Historic Willenhall school transforming into new business headquarters

An historic former school has been given a new lease of life after being taken over by a business.

The old Little London School clock tower
The old Little London School clock tower

The old Little London JMI School, on Stafford Street, Willenhall, where the iconic clock tower still stands, has been transformed into the new headquarters of Wedge Group Galvanising, which has been based in the town for 150 years.

The move is part of a multi-million investment which has seen the former school undergo a complete refurbishment, transforming it from a crumbling relic.

Little London closed more than a decade ago and had been abandoned ever since.

The firm, which is the largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation in the UK with 14 plants around the country, has its roots in Willenhall with records showing John Wedge to be running a galvanizing business in the town as early as 1869.

It has been based at its current site, further along in Stafford Street, since 1876, but bosses decided a bigger site was needed for around 20 staff.

The clock tower has been refurbished and protected as part of the redevelopment.

Wedge Group Galvanising managing director Chris Woolridge said: “We’re very much looking forward to opening our new headquarters on the very street where the foundations of our business began.

“We’re also thrilled to have restored the clock tower, which is of great significance to residents of the town.

"Our investment will see this historic site, which has been derelict for more than a decade, given a brand new lease of life and the opportunity to be a revered landmark in the community once again.

“Next year, we’ll celebrate 150 years since John Wedge began a galvanizing operation in Willenhall and what better way to do that than by continuing his legacy in new headquarters.”

Wolverhampton-based architect, Tweedale, is behind the design.

Director of Architecture, Michael Bates, said: "This has been a fantastic project to be involved with because of the challenge of creating a design that complements and enhances elements of the existing locally listed building in a conservation area; respecting its history and key features.

"The design will provide a contemporary, first class working environment, and will give the building a new life for many years to come."

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