Albert Avondale Hall was born in Sunderland to George (a mechanical engineer) and
Prudence Hall. It is not known whether he was given the name in honour of the Albert
Hall in London, which had opened some 25 years ealier.
His secondary education was at Bede College, in Sunderland, where his final
year included a spell at Diamond Hall Elementary School as a student teacher.
Then, in 1910 he went on to Armstrong College, Newcastle, where he studied
Geology and Physics.
Armed with his BSc and his Board of Education certificate, he joined the staff at
Thomas Street Elementary School, Sunderland. However, he was there only 18
months when, in March 1915, he was appointed to the South Shields High School for
In 1917 he left to join the Inns of Court Office Training Corps after which
he served with the 6in Howitzer Brigade and became education officer for the 3rd Corps
Heavy Artillery. He was also the conductor of the military orchestra in Brussels for
the Armistice celebrations.
He returned to his teaching post in South Shields, and on 1st January, 1920, after
the death of the Headmaster, George Kirwan, he replaced Bill Lucas as Second Master.
He moved with the school to Harton in September, 1936, but lost his position as Second
Master to Mr Newby, who had been Head of the Westoe school.
He was one of the masters who went to Appleby during the evacuation, and had an active
life outside the school. He was musical director of the South Shields Operatic Society
from 1925 to 1929, and organist/choirmaster at several churches (St Thomas's and St
Hilda's in South Shields, and St Lawrence's in Appleby). But he will probably be most
fondly remembered as the composer of the School Song (to words by Frank Wade).
On 25th March, 1946, he left to take up the Headship at Westoe Boys' County Secondary
School, where in 1953, he wrote their "Coronation Hymn". He retired
in April, 1957.
AA Hall was known affectionately as "Tanker" Hall by most, although the
ATOM on more than one occasion refers to him as "Mickey Hall". One Old Boy
recalls that he was "a well-built and jovial man, always with a big smile".
Tanker Hall died in 1961 living, as he had done for over thirty years, at 36 Hepscott
Terrace. Alf Headley wrote in his obituary:
his smiling friendliness and his completely natural gentlemanliness marked him
as one of the real characters in a classroom which contained several gigantic personalities
... In recent years, sickness laid a heavy hand on him, but it is a great pleasure
to pay tribute to a warmhearted colleague of his sunshine days. The mention of "Mickey"
Hall will always let loose a flood of happy memories