Without Betty Hassall, The Hammond would not be what it is today. Mrs Hassall devoted the majority of her life to The Hammond. Her vision and tenacity took the school forward with the purchase of 12, 16 and 18 Liverpool Rd, Chester and later Hoole Bank House; through her endeavours The Hammond became, and continues to be, a centre of excellence.
Elizabeth Dorothea Priaulx Taudevin was born in Cheltenham on the 15th of March 1909 where her mother, May, was a close friend of Irene Hammond. When the family moved to the Wirral, May sent Betty to have dance lessons with her friend, who was by then teaching in Chester. Betty attended classes in the early 1920s.
During her teens, Betty was sent to the Maison de la Harpe, a finishing school in Switzerland. Aged 17, she returned to England and Miss Hammond to assist with children’s classes.
After her marriage in 1931 to Joseph Ernest Hassall, Betty left dance and moved to their new home at Hargrave House, Willaston.Two children were born; Elizabeth Ann, whose godmother was Irene Hammond, in 1933 and Patricia in 1936. Both daughters died tragically young.
In 1945 Betty re-joined the staff of The Hammond. One year later, upon Miss Hammond’s death, she and Miss Madeleine Chambres took over the school. Before her death Miss Hammond had been searching for a permanent home for the school, and had entered into an arrangement with Moreton Hall School. Under Mrs Hassall’s direction this collaboration lasted until 1950. In the early 1950s, she arranged to first rent and later buy 12 Liverpool Rd, Hampton Lodge.
The school at Liverpool Rd began with three boarders and quickly grew. Extensions were added as more students arrived. In 1962 Mrs Hassall proposed an educational department and this began at 16 Liverpool Rd, expanding to No. 18 in 1968.
In 1969 Mrs Hassall bought Hoole Bank House, initially to house the education department and eventually the whole school. The Hammond, with its multi-tiered education system and state of the art facilities, has now grown to fulfil Betty Hassall’s vision.
Betty Hassall died in 1980 – only six months after her new house, in the grounds of Hoole bank, was built.