Woodstock Industrial Institute

The Woodstock Industrial Institute was established in 1908 with the purchase of the former King Street School building. The purpose of this school was to establish an institution to help supplement the waning skilled labour force in the area. Rev. John G. Taylor was elected as the collector for the school in 1908.

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Though the Woodstock Industrial Institute was established and administered by the Black community they proposed that their school not exclude the Indigenous or white community. Some of the courses offered at the institute included: blacksmithing, music, dressmaking, nickel-plating and radio technology.
Harold Jackson, the first licensed Black radiotelegraphy operator in Canada, who would help Jack Beardall later start CFCO Radio in the city, ran the “Wireless Telegraphy” department at the school. He was known to be able to send signals further than most people at this time and often helped others strengthen their signals.
By 1927 the Institute would close its doors as a school. It was that same year that the building would become known as the J.G. Taylor Community Centre, named for one of its original members. The community centre ran for six decades and was home to many community groups and a meeting ground for the youth in the community. By 1984 the building was demolished but a park with the same name remains in its place and is still the meeting ground for the youth in the community.
Today the J.G. Taylor Community Centre still remains inside the WISH Centre here in Chatham and continues serving the community.