Contents List College History Emergency Training Colleges
There was a great demand for teachers after World War Two, so the Government set up a number of emergency training schemes. In 1946 the Ministry of Works began the task of converting the vacant USAAF 231st Station Hospital site into two training colleges, but work was slow due to the severe weather conditions in the winter of 1946/7. However, on 23 April 1947 the Wymondham Emergency Training College for Teachers (Men) opened and received the first batch of 252 male students, mostly ex-servicemen. The Principal was Mr A.J. Price. Courses lasted for thirteen months and the third entry left in December 1950. The men were housed, and the lectures took place, in a cluster of nissen huts, to the east of the site, that were referred to as 'Butler Court.' Wilkinson Court (between the present Lincoln and Kett Halls) was used as overspill accommodation.
On 16th May 1947 the Wymondham Emergency Training College for Teachers (Women) opened in 'Tomlinson Court' with 237 students. The Principal was Miss P.H. Whitaker. Most of ladies' dormitories were in the Tomlinson (west) area, but some lived in what later became the boys' and girls' gym and changing room huts (called 'Much Binding in the Marsh' after a popular radio show). The women's college closed after two courses and the men took over the buildings, allowing their third and final course to comprise 400 students.
On 17 June 1947 the two colleges were officially opened by Mr D.R. Hardman, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education. They were administered jointly by the Ministry of Education and Norfolk Education Committee.
The colleges closed in December 1950 having processed a total of around 1500 future Headmasters, Heads of Department and Education Advisers.
The friendships formed over sixty years ago were sustained through the 20th Century; informally by the ladies and more formally by the men through the 'Old Wymondians' Association. The latter held reunions at the College each year until dwindling numbers made the event unsustainable.
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The Women's College badge was designed by Mary Muir (nee Orchard) and comprises two open books on a green field above a gold dragon (the gold of Knowledge). The dragon was the symbol of the ancient inn at Wymondham thought to have been a pilgrims' rest for those visiting the Abbey. The Men's College badge was designed by Allen Smith and includes:
- a wooden spoon and butter patter from the Wymondham Arms
- the Book of Knowledge
- the Torch of Education
- the Sword (fight against ignorance)
Presentation Ceremony programme for the second of the three men's training courses, dated 9th August 1949. Programme signed by Dr Lincoln Ralphs (click to browse PDF file).
A happy group photographed in 1950.
Wymondham College Remembered