Archibald James Wall

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Archibald James Wall

Also Known As: "Grumpy", "AJ"
Birthplace: Birmingham, United Kingdom
Death: February 06, 1947 (77)
United Kingdom (Euphoria)
Place of Burial: United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of James Charles Wall and Sarah Jane Wall (Lemmon)
Husband of Beatrice Louise Wall and Gladys Wall
Father of Phyllis Mary Clodd; Evelyn Margaret Romer; James Wilfred Wall; Maurice Arthur Wall; Cecily Beatrice Dagge and 5 others
Brother of Edith Jane Cooke (Wall); Sydney George Wall; Harry Bond Wall and Elsie Wall

Occupation: Entrepreneur
Managed by: Richard Philip Wall
Last Updated:

About Archibald James Wall

Archibald James was born in 1870 near Birmingham. His father died when "A.J.” was five , so he was brought up by his mother, Sarah Jane, who came from the Norfolk family of Lemmon and around 1875 was left a widow with three young sons. She managed with some difficulty to send them all to St. Paul's school in London.

In 1890 he answered an advertisement by Charles Coverley & Co. of Porto where he stayed for six months after which he returned to London where he received an offer of permanent employment from the same firm. In 1902 AJ left Coverley's and set up on his own in the Rua de Reboleira as a shipping agent for J. & P. Hutchinson (later Moss Hutchison Lines). A few years later he joined with Charles Chambers to form Chambers & Wall for the production of chinaware.It was from a window of their factory that AJ saw a tram jump the rails at Massarelos and plunge into the Douro river. He was quickly on the scene and removing his coat, jumped in to the rescue of passengers in the half submerged coach.14 people were drowned and 32 saved. On completion of his gallant work, AJ discovered that his gold watch and chain had been stolen from his waistcoat. However a grateful Câmara Municipal made good the loss and added an illuminated address.

AJ was a renowned swimmer. It is told how he swam across the Bay of Biscay. This feat was in fact performed between Hendaye in France and Fuentearrabia in Spain, where he was arrested for vagrancy, having neither passport nor clothes. Around 1912 AJ was looking for fresh fields to conquer. Leaving his brother Sydney in charge of his affairs in Porto, he returned to England and set up shipping agencies in London, Liverpool, Birmingham and later Antwerp. The Great War saw him in the national Guard, The Special Constabulary and at a Portuguese Labour Camp as an interpreter.

Fortune continued to prosper and the family to increase so that a move to a large house at Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire was made. Here, at Cecil Lodge many children of Porto families at that time will always remember the hospitality shown them by the Walls.

It was shortly after the First World War that Coverley & Co., now under the direction of Henry Coverley, found themselves in some difficulty and appealed to AJ for assistance. The long and short of the matter was that AJ acquired Charles Coverley & Co., Henry being pensioned off.

Wall & co. had thus acquired the Ellerman and other agencies which brought them an association with the Westray family in London. Some time later AJ became a Director of the Valongo Slate & Marble Quarries. This move caused disagreement between AL and Tom Westray with the result that the name of Wall was dropped from the London firm and Westray from that in Porto.

Two of AJ's sons, Charles (b. 1907 d. 1974 ) and Richard (b. 1910 d. 1999)came out to Porto in 1930 and 1932 respectively and were soon in disagreement with their father's policy. AJ was forced to retire in 1936 and died in England 11 years later.

After the war these two younger sons of AJ continued to run the business with growing success and later bought Blackett & co. with its interests in timber, building materials and office equipment to add to those of shipping, slate and coal

He met his future wife, Beatrice Hardy, at a dance in Porto, and they were married in 1896. They raised a family of nine children, four boys and five girls. In 1911 he became known for his heroic work in rescuing a number of passengers from a tram that had plunged into the river Douro. For this deed he was presented with a silver plaque by the City.

By the late 1920s he had amassed a small fortune, some quarter of a million pounds (a not inconsiderable sum in those days), and had purchased a property on the outskirts of Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire, called Cecil Lodge.(The purchase was probably made in the early 1920s). This property, which stood on a considerable acreage, was built in 1760 by Lord Salisbury, a member of the Cecil Family. A separate building on the grounds housed an indoor tennis court, and it was there that A.J. played many a game of tennis. According to his daughter Cecily, he was a bad loser.

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Archibald James Wall's Timeline

January 26, 1870
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Age 20
Chambers and Wall (nicknamed locally as 'Penicos e Paredes' = chamberpots and walls), Porto, Portugal
March 24, 1897
September 25, 1898
Porto, Portugal
August 1, 1899
Age 28
Wall & Co, Porto, Portugal
July 6, 1901
February 3, 1904
Porto, Portugal
February 27, 1907
Porto, Portugal