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Former St George’s Secondary School, Wallasey, Merseyside

Former St George’s Secondary School, Wallasey, Merseyside
Photograph taken 28 May 2007 © Dr Geoffrey Court. Source Historic England Archive ref: 454624

This building on Leasowe Road is the first building in the world to be heated entirely by solar energy. At 53.4°N, it is also the most northerly. The "Solar Campus" was formerly St George’s Secondary School. It was built in 1961 to the designs of Emslie Morgan, the Assistant Borough Architect. He spent a lifetime looking into ways of harnessing the sun’s rays. His research resulted in a matchbox like building. On one side, a drab, windowless façade and on the other 10,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of glass, a giant solar wall. Unfortunately the design, which did work well, had to be modified. The result is that on sunny days the south, glazed side of the building reaches unbearable temperatures in excess of 40°C while for most of the time the unglazed north side never reaches a comfortable temperature nor receives much natural light. In the early nineties, the 300-pupil secondary school was shut down due to falling rolls in the area. It since been in temporary use as a special needs school.

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