George William Latham

George William Latham, the son of John Latham (1787–1853), was an English landowner, barrister and a Liberal politician.

He was born in London on the 4th May 1827. He was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, matriculating on 22 May 1845, B.A., 1849; M.A., 1852. He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1852, and for a time practised on the Chester and North Wales circuit.

On ceasing to practise he went to live at Bradwall Hall, and took an active part in the affairs of the county, particularly in relation to reformatory and industrial schools, one of which he established on his own property (Bradwall Reformatory School). George William Latham also established a News and Reading room (part of a Game Keepers residence) for use by his tenants in general containing a library and a news room supplied with newspapers. He took great interest in agriculture and farming, and was an active member of the Cheshire Chamber of Agriculture.

Latham married Elizabeth Sarah Luttman-Johnson in 1856

In politics he was an enthusiastic and advanced Liberal, and in the Parliamentary election of 1878 he contested Mid-Cheshire against Col. Egerton Leigh, by whom he was defeated by a large majority. In 1880 he again contested that constituency, and once more in 1883, but was defeated on both occasions, but by reduced majorities. In 1885 he was, however, elected Member of Parliament for the Crewe division, defeating his opponent, Mr. O. Leslie Stephen, a director of the London and North-Western Railway, by 808 votes. At the next election, in June, 1886, he could not again offer himself as a candidate, owing to serious ill-health, and on the 4th Oct 1886, he died at Bradwall Hall.

Photograph of garden party hosted by George William Latham, Bradwall Hall 1884 –

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Bradwall Reformatory School

Following an 1854 Act of Parliament children under the age of 16 convicted of an offence could be sent to a Reformatory School, being a penal facility for children.

Bradwall Reformatory School in Walnut Tree Lane, Bradwall in Sandbach, Cheshire was built in 1855 by voluntary subscriptions on land owned by George William Latham of Bradwall Hall and was originally managed by George William Latham himself. The cost of the building and starting the School was £255 10S 2d. A grant of £600 from the County Rate of Cheshire, awarded before 1859, was used to enlarge the property. The School was financed by the local authorities which sent boys to the School. Additional income was generated by hiring out the boys on licence and by selling produce from the farm, and, occasional central government grants.

The School was certified as a Reformatory School on 27th December 1855. It was agreed that the School could take up to 70 boys. The two first boys were received on 10th December 1855.

George Latham died on 4th October 1886. In his will the School was to be offered to the county but the offer was declined. The Manor of Bradwall and estate, including the School, was eventually sold in 1888 to the Barlow family. The School and land were leased to Edward Howard Moss and John Stringer, managers, by Thomas Barlow in 1890.

The name of the School was changed from Bradwall Reformatory to Bradwall Training School in 1908. At this time boys had to be aged over 11 years.

The School was re-certified 1916 for 80 boys. In 1918 the School merged with premises in Holmes Chapel and was re-certified for 125 boys. The School was closed in 1920 and the equipment moved to Saltersford, Holmes Chapel and eventually closed in 1932.

The land and buildings covered 25 acres when sold but had stood at 40 acres when first opened.The buildings comprised of school rooms, dormitories, quadrangle, offices, and three cells.The land consisted of a garden, drying ground and three fields. A separate cottage was used as an infirmary to isolate sick boys.