Groves School, Wrexham.
Founded in 1896 as part of the Grove Park School for Boys, the school was accommodated in the old Grove Park School buildings. By 1925 the school had some 300 pupils who were accommodated in the north end of the school, close to Grove Park Road.
In 1939 the school moved into new, purpose-built accommodation on the opposite side of Chester Road and by the end of the Second World War had 580 girls on the roll. By the late 1960’s it was obvious that comprehensive education was coming to Denbighshire and, despite strong campaigns to maintain single-sex schools in Wrexham, Grove Park County School for Girls was amalgamated with Grove Park County School for Boys in 1972 and two new mixed comprehensive schools emerged.
The old ‘ Girls School ‘ was originally designated Park Avenue Comprehensive but this was eventually changed to Bromfield High School. In 1983, Bromfield High School merged with Grove Park School to become The Groves High School, both accommodated on the former Grove Park County School for Girls site.
With Wrexham Council’s plans to demolish the school in 2016, Wrexham History had exclusive access to enter the school on a guided tour to parts of the building that were considered safe. This visit took place on the 20th January 2016 at 10am under the guidance of council officials. We were only allowed in approx 25% of the building as some of the areas and old classrooms were considered to be a risk to us and our safety was paramount. Following the publication of our pictures and the media interest, a storm brewed as to the condition of the school, whilst being vandalised and damaged through water ingress the structure in our opinion was sound, although a lot of work and money would be required to put the building back in use.
The publication of our pictures prompted the council to supply us with pictures of the worst affected areas to show everyone how bad these areas were. Whilst we have our own opinion on the future of the school building we are extremely grateful to the council for allowing our visit.
With the local opinion divided and the campaign by SOH.Wales to save the Groves it finally resulted in the school being listed by CADW. But, it’s still unclear as to it’s future as the council are considering a legal challenge to the listing, so the uncertain future of this wonderful building continues. Wrexham History hopes it remains and it’s future is secured, we have lost so many other buildings in Wrexham we should at least look at saving as many as possible of what is left.
Prior to our visit we had many pictures supplied to us, so here is our collection of pictures, if we have incorrectly credited a picture please let us know and we will correct it.
Groves 28-10-2015 (WCBC)
The underpass Groves School 26-01-2016 (Graham Lloyd)
Sources: As per images.