Frank Ball

Frank Ball
Deputy Head
1936 - 1970

Mr. Frank Ball, arrived on The Hill to supervise the setting up of the new teaching workshops, in the Summer of 1936 and stayed on for 34 years retiring in the Summer of 1970.

William R. Gillies Norwich House 1932 – 1940
The Bishop of the Arctic visited the school and was presented with a carved chair, to commemorate the occasion that had been carved by Frank and some of the senior boys.

William Henry Parker former pupil 1933 – 1943
Frank Ball was a brilliant craftsman, setting very high standards for both woodwork and metalwork classes.
It was through Franks recommendation that I and my brother Arthur were offered the carpentry training course in the Carpenter Shop under the tutorship of Mr Michie in 1939 & 1940. All us working boys were housed in Stratford House. I was there until I left the Hill to join the Royal Navy
in 1943.

This illustration is the toolbox I (Bill Parker) made at Kingham Hill School we had to make these to keep our tools in, over the years this has grown.




Frank Ball kept in touch with me through the war years, as I believe he did with other Old Boys.

World War II, Frank took a short interlude from teaching to join the RAF in 1941, returning to The Hill at the end of the war.


Frank Ball was an excellent wood carver, he carved all the wooden KHS emblems also quite a few other works of art that were sent to the other properties of the Founders: Oak Hill College, Latimer House, and Havelock Farm in Canada. Frank Ball was acting Warden between the departure of Mr Woollan in July 1953 and the arrival of Teddie Cooper in January 1954.



In 1953 Frank married Miss Louise Holmes, who was the housekeeper of Severn House when it was used to accommodate all the bachelor members of staff. Information from a Durham boy at school in the early 1960’s that it was rumoured but has not been substantiated yet. That when they got married they did it one lunch time and Frank came back and taught lessons in the afternoon.When they married they moved into the gate keepers cottage of Daylesford House about three miles from school. ( The schools annual cross country course named the Mass, in latter years ) we had to pass Franks house actual gate where he would be sitting checking and encouraging us on.



Frank never had a car he would walk or ride a bike to school.

All teaching staff did an early morning duty supervising the breakfast in the main dining hall so Frank’s journey to school was not just a stroll from Severn House on a morning, winter our summer but a three mile journey. However this was cut short literally by a gap in the fence roadside and a path through the plantation that emerged at the north west corner of Severn House which acquired the name Balls Gap, some years latter a large stone with a Brass plaque was placed to commemorate Frank when he died.


Iain Helstrip Durham House 1961 - 1965


Frank Ball taught me Engineering Drawing, woodwork, metal work and I was in the printing club that he supervised. He had the patience of a saint, as I could not spell to save my life at school.I would spend the entire printers club session setting letter press letters type (in reverse so it printed the correct way around) word by word with spacers fitted by hand to fit in to the case that the blocks of type were held in for one of the Adarna printing machines - only to find at the end that I had set badly spelt rubbish. Frank would then sit with me and help me get it right without complaint or chastisement.

My other enduring memory is at breakfast. When he took the breakfast duty - he would never eat his breakfast as Louise was an excellent cook. So he used to come around to the top of the Durham house tables (now sixth form Bar area) and share his toast, butter and other goodies that had been prepared for the masters breakfast with us Durham boys. "Waste not want Want not" !

From Mike Kent, Bradford House 1951 - 1959

I know Frank spent a lot his time in the later years whilst nearing his retirement working out the Schools complete Time Table, and programming events his meticulous nature lending itself to this work .

What did Frank Ball mean to me ? apart from 'plane the face side, plane the face edge, gauge and plane to width. He stimulated my love of woodwork, technical drawing and engineering which has lasted me all my life. His "Second best is not good enough"! mantra is something I've always upheld in business. His technical knowledge was bottomless, his teaching brilliant, his tolerance of us idiots unbelievable. Between headmasters and troubled times he held the school together. If you wanted an example of the perfect dedicated teacher, look no further, Frank was KHS."

David Shepherd MA Bradford Housemaster & then Warden 1975 – 1990.

Recalls Frank no longer taught at the school when he arrived on The Hill in 1975 as House master of Bradford but despite being retired he was still very much around, visiting the school for official events. He continued to print all the schools printed stationary such as invitations, the programmes for school plays, headed notepaper, school term calenders etc. he still enjoyed using the old printing set – hand set letters in a series of cases in the woodwork shop, with which he used to do all the schools invitations, programmes using the Adarna printing machines. One of Franks other dominant characteristic was his insistence that boys followed the instructions given to the letter.


My last illustration the courtesy of William Henry Parker was taken when Bill returned to England from Australia when both Frank and Louise had returd and lived in Stowe-on-the-Wold in the 1970's.

Frank Passed away 13th August 1990.

The historian May 2010.

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  • David Calver - Monday, 05 October 2015

    I am Frank's nephew. He and Louie did indeed get married one lunch time and then return to school to teach. He let his sister (my mother) know by phone later in the day. I still have some of the furniture and metal work he made.

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