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Teacher’s fond memories of Ward’s Bridge School

By dan shaw  |  Posted: April 15, 2010

1957-58 Prefects. John Sleeuwenhoek is second from left on the middle row

1957-58 Prefects. John Sleeuwenhoek is second from left on the middle row

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WE’RE sure that these photographs will bring back many happy memories for Bugle readers in the Wednesfield area and some may even recognise themselves among the schoolchildren shown.

The pictures were taken at Ward’s Bridge Secondary Modern School around 1956-57 and when the school closed some thirty years later they were rescued by Barbara Richards, the school’s head of girls’ P.E.

Barbara has kindly loaned a selection of the pictures to the Bugle and she writes: “Ward’s Bridge Secondary Modern School began in 1955 in the original Willenhall Comprehensive building, with four members of staff and the head, Mr E.M. Kennings, then moved to its site on Lichfield Road, Wednesfield, in 1956.

“When it was taken over by Wolverhampton it became a high school and later Mr Jack Coupland took over as headmaster.

“It was run on a house system with four houses named after local notables; Clare, housemaster Mr Stan Simms, and Fryer, housemaster Mr Don Gallatley, occupied Tower A, and Gough, housemaster Mr Gwynne Roberts, and Tomkys, housemaster Mr Cyril Gamston, were in Tower B.

“At one time there were 1,200 pupils on roll and they were encouraged to take part in as many activities as possible and to play an active role in the organisation of the school through the school council where each form, via their representatives, put forward new ideas which they thought would benefit the school or their educational experiences.

“The outdoor club, led by Mr Brian Baker, ventured into Wales, the Peak District and the Cotswolds. There was a lively youth club, which met on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and which also catered for expupils.

There were many school productions, often produced by Mr Bert Nicklin with music by Miss Winnie Henworth.

Heavy crafts played an important role, too, and the pupils built a rural science teaching block, under the tuition of Mr Vic Oakley, for a rare Rural Science Department.

“Dance club saw boys and girls ballroom dancing together! Grace was said before each of the two dinner servings and girls took part in their domestic science lessons in aprons and headbands, which they had made in Mrs Ann Buckley’s needlework lessons.

“Sport played a large part in school life; orienteering, canoeing, swimming, badminton, basketball, tennis and athletics, as well as inter-house and inter-school competitions.

Saturday mornings often saw five netball matches, three hockey matches and rugby and soccer games filling the school field.

Sports day was always impressive with the whole school watching the Olympic-style team parade.

“Outstanding performances, both academic and sporting were recorded in gold on the honours boards in the foyer. Notable performers included John Sleeuwenhoek, who played for the English schoolboy’s soccer team and Aston Villa, and Tessa Sanderson, Olympic javelin gold medal winner in 1984, made their start on Ward’s Bridge’s playing fields.

“The School was closed in 1989 when the number of secondary pupils in Wolverhampton declined.

The building survives as the Jenny Lee Teachers’ Centre.”

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11 comments

  • rusakatom  |  January 28 2014, 1:18PM

    Wards Bridge School is in the process of being Demolished ... see Facebook ... Wards Bridge Secondary Modern School ... for pictures

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  • rusakatom  |  January 28 2014, 1:15PM

    Wards Bridge School is in the process of being demolished ... see Wards Bridge Secondary Modern School on Facebook

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  • rusakatom  |  January 17 2014, 3:25PM

    Is it possible to get in touch with Miss Richards and get a copy of the Staff Photograph, I was in Clare House in the first year Wards Bridge opened, Miss Richards was our registration teacher at one time, PS is the New Zealand Bandsman Gary Brownrig ?

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  • Black Country Bugle User  |  October 14 2012, 7:39PM

    A wonderful school, Mr Gamston, Miss Richards, Mrs Roberts, Miss Sweetmen ( oh what a looker) Mr davies Maths teacher Deadly with a piece of chalk, Mr Baker PE, and mant more..I managed to achieve all my school colours which were given for different sports and games acumen.The school garden was berautiful.All done by students. Lots of fond memories

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  • Black Country Bugle User  |  July 20 2012, 1:15AM

    Dear Sir I am trying to establish what became of one of your staff member-Mr John Fox-Russell. I was a teacher with him in the 1970s in Richmond Surrey and we went our "separate ways" Many thanks for you assistance-I may be contacted on 07767 666037. John Simon

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  • Black Country Bugle User  |  June 24 2012, 11:29PM

    i miss the school bein their, i liked it wen i was there frm 1979 to 1984. but am very interested in the murder suiciude of a girl which appened ther b 4 i started, i heard it frm alot of ppl,

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  • Black Country Bugle User  |  April 27 2012, 6:43PM

    I was in Gough House in Tower B I can remember Miss Richards Mrs Thomas and Miss Sedgewick - all P.E Teachers. Do they remember the cold showers, foot inspections and the Saturday coaches to play netball at other schools. Graiseley comes to my mind. We were always left bruised lol Remember the Valuables Tin into which we entrusted our watches? Best of all was the trip to Heath Town Baths

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  • Black Country Bugle User  |  April 12 2012, 1:15AM

    i have so many fond memories of my time at wardsbridge in the early 70's and my favourite p,e teacher miss richards. as they say now she was class. not only a great sports coach but a very good friend to all of us xx

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  • Black Country Bugle User  |  July 30 2011, 7:03PM

    I attended Wards Bridge until 1962. I was in Gough house. I later joimned the Police retiring 32 yrs later in 1995. I still live ion Wolverhampton.The school was a great place and I achieved my School colours in Football,( Mr Jones) Basket Ball ( Mr Baker)Cricket. Cross Country and SAthletics.. I was a Prefect.. I have only fond memebers of this trail blazing school.I believe Mr Gamstom(biffo)was a Magistrate in Wolverhampton..Miss Sweetman, French teacher was stunnner. All the boys crazed over her, I certainly did.

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  • Black Country Bugle User  |  November 30 2010, 9:26AM

    I started at the school in 1956 and left to join the Royal Marine Band Service, gaining promotio0n to Bandmaster and moving to New Zealand in 1986 being appointed as Lieutenant RNZN andDirector of Music to the RNZN Band. Would like to connect with school members at that time, Love to connect with friends from that period, Kia Ora, Gary... yes I know...LOL... only one R... parents had a a clerical disagreement at my birth :)

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