William Hall After Football: 1927-1932

Last updated: July 2008



Hall did keep up his membership of the Feltmakers’ Company although he never again served on the sub-committee that oversaw the annual audit of the Company’s accounts.  On Thursday 6 October 1927 he attended the most important meeting of the Company’s year, at which he seconded the motion by which John Wilden Hart was elected the Company’s master for the next twelve months.  There must have been a certain amount of embarrassment about going to the meeting, because Henry Norris attended it as well; and J J Edwards did not, who might have been able to smooth over any difficult relations between them. 


There were difficult relations, though Norris’ account of these doesn’t say who was being difficult or whether both men were.  I’d say that Norris, at least, was: in his document of 1929, prepared for his libel case against the Football Association, called Hall an “arrant liar” for his forgetting that for two years his chauffeurs’ wages had been paid by Arsenal FC.  Norris said that he hadn’t felt it possible to ask William Hall to act as a witness on his side in the case.  It meant that Norris’ relations with Hall were considerably worse than his relations with Charles Crisp, who’d also left the Arsenal board of directors after a dispute with Norris but who was willing to make a statement for Norris’ case.  It’s possible, I suppose, that Hall was actually going to appear as a witness on the FA’s side of the case; but when it came to court the case didn’t come to witnesses, other than Norris himself, before the Judge came to a verdict, and Norris lost.  Hall did not bring any legal cases over the FA Commission of Inquiry. 


The years 1927-29 were busy ones for William Hall’s metal-working business, so perhaps he had little time to brood: by 1929 his business had moved a few streets from Plough Road and Winstanley Road to 277 York Road SW11, still in Battersea but perhaps now all on the same site.


In the wake of his lost case against the FA, Henry Norris resigned from the Feltmakers’ Company; but a few weeks later, he changed his mind.  The minutes of the meeting of the Feltmakers’ Company held on Monday 8 April 1929 show that both J J Edwards and William Hall were there when the freemen considered whether Norris should continue as a Company member.  The motion to accept Norris’ resignation, rather than accept his withdrawal of it, was put to the meeting by J J Edwards; and agreed to unanimously - so Hall must have voted for it, though he took no part in the debate, the gist of which was whether the Company could afford to have such a man as a member.  If the Company’s freemen took that view, I wonder what Hall and Edwards had been saying to them about Norris: nothing good, it seems.


Norris never attended another Feltmakers’ Company meeting, of course.  Hall, however, continued to be an active member - more active than he was as a freemason.  At the Feltmakers’ Company meeting of Thursday 3 October 1929, Hall was elected fourth warden, the bottom rung on the four-year ladder of progression to the post of master of the Company.  However badly Hall now thought of Norris, he continued to have good relations with J J Edwards, by the 1930s vice-chairman of Arsenal FC as Hall had been in his time.  At the meeting on Wednesday 1 October 1930, it was Edwards who nominated Hall to serve as Renter Warden for the following 12 months, the second rung on the ladder.  Continuing this progression, Hall should have served as master of the Company from October 1932 to October 1933.  However, he didn’t quite make it to the top: he died on 4 June 1932 at Woodcroft, Woodborough Road Putney, the house he’d lived in since the early 1900s and which had previously been lived in by Henry Norris.  I haven’t been able to find any account of his funeral; I would so love to know whether Norris was invited, or attended, or sent a wreath.  No one from the Hall family attended Norris’ own funeral, in August 1934, and no one sent a wreath.  The wedge that Chapman’s arrival at Arsenal drove between the two of them was wide beyond death, it seems.


William Hall left effects worth £12995/1/3.  Kate Elizabeth and Elsa Kate Hall were still living in the house in 1938.  I assume the effects didn’t include William Hall’s business, because it continued after his death.  By 1966 it had become a limited company - William Hall (Battersea) Limited - and had moved again, to 10-12 Weir Road SW12, between Clapham Park and Balham.  The company wasn’t listed in the PO Directory for London in 1972, though of course it may just have moved a third time, to outside the area. 





Copyright Sally Davis July 2008