HALL, Edwin Thomas 1851-1923. Architect. Born in Lowestoft, the son of architect George Hall, Edwin established his own architectural practice (which continues, as Easton, Robertson, Preston & Partners) in 1876, later moving offices to Bedford Square. He was known as ‘Byelaw’ Hall for his skill in unravelling legal complexities, and specialised in the design of hospitals, including the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Two of his other best-known surviving buildings are St Ermin’s Hotel, Westminster (1887) and Liberty’s behind Regent Street (1924-26) which was completed by his son Stanley.
Hall, who lived at ‘Hillcote’, Thurlow Park Road, West Dulwich, was responsible for designing the (now Old) Library in 1902 as a Boer War memorial for the College, ‘a cheerful exercise in Edwardian baroque’, in contrast to Barry’s original Italianate buildings. He also designed Camberwell Central Library, Camberwell Town Hall, and St Giles’ Hospital. Hall was an Estates and College Governor, in the former case for twenty-two years, three of them as Chairman. As such he was able to influence the Board to introduce the town planning ideas of the Garden City Movement, evident in the layout of Sunray Avenue, for example. As an architect member of the Picture Gallery Committee he was responsible for the design of the four additional exhibition rooms in the Gallery generously financed by Henry Yates Thompson (qv). Towards the end of his life, Hall wrote one of the first histories of Dulwich: ‘Dulwich History and Romance, 967-1922’. He and his wife Florence had three sons and four daughters, one of whom married a vicar of St Stephen’s. Hall himself was vicar’s warden of Emmanuel Church, West Dulwich, for thirty years.
Hilary Rosser and Bernard Nurse