Didsbury School of Education
|Didsbury School of Education|
Didsbury School of Education
|Governing body||Privately owned|
|Official name: Didsbury School of Education|
|Designated||25 February 1952|
The Didsbury School of Education, Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester, England, is a former campus of Manchester Metropolitan University. It was originally built as a private house around 1785, and became a theological college for the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1842. The main college building was designated a Grade II* listed building on 25 February 1952.
The site is currently undergoing redevelopment as a residential area.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Campus
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Early history: 1465-1946
According to local historian Diana Leitch, the site dates from 1465, with the first house being built in 1603 as part of a large estate and deer park. In 1740, the site was purchased by the Broome family, who constructed a new house after 1785, dubbed the 'Pump House', extant today as the front part of the former administration building of the university. In the 1820s and 1830s the house was used as a girls' school, and the 10-acre (40,000 m2) site was purchased by the Wesleyan Methodist Church on 18 March 1841 for £2,000, and opened as a theological college on 22 September 1842 with a special service. The construction and later renovations were paid for from a centenary fund, an initiative started ten years previously by the Methodist scholar Adam Clarke.
To the south of the mansion, the Methodist owners constructed a chapel that could hold 300 worshippers, along with accommodation for staff. In 1866, the original mansion was extended with two wings and a back to form a quadrangle, and the front was reclad in Kerridge stone. In 1877, a new church was built to serve the college, the large Victorian Gothic St Paul's Methodist Church, on an adjacent site, and the chapel became the college library and lecture theatre. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Didsbury and Richmond Colleges had become branches of a national Wesleyan Theological Institution, along with Wesley College, Headingley in Leeds and Handsworth College in Birmingham. The first president of the Institute was Jabez Bunting, and John Hannah was among the first tutors.
During both world wars the site was used as a military hospital, with up to 200 beds and more than 5000 patients receiving treatment during between 1941 and 1945. In 1943, the Board of Education had begun to consider the future of education, following inevitable reforms that would come after the war ended. It was estimated, with the raising of the school leaving age, that around 70,000 new teachers would be needed, almost ten times as many as before the war. In 1944 a report was produced by the Board of Education on the emergency recruitment and training of teachers, and it was decided that there were to be several new training colleges set up, staffed by seconded lecturers with students from the national service. The City of Manchester was no exception, and a search was undertaken for suitable accommodation for a new emergency training college. In 1945, the theological college, which was no longer required by the Wesleyans, was leased to the Manchester Education Authority, and the new emergency training college was officially opened on 31 January 1946, and Alfred Body was the first principal.
Didsbury College of Education: 1946-1977
The college faced some difficulties initially, as the building which had accommodated 70 students previously now needed space for 224, including 140 living on site. In the first four years, the college was renovated considerably by the Ministry of Works, which included the removal of 60 chimney stacks, a new roof, new wiring and central heating. Many lectures took place away from the site in various schools and other buildings nearby, and temporary huts – which would become permanent – were constructed in 1947. The first students were all men who had been interviewed by boards established by the Ministry of Education, and completed a 2-year course over a period of just 13 months. The second cohort of 242 men completed their course in a similar amount of time. In 1948, Didsbury became co-educational, with 158 female and 106 male students enrolling. There was some uncertainty about what was to become of the college once the emergency scheme had ended; the Methodists who still owned the building had moved their business to Bristol, and also named it Didsbury. The University of Manchester had expressed an interest in using the site as student accommodation, and the Methodists also wished to set up a training college. In the end, by 1950, the emergency college was made into a permanent college and purchased by the City of Manchester, with around 250 male and female students enrolled, which would gradually increase. As a result of becoming a permanent college, Didsbury became a part of Manchester University's School of Education. In 1950, the driveway around the main building was covered with gravel and had its soil removed; nine years later it was completely tarmaced. In 1956 the college was granted 5.5-acre (22,000 m2) of land by Lord and Lady Simon of Wythenshawe situated on the opposite side of Wilmslow Road, allowing sports days to be held.
Over the next two decades, numerous buildings were constructed on the site; Behrens, Birley and Simon were all named after prominent local families which had ties to the college. The Simon Building (construction starting in 1957, opened in 1963) contained lecture rooms, a gymnasium, assembly hall, refectory and kitchen; Behrens Building followed; Broomhurst Hall (opened in 1963) was a mixed halls of residence on the site of the playing field; the Royal Ford Hall of Residence (off-site) opened in November 1965; the Birley Building containing the refectory, kitchen and teaching rooms was opened in 1968; the assembly hall and drama studio were constructed between 1963 and 1964, and opened in 1968; the sports centre and swimming pool were opened in 1973; and the purpose-built library was opened in 1975. Park End House, originally a home for the principal, was converted into residential accommodation in 1946, and houses in Didsbury Park were purchased by the college in the 1960s as student hostels. In 1968, the bedrooms of the college were converted into tutorial offices, and the Old Social Room, which originated during World War II, was converted into a College Club, complete with a bar, which eventually moved into the old chapel.
By 1966, student numbers had risen to 1,100 with 107 staff. As a result of this, the number of courses provided by the college was increased, and in 1969 the first group of students to take the Bachelor of Education degree qualified, and were awarded by the University of Manchester. In 1970, student numbers had increased significantly to 1550.
