Building Name

Whalley Range High School for Girls Wilbraham Road

1936 - 1939
Wilbraham Road
Whalley Range, Manchester
GMCA, England
Manchester Educaton Committee
New build

WHALLEY RANGE’S NEW SCHOOL – The detailed plans for the new premises of Whalley Range Girls’ High School, which the Education Committee proposes to erect in Wilbraham Road at a cost of £50,000 are at present before the Board of Education. A sketch plan had previously been approved, but the scheme is now more advanced. The new premises are to take the place of existing accommodation in Withington Road and Burford Road. The plans have been prepared by the architectural section of the Education Department, to which Mr James B Brez is surveyor. [Manchester Guardian 10 September 1936 page 13]

A NEW SCHOOL FOR GIRLS - The original school in Wilbraham Road was privately established in 1891 and taken over in 1908 by the Manchester Education Committee in 1908. At that time, additional accommodation in Burford Road was necessary, but over thirty years the two buildings had become increasingly inadequate. The new school has places for 600 to 650 girls. There are fourteen form rooms, four small rooms for sixth forms, a geography room, a science block with three laboratories and a lecture hall together with liberal space for the practice of domestic and other arts, including a kiln for burning pottery. In addition to this teaching space there is a large assembly hall with stage and a gallery for parents and visitors; a gymnasium with shower baths; acres of fine playing fields; and comfortable administrative and staff quarters. The Education Committee’s own architectural staff, under the direction of its surveyor, Mr James B Brez, has been responsible for this school, which has cost roughly £80,000 to build. [Manchester Guardian 6 July 1939 Page 14]

THE WHALLEY RANGE HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS - The new Whatley Range High School for Girls, to be opened to-day. replaces the old and inadequate premises in Withington Road and Burford Road, Whalley Range. It has all the facilities of a modern secondary school, with accommodation for 600 to 650 pupils. On a site of about nineteen acres at the corner of Wilbraham Road and Princess Road, the buildings are based on the Georgian style of architecture, and the main frontage, which faces Wibraham Road, has a projecting central block dominated by a roof turret. External brick facings are in rustic brick. The front entrance door is approached by a flight of four steps, and a stone panel above the door has the Manchester coat of arms. The centre block is flanked by two extensive wings and the buildings are grouped round two quadrangles with the assembly hall dividing them and forming a central feature. Main class rooms face south, overlooking the playing-fields, and the northerly frontage on Wilbraham Road is largely devoted to the science, housecraft, and dining rooms, kitchen, etc. In addition to the main staircase there are staircases on the east and west sides. Accommodation comprises fourteen form rooms. With four small rooms for the sixth form, geography room, science block, including three laboratories and lecture-room, assembly hall with stage and gallery, dining-room and kitchen, library, art-room. craft-room and kiln-room for burning pottery, needlework room, gymnasium with changing room and shower baths, staff rooms, cloak rooms, and ancillary accommodation. The assembly hall is 70 feet by 40 feet, with the addition of a fully equipped stage 20 feet in depth. Two class rooms at the back of the stage will be used as dressing rooms. The hall has two emergency exits. Ceiling lights are installed. Natural ventilation is supplemented by air extractors in the ceiling and air inlets on the walls. Providing the approach to the assembly hall, the crush hall inside the main entrance. is tiled from floor to ceiling and the floor is tiled. It contains the bronze tablet be unveiled to-day by the Duchess of Kent.

Conveniently arranged en-suite, the science section comprises an advanced chemistry laboratory, biological and physics laboratory, and junior chemistry laboratory, with lecture rooms, preparation rooms, and a dark room. There is also a greenhouse for biological specimens. Adjacent to the science section biological gardens have been laid out for the use of pupils. A pool for fish and aquatic plantsis in the centre of the quadrangle. On the first floor is the art room. 33ft. 6in. by 33ft. 2in.. made light and bright by its expanse of window on the east, taking up nearly all the wall space. Adjoining is the needlework room and craft room. Also on the first floor, is the library, 48ft. 3in. by 19ft. It embodies the centre of the main front; has five large semi-circular headed windows forming a feature of the main elevation in the centre, and is approached directly from the main staircase. It is equipped according to modern practice and may be used for debates. The housecraft room has a double Triplex range. a gas range, a bungalow gas-cooker. an electric cooker, a vegetable boiler, hot-plates. and an iron-heater.

Chiefly to the south of the school are the playing-fields, which were laid down some years ago and up to the present have been used by other schools. There are two pavilions on the fields. Eight hard tennis courts have been laid down on the western boundary and four net-ball courts. A special border is reserved on the east side of the school for the cultivation of plants and shrubs required for botany purposes, and a potting-shed has been provided in close proximity. All the work on the grounds has been carried out by the Parks Department of the Corporation, including the lay-out of the gardens in front of the school.

The plans for the school were prepared by the architectural staff of the Manchester Education Committee under the direction Of Mr James B. Brez, who has also supervised he erection of the building and its equipment. The capital cost of the scheme, which has been carried out by the Sites and School Buildings Sub-Committee, is estimated at £84,627, made up as follows : Land (including £4,965 previously spent on the playing-fields) £l7,335; paving, £3,737; erection of buildings, including the making good of a small area of the playing-fields and all internal and external work, £56,655; furniture and equipment, £6,880. [Manchester Guardian 6 July 1939 page 14]

Opened     6 July 1939 by the Duchess of Kent.

Reference    Manchester Guardian 10 September 1936 page 13
Reference    Manchester Guardian 28 June 1939 page 13
Reference    Manchester Guardian 6 July 1939 Page 14 - feature
Reference    Manchester Guardian 7 July 1939 Page 13 – opening ceremony
Reference    Manchester Guardian 7 July 1939 Page 9 and page 14– photographs