The owners of a former school partly destroyed in an arson attack are being called upon to restore the building to its former glory.
The former West Bromwich Grammar School was targeted in a blaze which destroyed part of the roof and caused significant damage to the historic building.
There are now calls for the Homes and Communities Agency, which owns the building, to restore it to its former glory. Fire crews were called to the blaze at 7pm on Thursday, and at its height 55 firefighters were on the site.
Parts of the Victorian building were completely destroyed, while others were untouched, including the blue plaque to the actress Madeleine Carroll who attended the school.
Fire investigators believe the cause was arson, and police are investigating.
The building was a grammar school between 1904 and 1964 and catered for pupils from across the region. More recently it has been home to Sandwell College’s hair and beauty department and the performing arts courses.
The students moved out in February 2012 when a new college building in nearby Spon Lane opened. Since then the building has been empty.
The Homes and Communities Agency, which bought the building from the college, is due to undertake a redevelopment of the town’s High Street, which includes the demolition of the neighbouring Sandwell College tower. Hateley Heath councillor Paul Sandars said many people would be sad to see the old school damaged. He said: “It is a beautiful building.”
He said the former grammar school was hit by arsonists in 1976 when part of the roof was destroyed. He said: “It really is a building we should look after.” Chris Walker, aged 20, of Hill
Top Close, Birmingham, was a performing arts student at the college when it was based in the building. “I would love it to be restored, but now I just think it will demolished,” he said.
The Homes and Communities Agency said full structural surveys of the building will begin this week.