Polytechnic and university: 1977-2014
Didsbury became part of Manchester Polytechnic in 1977, renamed as Didsbury School of Education. The merger was met with some opposition by students, who considered the Polytechnic to be "quite different" to the college. The City of Manchester College of Higher Education merged with the polytechnic in 1983, and in 1992 it gained university status, becoming Manchester Metropolitan University, and in the same year it merged with Crewe and Alsager College, which became the university's Cheshire campus. There were 1867 students by 1986, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s, there were ongoing improvements to technology, with computers becoming commonplace, and interactive whiteboards were introduced across all classrooms by 2009. In 1999, the campus became known as the Institute of Education, and student numbers reached their highest at 3207 in 2004. In 2005 the library was significantly renovated and updated, with mezzanine floors, a lift and group study rooms being constructed. Didsbury became the base of the Science Learning Centre North West (later known as STEM) in 2005, following the building of new science laboratories costing £2 million. From 2008 until closure, the site was known as the Faculty of Education. The university remained in Didsbury until 2014, when it vacated it and Broomhurst Halls of Residence and relocated to a new campus at Birley Fields in Hulme.
Present day: 2014-
The site is currently being redeveloped as a residential area of up to 93 homes, with the listed buildings (the Administration building, renamed as Sandhurst House; the old chapel; the lodge; and 801 and 803 Wilmslow Road) being retained. The area will be known as St James Park, and a new primary school will be constructed on the land previously occupied by Broomhurst Hall. Archives for the former Wesleyan College are held today at the Methodist Archives and Research Centre at the John Rylands Library in Manchester.
When the college was opened in 1946, teacher training followed the standard route of two years, albeit initially taking a shorter time during the first few years as an emergency college. There were various courses available including rural studies, nature studies, handicraft, metalwork, physical education, mathematics, science, chemistry, music, geography, English, history, drama,, art, religious studies, and infant education. In 1966, the first students of the Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree enrolled, and graduated three years later in 1969. A graduate course was introduced in the 1960s that would eventually become the PGCE, which was introduced in the 1970s. Further courses, including sociology, and European and American Studies were also introduced at this time. By the 1970s, courses in compensatory education and special needs had been introduced, in addition to in-service courses for qualified teachers. In 1973, BEd students were offered a fourth year of studies to gain an honours degree, and in 1980 this became standard for all students. ICT teaching and learning became embedded in the 2000s. There was also a degree available in early childhood.
Each student spent time away from the campus in a school to develop their teaching skills. The amount of time in schools varied across the years and across courses, with the PGCE being 24 weeks in total. Students would be supervised on placement by visiting university tutors; until 1990 each student had two tutors to ensure consistency and to moderate, but this was changed to one due to costs. From 2005, the BEd began to be phased out and replaced with a BA degree in primary education.
The campus is situated south of Didsbury village on Wilmslow Road, approximately 5.5 miles (8.9 km) from Manchester City Centre, as the road turns east towards Parrs Wood. This section describes the campus as of the final academic year it was occupied by Manchester Metropolitan University.
The original red brick house which stood on the site was extended and re-clad in ashlar stone in a Neo-Grecian style by the Wesleyans. The substantial Grecian frame comprises eleven bays and four pilasters decorated with carved lotus leaf capitals and acanthus bases, probably by the architect Richard Lane. Pevsner suggests that these architectural details were taken from illustrations by James Stuart and Nicholas Revett of the Ancient Greek Tower of the Winds in Athens, and notes that identical decorations can be seen on another house by Lane at 84 Plymouth Grove in Manchester, later occupied by Elizabeth Gaskell. The building has "sandstone ashlar facades, with rear and courtyard walls of red brick in Flemish bond with sandstone dressings". The original brick house can still be seen today from the courtyard at the back of the building. The interior contains a fine "entrance hall with [a] screen of reeded columns [and an] elliptical open-well staircase with wrought-iron balustrade".
During the time the university occupied the site, the building contained most of the offices of lecturers and administration staff, as well as a classroom used to support primary school teacher trainees, formerly the College Club and bar.
For many years, this was used as a library and lecture theatre. The ground floor eventually became the student union, and contained a bar and café. The first floor was used as research and lecture space.
This building was situated near to the Old Chapel on the edge of the campus, and was constructed in the 1870s as a gatehouse. As an associated building to the grander college building, it is considered to be curtilage listed. In modern times housed security and is due to be developed as a private property.
The Birley Building was a four-storey building which contained the refectory and kitchen, a conference centre, and numerous classrooms, including art and ceramic studios and computer suites. The Birley Building was attached directly to the library, which was modernised in 2005, and spread over three floors. It contained group work rooms and study areas, and academic books and journals were available for research, as well as children's books and other resources for students to use during school-based placements.
The Behrens Building was three floors high and mainly consisted of classrooms, though it originally contained a student common room and study area. During the library's redesign, the ground floor of Behrens was used as a temporary library.
Attached to Behrens was the Simon Building which contained a variety of rooms, including classrooms, lecture theatres, science laboratories, offices, music rooms, technology rooms, and the assembly hall and foyer. At basement level there was a drama studio. The Simon Building originally contained a gymnasium and refectory with an associated kitchen, and in 2013 there were proposals to demolish part of the building to make space for new teaching facilities.
The sports centre, which was open to the public, contained a dance studio and gym, and sports hall, as well as changing rooms. Until 2000, it also housed a swimming pool, but this was closed as a result of the opening of Manchester Aquatics Centre, despite protests by local residents. Externally there were tennis courts. Other buildings on the campus included sets of temporary classrooms, some dating from the 1940s.
These buildings have all since been demolished to make way for newly-constructed homes.
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