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.”