Children’s Author and Campaigner for Women’s Rights
Born in 1866, Alice Hall, nee Marples, was married with four children, the youngest only two years old when her husband , Henry Foljambe Hall, died in 1905. He had been a businessman and a writer and Alice was left in comfortable circumstances. She might have withdrawn into grief, as Queen Victoria had done over 40 years earlier. Instead, Alice Hall devoted her life and considerable talents to improving the world in which she lived, and in particular, to improving opportunities for women.
She published three books of children’s fairy tales, The One Strand River and Other Fairy Tales in 1903, Godmother’s Stories in 1912 and The Cat, the Dog and the Dormouse in the early 1920s. Her stories are charming but also modern in outlook. In The Pirate Princess for example, a princess decides she wants to become a pirate, and her father, having been persuaded, has a ship built for her, while her mother insists she have the proper training. At the end of the story the pirate princess finds her prince of course – but this prince is someone who ran away to be a sailor. Theirs is an equal partnership.
Actively involved on committees of the National Council of Women, and always interested in women’s issues, Alice Hall’s thoughtful, balanced letters on the subject of women’s suffrage, written under the name CORNELIA , appeared regularly in the Sheffield Telegraph. She also campaigned for the appointment of women police officers. She gave her time and expertise to Sheffield’s The House of Help, founded, like the National Council for Women, in the last decade of the 19th century, to support vulnerable girls and women by providing a temporary refuge and training for employment. The House of Help did not close its doors until 2005.
Alice was an active member of a number of other charitable organisations, including the Soldiers’, Sailors’ Families’ Association, founded in 1885, which became the Soldiers’,Sailors and Airmens’ Families’ Association in 1919. Her children, as they grew up, put on dramatic events each Christmas to raise money for local charities. In 1924 she was appointed a J.P. She died in 1935 and is buried with her husband and son to the right of the main gate on Cemetery Road.