Thanks to their investment into restoring a formerly derelict building that sits within the heart of the Willenhall community, a leading galvanizing business has been recognised by The Victorian Society.

Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd has been presented with the 2020 Conservation Award from The Victorian Society Birmingham & West Midlands. Campaigning for Victorian and Edwardian architecture, The Victorian Society awarded them with this accolade due to the refurbishment of the former Willenhall school, which was carefully and considerately transformed into Wedge Group Galvanizing’s headquarters back in 2018.

Chris Woolridge, Managing Director at Wedge Group Galvanizing, said: “Almost six years ago, we opened our brand-new headquarters, which was formerly Little London School which closed back in 2007. Our investment saw this historic site – which had been derelict for more than a decade – given a new lease of life and the opportunity to, once again, be a revered landmark in the local community.

“It’s fantastic that this has been recognised by The Victorian Society – as not only was it important for our community in restoring a much-loved location and protecting its precious historical architecture, but our roots are firmly embedded in Willenhall. Records show that our founder, John Wedge, was galvanizing in the town as early as 1869, and our first galvanizing plant; B.E. Wedge Ltd was established on its present site in 1876 which is on the very street our new headquarters is located. It’s a real honour to stay where it all started, and to continue the legacy for years to come.”

The multi-million-pound development saw the building and its iconic clock tower completely renovated and restored to full working order. Due to its rich history, all work was protected and completed under the considerate building scheme, which saw contractors working to minimise the impact, disruption, and disturbance on the local community.

Stephen Hartland, Chairman of The Victorian Society Birmingham and West Midlands, added: “Wedge Group Galvanizing was hand-picked by our committee to receive this award. They truly deserve this recognition due to the exemplary restorative works that they completed on Little London School (which originally opened in 1883), allowing its heritage to live on whilst new history can be made.

“We’re delighted to finally present Wedge Group Galvanizing with their accolade, which was unfortunately temporarily delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions.”

Following a tour of the refurbished headquarters, a bronze plaque and scroll were presented to Jeremy Woolridge, Executive Chairman of Wedge Group Galvanizing, and Chris Woolridge, by Professor Sir David Cannadine, Vice President of The Victorian Society.

Several members of The Victorian Society were also present, along with Mike Bates, Architect at Architettura, Devinder Matharu, Conservation Officer, and Adrian Andrews, Deputy Leader from Walsall Council.

Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd is the largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation in the UK with a history dating back over 150 years. With 14 plants strategically placed across the country, the firm offers a truly national galvanizing service.

For further information please contact Wedge Group Galvanizing on 01902 601944 or visit www.wedge-galv.co.uk.