Sheffield Educated - Sheffield Technical School of Art
by Ian Trowell - thanks to David Ball and Simon Quinn from Sheffield Hallam University
Announcing the exhibition of student work, January 1911.
The earliest involvement with Frank Bostock's Sheffield Jungle and the wider educational and industrial establishments of the city was achieved when Bostock invited students of the Sheffield Technical School of Art to make a series of sketches from within the confines of the Jungle. This would have truly afforded the students at the time something of a fantastic and unique experience. We have been unable to trace any surviving records or examples of this strange artistic sitting, and it is perhaps a vain hope that some artistic rendering from this event might someday turn up. In this article we give a synopsis of what might have happened by looking at the day-to-day organisation of the School of Art, and trace its timeline forward to the contemporary Sheffield Hallam University.
The School of Art and Design was founded in 1843 and had various name changes (and is possibly misnamed in some reports) as Sheffield Technical School of Art, Sheffield Technical College of Art and the Sheffield College of Arts and Crafts (after 1926). The school became very important and influential in the Great Exhibition of 1851 at Crystal Palace, where emphasis was placed upon the importance and value of home-grown art and design. This gave the impetus for the school to strive forward through the second half of the 19th century.
Art and design classes at the school - images from Picture Sheffield.
The premises in 1856 are given as the junction of Arundel Street and Surrey Street, an area of the city that became much changed in recent times with the construction of Arundel Gate. The original location of the school is approximately where the Adsetts Building of Sheffield Hallam University currently stands, and this area would prove an important part in the establishment and growth of Sheffield Polytechnic. Records suggest that an adjacent building was purchased in 1907, allowing increased capacity, with student numbers around 110 per year. The intake would include promising young artists and the children of wealthy industrial families.
As we approach the time of the Sheffield Jungle, 1910/11, there are records of Oliver Senior as the painting master (between 1908 and 1917) and of A.C.C. Jahn as a principal figure appointed in 1902. Jahn's name is included in the Sheffield newspapers in 1911 and he also has mention in the World's Fair newspaper of the second visit of the Jungle to Sheffield in 1913. A newspaper article from 31 January 1911 goes further and lists some of the students who worked from within the Jungle. A competition adjudicated by Sheffield artist Mr Denton Hawley lists prizes as follows: Edwin Glasby, Henry Hoyland and Charles W Howarth, with honorable mention to Ronald C Smith, David Jagger, Harold O Batho, John H Marshfield, Leonard Duke.
The judge of the event, Denton Hawley, is not listed elsewhere as having connections to Sheffield - he is later the founder of an artist community operating in Fylingdales in North Yorkshire, and seems to have a parallel part to play in the history of Cornwall artists around the mid to late 1920s. David Jagger, who receives an honourable mention, achieved high status as a portrait painter, working with illustrious people and producing some outstanding work. He was born in 1891 so would have been a spritely 19 year old when he entered the Sheffield Jungle. Sheffield's famous painter Stanley Royle is mentioned as being part of the school from 1904, though a recent retrospective of his work records him working from Firs Hill School at Pitsmoor - this venue listed as a junior branch of the school, giving a possible insight into a wider field of operation for the school. Royle is not mentioned in the list of prize winners at the Sheffield Jungle but he would have been 3 years senior to David Jagger.
The School of Art, 19th Century.
The School of Art and Design grew in stature after the First World War, and ambitious plans were put forward in 1938 for a new and expanded premises on Arundel Street. The commencement of the Second World War not only put paid to these plans, but also put an end to the existing school, as air raid damage in December 1940 ruined much of the area. Most of the records and documentation of student history and work was lost in the air raids. The school continued after the war at various annexes before a move to Psalter Lane in 1951. This site was rebuilt extensively and launched on 21 May 1970 as a key element of the recently formed Sheffield Polytechnic.
Sheffield Polytechnic was one of the first three such institutions in the UK, the others being at Hatfield and Sunderland. It was formed through the merger of the School of Art and Design and the College of Technology on 1 January 1969. This latter institution had been growing in the city in various forms and was again centred around the key area of Arundel Street where the important College of Domestic Science is listed in 1947. The College of Technology is listed initially as the College of Commerce and Technology, and is an umbrella of various subject and vocational centred buildings - there are up to 10 locations for the college listed in 1951. As the 50s came to a close a significant investment began on Pond Street to replace the war-damaged areas. This gave rise to a new building that united the various strands of the college. This Pond Street site became the hub of the new college, subsequently the Polytechnic, and would eventually provide the seeds for Sheffield Hallam University as it expanded up the hillside to encompass the earlier educational haunts around Arundel Street.