of the Foundry College was James Bamford. His
assistants were J. B. McIntyre, W. Prentice, S. N.
Wrightson and W. B. Hendry.
Within a few years the Foundry
College was to move into the new 3 storey building
in Stafford Street, that was built at a
cost of £90,000, plus £35,000 for equipment. In
January, 1953 the college governors made an appeal
to industry to provide £10,000 to equip the
experimental foundry, which resulted in donations
and equipment with a value of more than £7,000.
The new building included a
fully-equipped foundry, two spacious teaching rooms,
equipped with visual aids, for use as either lecture
rooms or drawing offices, dark rooms, offices and
stores, seven laboratories, fitted with the most
up-to-date equipment for the chemical analysis, heat
treatment and metallographic examination of all
ferrous and non-ferrous materials. There was also a
workshop for maintenance work, the making of
research equipment and the preparation of test
pieces and specimens.
The foundry was used for the
teaching of foundry techniques and experimental
methods. There were also analytical and sand testing
facilities in adjacent laboratories, an X-ray room,
complete with a control room and a 250 kV, X-ray
machine, which was situated in the basement, along
with demonstration and dark rooms. The Metallurgical
Analysis Laboratory was in room 61 in an adjacent
building. Students of the foundry college and the
technical college had use of relevant laboratories
within the two colleges, including the pattern shop,
mechanical testing laboratory and the metallurgical
The new building in Stafford
Street and its main entrance.
The college buildings in about
1953. The new foundry college is on the extreme
The preparation of
Heat Treatment Laboratory.
The Project Laboratory.
|The foundry college ran
full-time and part-time courses and provided local
and regional education for the industry. The courses
listed in the prospectus included a Diploma Course,
Post-Diploma work, short courses and local
activities. Also listed are the necessary
qualifications for entry and the arrangements under
which entrance, progress and research scholarships
were awarded, together with several benefits
that were included within the scholarship award.
Students during their course were expected to reside
in Tor Lodge Hostel, at Tettenhall, unless given
special permission to live elsewhere.
Tor Lodge Hostel was officially opened on 23rd September 1949 by
Mr. George Tomlinson, Minister of Education, who also visited
the National Foundry College and inaugurated its third session.
The new buildings in Stafford
Street were completed in 1953. They were officially
opened on Wednesday 3rd February, 1954 by Sir
Gilbert Flemming, K.C.B. at a ceremony in the main
Near to Tor Lodge, off Tor Lodge Drive, Tettenhall, is
Applecross, another house that was used for residential
accommodation for foundry college students, many of whom were
from abroad. Both houses were sold and provided funds for the Tor Lodge and Applecross Trust, a charity that supports people
who work in the cast metals industry, by offering contributions
towards the cost of training and education.
The Foundry College closed in August 1967. In 1966 the government ceased to
support such institutions. The government grant was removed and
changes were made to further education and the way students were
trained to enter industry. Tor Lodge Hostel was sold and became
accommodation for up to 30 students who studied pattern making,
foundry work or photography at Wednesbury College and West
Bromwich College of Commerce and Technology. The house was sold
in 1988 and is now private accommodation.
I have to thank David Parsons and Mark Cooper for the photographs used in this