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Stanley Hall

Did you notice that the address for the Primary Academy is Stanley Hall Road?

It is unusual for a street to be named after a person and even more unusual to include the person’s first and second names. Stanley Hall must have done something special to have a road named after him. So, who was Stanley Hall – and what did he do to be celebrated in this way? Please read on and find out more about Stanley Hall.


Stanley James Alfred Hall (‘Stan’) was born in Reading on April 26, 1930, and died in in Wantage on February 16, 2020, aged 89 years. What was the journey that brought Stan from Reading to Grove?

Stan was just 9 years old when World War II broke out and 15 when it ended in 1945. Stan was a boy scout and both parents were scout leaders, which may have inspired his commitment to youth activities when he grew up. Stan went to Wilson Road School, followed by Reading Technical College and South-East London Technical College. His first job was as a solicitor's clerk in Reading, before he was conscripted for National Service in the Royal Air Force in 1948 serving as a Corporal.

Shortly after finishing his service, he proposed to Dorothy 'Sheila' Rabson, and they were married at Tilehurst Methodist Church, Reading, on June 13, 1953. At the time, Stan worked for Huntley & Palmers, Britain’s most famous biscuit company. He also rejoined the Scouts, this time as Akela and later on a Lifeboys leader too (being the junior branch of the Boy’s Brigade).

His first local government job was as in the public health inspectors’ team at Reading Corporation in 1955. The couple had their first child, Lynda, on May 27, 1958. When she was just three years old, the family moved from Reading to Grove in 1961 when Stanley took up a new post as Public Health Inspector at Wantage Rural District Council. He later became Director of Housing and Environmental Health for Vale of White Horse District Council until retiring in 1991. The couple's second daughter, Nicola, was born in Wantage Hospital on June 5, 1962.

While Director of Housing, Stan worked with Vale councillors, social services, the area health authority (including Wantage GP John Hawkey) and volunteers from the Oxfordshire branch of the Alzheimer’s Disease Society to found Vale House care home in Botley. It opened on April 26, 1990, Stanley’s 60th birthday. He was chairman of the management committee for several years after he retired from the Council, and he described his involvement in the project as one of his greatest achievements. Vale House, which has now moved to Littlemore as it needed more space, marked its 30th anniversary on what would have been his 90th birthday.

So, it was Stan’s work and career that brought him and his family to live in Grove in 1961 when the area looked very different than it does today. Stan soon became involved in the local community and particularly youth activities at local schools, including Fitzwaryn (after retirement) and Icknield, which became King Alfreds East site before being redeveloped. Stan had helped design the new youth wing at Icknield school in 1963, that later evolved into Sweatbox.

Stan was a well-liked and respected assistant warden at Wantage Youth Club from 1963 to 1973 and is still fondly remembered by members. Activities included cricket, tennis, football, netball, archery, swimming, table tennis, badminton, weight training, judo, volleyball, and trampolining. On a Tuesday there could be hundreds of youngsters in the hall at Icknield School for the weekly disco.

While on a youth leadership training course in 1965, he met an inspirational German youth leader called Rudi Kruger from the spa town Bad Gandersheim (about nine miles from Seesen in Lower Saxony). Mr Kruger announced to Stan that next year he would bring 30 boys and girls to Wantage for two weeks. In July 1966 Stan with the support of Roy Wood, found host families for all the young people who visited from Germany.

The following summer Stan and his wife Sheila and others took a group of teenagers from Wantage and Grove to Seesen in Germany. Some of those who helped were Roy Wood, Joan and Bernard Baxter and Tom and Joan Nobes. The trip included a visit to West Berlin, as it was then, sponsored by the German government. Thus was born the Wantage/Seesen Youth Exchange scheme which eventually evolved into the official Wantage and Seesen town twinning in 1978. Stan last visited Seesen with a civic party in 1992.

Stan had many other interests. He loved traditional jazz and was a regular in the audience at The Lamb in Hanney, Lains Barn, Zelda’s jazz room at the Comrades Club, and the Lamb Inn, Wantage, for monthly gigs by Wantage jazz band leader Dave Moorwood.

He also managed to find time for badminton and table tennis, gardening, the Probus and Hanney Wine Circle, and volunteering at the Vale and Downland Museum.

Stan was a member of Grove Methodist Church where, in the early 1960s, he helped run the Inters Guild group in Wantage and a Sunday School group for teenagers called ‘Wayfarers’ during the 1970s in Grove. He also designed the font and cross in the church.

In 1991 Stan had the honour of being invited to Buckingham Palace to represent the District Council.

Stan and his wife Sheila are survived by his daughters Lynda Culley and Nicola Frost, grandchildren Tessa Jefferies, Adam Jefferies, Grace Culley and Hayley Foulks, and great-grandchildren Una, Joey, Luna, Jack and Charlie.

In summary, Stan Hall was a pillar of the Grove and Wantage community, a devoted family man, a Christian, and someone who made a positive difference to the lives of many others.

And that is why this road is named in his memory.

St Johns Primary Academy is proud to be associated with Stan who represented the school values of respect, courage and kindness, which draw on the inspiration of Jesus Christ and St John, throughout his life.


Stanley Hall Road
OX12 0GR


01235 933303