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Woodall, John Emmett (Tientsin Grammar School)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 MS 380697
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Woodall, John Emmett (Tientsin Grammar School)
Date(s): 1919-1990
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator(s): Woodall | John Emmett | 1904-1987 | teacher


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Emmett Woodall was born on 1 January 1904. He attended Hyde County School between 1915 and 1922. From 1922 to 1927 he attended Manchester University, graduating in 1926 with a BA in French, geography and history. In 1927 he took a Teacher's Diploma course. In the same year he was appointed to the staff of Tientsin Grammar School (TGS), where he became Assistant Master in charge of geography and sports. From 1934 until 1937 he was Assistant Headmaster, and in 1937 he took the post of Headmaster of TGS. When the Japanese occupied the School in December 1941, Woodall continued classes in various locations around Tientsin, in what he termed the 'Catacombs School'. In 1943, he and his family were interned at Lung Hwa Internment Camp. In September 1945, they were repatriated and returned to England. In 1946, Woodall went to Sudan as a Lecturer at the Institute of Education at Duiem, and he later became Head Master of Atar School. Following the country's independence and a mutiny in the South, he escaped with his family into Uganda in 1955. He worked at a teacher training college at Katshina, Northern Nigeria, 1956-1960. Following Nigerian independence, Woodall went to Uganda as Education Secretary to the Church of Buganda. He returned to Guernsey in 1962, following illness (cancer). In 1977, he attended the first re-union of former TGS pupils, in Vancouver. In the following years he attended many such gatherings in London, Australia and America. In 1981 he re-visited Tientsin with a group of former pupils. He died on 5 January 1987. He was married to Daphne Payne, a former student at the TGS. They had two sons and a daughter.

The Tientsin School was founded by the Tientsin School Association in 1905. Its object was 'to promote the education, through the medium of the English language, of those children of Tientsin and the country dependent on Tientsin for whom English is the native language'. In spring 1918, the Tientsin School Association transferred the school to the British Municipal Council, at which point it became known as the Tientsin Grammar School (TGS). In 1930, control of the school was placed in the hands of the Trustees for Foreign Education, and responsibility for administration fell to a Committee of Management, elected annually by the ratepayers.

The school offered an education to fit pupils for the large public schools in England, and for business careers in the Far East. TGS became the North China Centre for the Cambridge Local Examinations. The first Cambridge Local Examinations were held in 1924. The first Head Master of TGS was H J Turner. In 1926, Alec Hay took up the post, with S Yeates as Assistant Head Master. Yeates became Head Master in 1927, and in 1937 John Emmett Woodall took up the post.

On 8 December 1941, the Japanese occupied the British Concession of Tientsin. On the same day, Japanese soldiers entered the school building and the pupils were dismissed. TGS ceased to be a school for English speaking Tientsiners, and within a few weeks had been converted to a Japanese girls' school. Classes continued for some time under Woodall, in what he termed the 'Catacombs School', in a church hall, dining rooms and garages. However, within three months, the Japanese had ordered Woodall to cease all educational activities. Classes for school children did continue within the internment camps. The School building and grounds were given to Chiang Kai Shek in the Anglo Chinese Treaty of 1943; the Chinese Nationalists took possession after VJ Day, and four years later Mao Tse Tung took control of Tientsin.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers, 1919-1990, of and relating to John Emmett Woodall and Tientsin Grammar School (TGS).
Papers, 1927-1946, of John Emmett Woodall comprise applications for positions at the TGS and contracts of employment, 1927-1937; correspondence and papers, 1941-1943, relating to the occupation of the TGS by the Japanese; correspondence and papers, 1942-1945 and undated, relating to the Woodall's family's case for repatriation after internment; personal correspondence, 1935-1942, including two letters from Woodall to his parents; applications for employment in the UK, 1945-1946.
Records, 1919-1990, of and relating to Tientsin Grammar School comprise publications, 1919-1938, 1990 and undated, including prospectuses, Speech Day pamphlets, and alumni magazines; school documents, 1926-1942 and undated, relating to student numbers, examinations, finance, school activities, and text books, and including school journal and order of examination of Daphne Payne, 1928; press cuttings on the TGS, 1928-1939, 1982; photographs, 1919-1941, including staff, students, school activities and buildings, and miniature photographs of scenes in Tientsin (Tianjin), including floods and Japanese bombing; miscellaneous papers and ephemera, 1928-1940, 1978-1987 and undated, relating to the TGS and its alumni and to Tientsin, including the flood (1939).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The papers have been grouped according to those that relate specifically to John Emmett Woodall, and those that relate to the Tientsin Grammar School.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist and database.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

This collection was presented by Mrs Levick, daughter of John Emmett Woodall, in June 1998.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Apr 2002

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