The Science and Art Institute

The Science and Art Institute was the second ‘mechanic’s institute’ in the United Kingdom. In 1840 the Mechanics Institute started without a permanent building until 1864 a dedicated building was available and provide its new name the Wolverton Science and Art Institute. The building was located on the corner of Church Street and St. Georges Way and it offered 12 classrooms, a library, an auditorium and a lecture theatre. Evening classes were also available here in a range of academic and practical disciplines. The building was destroyed by fire in the 1960s and is now a public car park.

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  • I passed the 13+ exams and went to Wolverton Tech. at the Science and Art Institute in 1957. About 4/5 years ealier my older brother also spent 3 years travelling from Linslade , by special school train, on a daily basis, for our education.
    I spent 12 months at the Institute and during this time it was announced that the school would change to “bi-lateral” (I think thats what they called it), in a merger with the Grammar School.
    I then spent 12 months floating between the Institute and the grammar school.
    By the start of the 3rd year we were able to make increasing use of what is now The Radcliffe School. So we then floated between the three sites although more at Raddcliffe site.
    In 1985 , while living in Dunstable I returned to Wolverton to work and was employed by a small company in a factory unit that was built on our old sports field at Old Wolverton.
    I did not know till later that the Institute had been destroyed. I was very dissapointed as that building played such an important part in the lives of thousands of young men and women.
    I have always been proud to say I went to Wolverton Technical School.

    By Richard Pantling (24/02/2022)
  • My Great-grand-father William Adams,while serving his apprenticeship as a pupil-teacher under the Hanslope Education Board, was also a student at the evening classes of the Institute and carried off several Queens prizes both in art and science. He subsequently moved to Darwen, Lancashire, and after obtaining an Education Diploma at the School of Science, South Kensington, London, taught in New Zealand retiring in Wanganui where I was born. His son, Dr George Adams (born in Lancashire), left NZ to study medicine (and play rugby) at Edinburgh University before returning to live in Wanganui and was Manager of the All Blacks tour of Australia in 1938! I now live in Canberra, Australia.

    By Alastair McGregor (23/01/2021)
  • My Mum, from Newport, went to The Tech to learn shorthand and typing skills. This would have been in the early 1940s. Some of the girls who did this subsequently found employment in the Offices in The Works.

    By Dianne Sutton (21/02/2018)
  • The Science and Art Institute was also used as part of the new Radcliffe School, which at it’s inception was spread over three sites, (the others being the Church Institute and the old Grammar School site in Moon Street) whilst the new school was being built at the Stratford end of Wolverton

    By Wendy Harvey (nee Stephens) (22/12/2017)
  • I am not sure if it was before WW2, but certainly after WW2 during the 1950s upto the summer of 1958 the Science an Art building was used as a school with a technically biased curicullum and was called Wolverton Secondary Technical School. In those days in the education system children took the 11 plus exam to gain access to the grammar school, if you were not successful there was another opportunity after 2 years at a secondary modern school to take a 13 plus examination and gain access to the secondary technical school, I was one of those pupils and spent three happy and fruitful years at Wolverton Secondary Technical School from 1955 to 1958. In those days the defined school leaving age was 15 but both the grammar school and the technical school added an extra year so we left at age 16 yrs. Pupils for both schools came from far and wide in North Bucks and special school trains ran from Bletchley station and Newport Pagnell to transport us to Wolverton, there were other pupils that could not reach these trains who would stay during the week at Wolverton House which is now the restaurant close to Wolverton Mill near Stony Stratford. The school took both sexes but classes were segregated, the boys subjects being science and engineering biased and the girls being clerically biased with both having the normal subjects such as Maths, English, History etc.

    By Paul Davess (21/11/2015)
  • The Science and Arts was burned down in 1970, not the 1960’s. Ian Bay from Haversham admitted starting the fire.

    By George Sanders (15/12/2014)
  • I have a series of colour slides of the fire.
    Would they be of use to this archive?

    By dave (19/08/2014)

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