OUR features on Bolton Technical College have created a great deal of interest not only from former students but also from former lecturers.
Jeff Moorhouse came to Bolton as a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering in August 1965.
He was responsible for professional building courses which included National and Higher National Diplomas and Certificates in Building and in September 1969 he was appointed head of the building department at Bolton Technical College.
At that time, says Jeff, the department catered for six trades and these were carpentry and joinery, machine woodworking, plumbing, heating and ventilating and brickwork.
“But Mr D A G Peace (Tony) wanted to develop a wider range of courses to cater for the changing needs of the building industry and gave me the task of meeting these needs.
“The first step was the transfer from Bolton Institute of Technology to the Technical College, the National Diploma and Certificate courses together with the City and Guild Full Technological certificate to form a professional building section in the department.
“The next step was in conjunction with British Gas to create a Gas Engineering Service course to offer training for first, second and third year students, followed by a fourth year Advanced Gas utilisation. These courses were located in what had been the textile department blowing room.
“In parallel with this development Mr Jack Adam, Bolton waterworks engineer, wanted to provide training for waterworks operatives and made available the disused pump house at Sweetloves Reservoir for practical training so enabling the department to offer the City and Guilds intermediate and final examination courses in waterworks practice, not only to Bolton students but also to those of other waterworks’ companies in the north west.”
The next move, explains Jeff, was made by the council deciding to transfer the painting, decorating and plastering courses from the College of Art to the building department so ensuring all major trades were covered, the exception being the trades of slating and tiling but this was corrected when Mr Neville Hubbard, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) regional manager approached the college with a view to making Bolton a centre for roofing courses.
“The question of getting a suitably qualified and experienced roofer was solved when Harry Gregson, director of a local firm, agreed to take all the practical classes and with his many contacts in the trade was able to make a success of this training, proof of which is the number of local roofing contractors who were apprentices on these courses who are self-employed roofing contractors,” says Jeff.
He explains that over a period of six years the department went from six to 11 trades. “This expansion was due to the enthusiasm of staff both original and new being determined to expand the range of training for Bolton students,” he says.
A particular area which was developed was the involvement of students in outside projects where they could practice skills they were learning at college.
One of these was the construction and erection of a new oak staircase at Smithills Hall. This was as a result of a request by Mr J Brooks who was chief architect at Bolton Town Hall.
“His staff produced all the working drawings and the local authority provided the timber. The timber was machined by students in the machine woodworking section under the supervision of Mr Basil Burton and Mr Alan Downing.
“It was then passed on to the carpentry and joinery section under the supervision of Mr Les Pryce and his colleagues for actual construction.
“On completion the staircase was taken to Smithills Hall for fixing by another group of advanced craft carpentry and joinery students again supervised by staff. This staircase has been used and admired by hundreds of visitors to the hall,” says Jeff.
Because purpose-made joinery was important and church furniture was part of the syllabus the department was involved in a number of projects including the construction of a new vicar’s stall and curate’s bench at St Augustine’s Church, Tonge Moor.
Also built was a new communion table and pulpit at St Luke’s Church and a new altar screen and bishop’s chair for St John the Evangelist Church in Breightmet.