Stafford College Coat of Arms and Decorative Stonework
Type Coat of Arms , Panel
This 1930s purpose built college building has several decorative panels, some with symbolic meanings. The college's coat of arms, a variation on the Stafford coat of arms, is used twice on the most prominent corners of the building. It has an oval shield, with Staffordshire Knot upon a chevron; the supporters take the form of two torches, representing Learning. On either side of the entrance façade two square panels depict a relief of an oil lamp, with a straight garland of flowers and foliage on each side; again referring to Learning. Above the ground floor windows are three repeating designs, each in a semi-circular panel. They are a concertina-like shape; a more traditional stylised shell and scrolls, with lion head mounted either side of it; and an abstract pattern. All the designs are executed in a geometric Art Deco style, including other details such as simple zigzag patterns around the entrance capitals, and low relief details on secondary entrances.
Further Education had been provided in Stafford at various locations in the town since 1892. Increased demand and expansion of the range of skills being taught had meant an almost continuous demand for additional space since that time.
The new premises at Tenter Banks were intended to bring together the core activities of the college under one roof when construction commenced in 1937. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, only the shell had been completed and the building was commandeered by the Government. With the end of the war in 1945 the County Further Education Committee realised that the uses envisaged for the building in 1937 were no longer entirely appropriate and replanning of the use of the space began. This was complicated by the continuing use of four large rooms by the English Electric Company, which continued until 1948. The contract to complete the college building, abandoned in 1939, was re-commenced in 1949 but it was not until 1955 that the new College was completed. By 1956 the new College was already too small.
Very little information about the origins or the designs of the Tenter Bank premises appears to have been kept and the interpretation of the significance of the various images used in the stone decorative panels is correspondingly sketchy.
PMSA recording information