A training college for Northern Gas was to provide instruction and training facilities for the Gas Board’s employees. It was refined to four basic elements: lecture rooms and offices, workshops, a canteen, and an external training compound.
The lecture rooms, offices and workshops were grouped together in a single-storey rectilinear block capable of vertical extension. The canteen and plant rooms, which were to remain fixed, were in a separate block linked by a glazed corridor. The enclosure that this corridor formed was treated as the main entrance, with the elevated entry flanked by blue mosaic-lined pools in much the same way as the entrance to Norgas House.
The single-storey construction used an exposed steel portal frame with brick infill panels, matched by the module of the boundary fence. The open-sided compound for external training was covered with a proprietary space deck.
The use of a hard blue brindle engineering brick solved the problem of matching materials in any future building extensions. This brick was also used internally as a facing material in the communal areas, where its hard, uncompromising finish was perfect for the rough treatment handed out by the students.
All the other external materials, including the steel structure, metal screen, space frame, the louvred screens to plant rooms and the external doors, related in their grey colour to the blue brickwork. The separate plant room had a facade of louvred steel panels, with tanks and flues at roof level set back and enclosed in vertically ribbed panelling.
The building was demolished in 2013.
All images courtesy of Henk Snoek / RIBA Library Photographs Collection