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