Victorian art school with consent for redevelopment as 64 apartments up for auction

A classic Black Country building erected to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee and which now has planning consent to develop into residential apartments is appearing in Bond Wolfe’s next auction.

The former Bilston School of Art at 38-40 Mount Pleasant in Bilston was built in 1897 to designs by town engineer Captain Wilson, who reputedly based them on an institution in Glasgow.

The building falls within the Bilston Town Centre Conservation Area and will have an undisclosed guide price* in the livestreamed auction on Thursday 26 October.

James Mattin, managing director and auctioneer at Bond Wolfe, said: “The property extends to approximately 10,122 sq ft over two floors and sits on a site of around one acre.

“The site is now considered suitable for a combined conversion and new-build development of residential dwellings, and planning consent has been granted for a total 64 apartments.

“The current plans could see the building converted into 20 apartments, with the demolition of existing outbuildings and the construction of 44 new build apartments on the rest of the site.

“Other schemes may be deemed suitable, subject to obtaining the necessary consents.”

Mr Mattin added that the freehold development opportunity was being sold on behalf of an LPA receiver after the current owner went into liquidation.

Research by conservation experts has recorded how the Bilston School of Art building served the town and wider Wolverhampton area as a place of education and improvement for nearly a century.

In 1948 it was divided into two parts, the School of Art and the Technical School, renamed the Bilston College of Further Education in 1949, and by the 1970s it became an annex to the newly built College of Further Education in nearby Westfield Road.

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The conservationists’ records of the building say: “It is an extremely satisfying composition of classical elements and decorative features to create a frontage with qualities more consistent with a fine country house.

“Local red brick is used with terracotta detailing, including figurative roundels designed by Percival Ball of the Lambeth School of Art.”

However, their report concludes: “It has now been empty for some years and has been slowly decaying ever since.”

The former Bilston School of Art occupies a prominent location on Mount Pleasant in Bilston, with easy access of the busy A41 Oxford Street Island, which links to the main A463 Black Country Route and leads directly to Junction 10 of the M6 motorway.

There are multiple national and local retailers nearby including the Post Office, Iceland, Morrisons supermarket, several commercial and residential estate agents and other businesses, plus plenty of residential areas.

Bilston, which has good local bus and tram links, lies within the Borough of Wolverhampton, bordering both Sandwell and Walsall.

It is around four miles from Wolverhampton town centre and 10 miles north-west of Birmingham.

The Bilston property is just one of 170  lots that are appearing in Bond Wolfe’s next auction, which will start at 9am on Thursday 26 October. 

If you have a property you are considering selling, visit email or call 0121 312 1212 or 01902 928 510 for advice or to arrange a free no obligation valuation.