James Hall

James Hall, in a portrait by his son, Walter J. Hall in 1943
Source http://freespace.virgin.net/nantwich.museum/James_Hall.htm

If you want to know if anyone is serious about the history of Nantwich, ask them what they know about James Hall!  If they say it’s a street in Nantwich:

James Hall Street sign

they would of course be correct. But if they’re even remotely interested in the history of Nantwich, they will tell you that he was a Victorian who wrote a wonderful history of Nantwich, which you can still buy:

It’s a well research document, which is fascinating to read.

James Hall's book

James Hall was a teacher, not at the Grammar School – which is wonderfully illustrated in his book:

Grammar school porch

but (initially) at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel of Nantwich in Cheshire, where he became a headmaster of the elementary day school when he was just 20 years old! He then became the first headmaster (in 1874) of the new Board School at Willaston, near Nantwich.

In 1885, soon after the publication of Hall’s History, Willaston Board School received an “unsatisfactory” rating in its government inspection. There’s a debate amongst historians as to whether Hall spent too much of his time writing his book instead of school work.  His son Walter (who wrote an autobiography of his father) disputes this!

In 1886 James Hall opened his own school at Lindum House, on Wellington road in Nantwich:

Lindum HouseIt was not a great success, and the school closed in 1907.

It’s worth looking in Nantwich Library, to read more about Hall. Some say he was unduly influenced by his sponsors (who owned the shoe and clothing factories in the town) and was unsympathetic about protests from chartists and others. However, despite that, I consider we’re extremely lucky to have such a fascinating insight into the history of Nantwich.

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hall_%28historian%29

Bill Pearson \ Nantwich History

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