THE front page story of the Worcester Evening News and Times on January 18, 1956 was all about a public enquiry starting in the Guildhall into a proposal by Worcester City Council to build “a regional technical college at Birdport, Worcester”.

A project which could be “fully justified on both planning and educational grounds” according to Mr EJ Jones, deputy town clerk.

Mention Birdport today and possibly 70 per cent of the locals wouldn’t know where it was/is. You would likely need to be aged over 60 to have a decent guess. But mention Worcester Technical College and the response would come back – Deansway.

These days the good old Worcester Tech has been rebranded as the Heart of Worcestershire College, but it was another world back in 1956. For a start, the city council’s grand plan to build this seat of further education on some rather messy land fronting Deansway, Copenhagen Street and Birdport met with stiff opposition.

When Mr S Knight, an inspector of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, sat down to open the enquiry he was informed of a raft of objections to the proposal.

These included, rather surprisingly you may think, Worcester Chamber of Commerce and all its affiliated bodies, Worcester Cathedral and glove makers Dent, Allcroft and Co.

Even the AA and the RAC joined in, although what it was to do with them is difficult to work out from a distance. Probably something to do with parking. There was also an objection from a chap who lived in Britannia Square at the other end of town. However, Worcester Industrialists Association stood foursquare behind the idea.

READ MORE: Bring back welly wanging

The director of education for Worcester, Mr FE Chandler, said it has been apparent from at least 1930 that the existing provisions for further education in the city, then based in the Victoria Institute in Foregate Street “could not continue to accommodate the increased demands resulting from industrial expansion and the growing awareness of young people of the necessity to reach a recognised standard in the trade or profession”.

In other words, in the year that Elvis Presley arrived on the scene it was starting to be a young world. Teenagers were arriving and they needed to be heard.

As we all know now, the college got the go-ahead, although there were plenty of eyebrows raised when the first stage was built, rather dog-muck coloured and in a square shoe-box style that was to become synonymous with 1960s architecture. Assurances were given the brickwork would weather in time, but the building is still not as gem, despite the quality of what goes on inside it.

At this time of year, the traditional enrolment queues start forming for the hundreds if not thousands who want to sign on for courses ranging from beginners French to bricklaying, cabin crew qualifications to playing the ukulele and they can all thank a Government inspector called Mr S Knight back in 1956.