St Philip’s Free Industrial School / Gem Street School / Ansell School / Tennal School 




Tennal’s roots are in the 19th century when Birmingham’s first ragged school was founded as St Philip’s Free Industrial School in 1847. As a ragged school, free education was given to poor children who would not be able to afford it.

The school moved to Gem Street in 1850, and finally to its ultimate home of Balden Road in 1902. In 1873, girls were moved out and the school became for boys only.

In 1902, it was renamed Harborne Certified Industrial School. In 1925, it was renamed again, this time as Ansell.

In 1933, Tennal, as it was known then, became an approved school. As such, boys were sent to the school by the juvenile courts to serve a period of time after being convicted of an offence.


In 1972, Tennal became an assessment centre.

Tennal closed in 1984. 

In January 2000, a police investigation (Operation Camassia) was instigated following a number of complaints about the abuse of children at Tennal in the 1970s and 1980s. As a result of the investigation which lasted a number of years, several former staff members were convicted and a number of victims were offered financial compensation.




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