Shaw Hill School, Anthony Road
In 1901, the last year of Queen Victoria's long reign, Alum Rock Road Council School was opened on the corner of Anthony Road with accommodation for 1100 pupils.
They were organised in smaller classes of fifty pupils rather than the usual sixty. However, by 1915 the school had become the most over-crowded in Birmingham, and Nansen Road School was quickly built to cater for the extra numbers.
In 1940 during World War 2 the school was hit by a German bomb. The school was overcrowded again by 1953, and extra rooms were provided across the road in St Mary & St John's church hall.
In 1954 the school was renamed Anthony Road County Primary School, and Shaw Hill Primary School c1965. Although altered and modernised most of the original building remains visible. (Currently the school caters for 472 pupils)
The school was first established in 1926, having been named after the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen. Nansen was also the League of Nations Commissioner for Refugees and a Nobel Prize winner. He was a revered figure in the aftermath of the First World War, as perhaps Nelson Mandela is today.
When the school was built in 1926 the ground floor of the main building housed an elementary school for girls and boys up to the age of 11, whilst a girls’ school occupied the upper floor and Year 3 & 4 blocks. In 1957, the Infant building was rebuilt and Nansen was entirely reorganised as a Primary School. The Nursery class is our most recent addition, having first opened in September 1985.
Nansen School, together with three other local schools, served an established, largely settled working class population in the Saltley and Washwood Heath area. However, by the late 1960s and early 1970s the composition of the local community had begun to change quite distinctly. New families were gradually establishing themselves and by the early 1980s most of Nansen’s pupils were recent arrivals to England.
Today, the present composition of Nansen is an accurate reflection of our catchment area; this being largely made up of families of Pakistani origin, many of whom still have strong links with the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir, with a lesser number of children from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds.