School that was a wish of a businessman

More views of the school | Colour views from inside the college












Willaston School - as the Bible college was once known. A picture of the West Front














"I LOVE the Dabber's Nantwich website; it's full of all sorts of interesting facts and photos," said Frances Passmore of Nantwich. "Do you have any information about the history of the building that now houses the Bible College? Not being a Dabber myself, and only having come to Nantwich in 1989, I can't remember a time before it housed the college."


IN FACT, the college has been known by four names - counting the two that the college has had! The building began life as Willaston School, became St Joseph's School, then Elim Bible College, and then Regents College.[2016: It is currently Nantwich Elim Church.]

   I had trouble finding any information at first - apart from what I already knew - until I consulted the person who knows most things about Nantwich, Andrew Lamberton. He also supplied the pictures on this page - including the view from the Top Corridor (below) and The Quad (right).

   Andrew told me: "Willaston School was formed on the wishes expressed in his will by Philip Barker, a


successful businessman, joint owner of the Tannery in Millstone Lane, and a member of the Nantwich Independent Church. He lived at The Grove in London Road. He was a strong Christian and belonged to the Unitarian Chapel in Hospital Street.

   "The boys' public school was opened in 1900 and proved to be successful, with several old boys achieving prominence in their careers.

  "Two members of the school were knighted for their work with the Colonial Office and another became a member of the Royal Society. Many old boys (and staff members, too) fought in the two World Wars, gaining three Military Crosses and one Distinguished Flying Medal, as well as the posthumous Victoria Cross awarded to Captain David Hirsch whose parents endowed the swimming pool in his memory.

   "There is a Hirsch Close and a Lewis Close on the site, the latter named after the first headmaster Guy Lewis.

   "The school closed in 1937, due to financial difficulties, and the estate was purchased by St. Joseph's Industrial School, Manchester. They were a Roman Catholic foundation and, with the aid of a grant, ran a rehabilitation school for underprivileged boys from South Lancashire and North Cheshire.

   "In 1987, the Elim Pentecostal Church bought the buildings and land and relocated from Capel, in Surrey, to Nantwich. The Elim Bible College has continued to flourish and combines a theological college with an English language centre, a conference centre and a day nursery.

   "In 1996, the campus was renamed Regent's Park. With continued expansion, the college has


  now outgrown the existing site and will shortly be moving to new premises in Worcestershire."


l I was able to assure Frances that as she had lived in Nantwich for more than seven years she could become an "honorary Dabber" (unofficial title) in that she qualified to receive the annual Beam Heath dividend. This new status made her Christmas, she told me.



The Long Dormitory


The Swimming Bath

The Museum   The Memorial Hall (1930)

Lantern slides show Willaston School | Old Nantwich pictures index | What's On - Churches | Beam Heath


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