Past residents at West Hall

    • Research to date, indicates that until the middle of the 18th Century, West Hall was let out while the Lords of the Manor continued to live at East Sheen, we now know that the ballroom was an earlier addition to the house in 1763 and this would not have been undertaken for a tenant and it is extremely unlikely that a tenant would have undertaken this at their own expense. The using of the property by the owners is however short lived.
    • It is know that minaturist Diane Dietz Hill (1760-1844) lived at West Hall. She began her career in London as a student of Jeremiah Meyer, first exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1775. In 1781 she married Haydock Hill at St. Mary's Marylebone and quickly had two children. By 1785, she exhibited at the Royal Academy and Hill was now a widow.
    • The next year she left for India where her reputation was secured. She was described as a ‘pretty woman’ by the established ( and grumpy and jealous) Ozias Humphry who begrudgingly acknowledged that as a miniaturist she had "great merit." With her brothers help, Hill quickly became one of the most prominent miniaturists in India.

    • In 1788 Hill marred Lieutenant Thomas Harriott of the First Native Infantry, soon after she ceased to paint professionally. However, her portrait of her husband was undertaken in 1791 and clearly shows her skill has not diminished (see above 3rd on right). The family return to England in 1806 and soon after take up residence in West Hall.


    • Diane’s Nephew (in-law) William James Harriott (1790-1839) is known to have stayed at West Hall, with his Uncle and Aunt and it is during this time that his painting of West Hall was painted. William Harriott is painting throughout his life and travels into Europe..


      The owners of West Hall during the time Harriott painted West Hall, were the Taylor family who were at this time living near by in Brick Farm.

      Below is the listing of occupants for West Hall, Brick Farm, West Lodge, West Farm and Brick Stables during the 19th Century.


      Charles Bebb, a famous Architect was possibly born at West Hall and spent his childhood there.

      Charles Herbert Bebb (10 April 1856 – 21 June 1942) was an American architect, who participated in two of the Seattle's most important partnerships, Bebb and Mendel (with Louis L. Mendel) from 1901 to 1914, and Bebb and Gould (with Carl F. Gould) from 1914 to 1939. Bebb was also important in the development of the architectural terra cotta industry in Washington State, and he was an early participant in the Washington State Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (predecessor to today's AIA Seattle Chapter).

      Bebb was born in Notting Hill, London, England on 10 April 1862 according to contemporary records, though his later accounts give a birth date of 10 April 1856 at West Hall, Mortlake, Surrey, England, where he spent his childhood. He was educated at private schools before attending the University of Lausanne, and then studying at the School of Mines in London. After a stint in South Africa as a railroad construction engineer, Bebb came to the United States about 1882 and joined the Illinois Terra Cotta Lumber Company where he became involved in the development of fireproofing materials. In 1888, Bebb went to work for Chicago architects Adler and Sullivan as a superintending architect. He came to Seattle in 1890 to superintend construction of the firm's Seattle Opera House, but the project did not go forward and Bebb returned to Chicago.

      Bebb moved pemanently to Seattle in 1893 and went to work for the Denny Clay Company, which, with his assistance, began to produce architectural terra cotta. Bebb always saw himself as an architect, and he was an early member of the Washington State Chapter of the AIA, founded in 1894. By 1898, Bebb opened his own architectural practice. His early projects reflected the influence of Louis Sullivan in the use of terra cotta ornament with "Sullivanesque" designs.


      Sir William Hooker Director of Kew Gardens lived next door in Brick Farm and might be responsible for some of the now protected trees in West Hall - the Orientalis Plane is possibly attributed to his presence (and is recoreded as the largest in the country).


      West Hall in the early 1900's, Tall Chimneys still present. Finials on Dormers and ridge tiles with a three tooth cogged crest.


      Before the Second World War, Polititian, Poet & biographer Iolo Aneurin Williams and his wife Francion Elinor ( nee Dixon) purchase West Hall, they are in residence in 1937 where a memorial fund is using his address at West Hall:

      The Times, 5 February 1937

      It is proposed by friends of the late Basil Somerset Long, Keeper of the
      Department of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, to make a
      gift in his memory to the museum in which he worked for so many years.
      It is proposed to buy a miniature, and possibly also a water-colour, which
      would fill some gap, or gaps, in the museum's collection. The purchase
      would be made in cooperation with the museum authorities and would
      be so labelled as to make it a permanent memorial. Subscriptions may
      be sent to Mr I A Williams, West Hall, Kew Gardens, Surrey..

      Iolo A. Williams also lists West Hall as his address with the Botanical Society in 1938. I. A. Williams was a poet and in 1974 one of the garages was full with bundles of brown paper an string holding about 100 copies each of a small book of his published poems. Later to be collected by Mrs Williams.


      In 1944, the first V2 launched by the Third Reich hit Stavely Road in Chiswick. Three people died and 22 were injured, 11 houses were demolished and 27 more were seriously damaged in the immediate area. Mrs Williams informed Ann Bissell-Thomas that the force of the explosion blew out the tall staircase window which overlooks the courtyard. For this to happen some windows facing the lawn would have to have been open to funnel the force through the house, nevertheless this is a considerable distance for the blast to have travelled with its pace being broken by other buildings trees and the river banks.


      Stavely Road, a crater 30 ft deep was made.


      Iolo's King Penguin Publication Flowers of Marsh & Stream includes a poem which mentions Doodle-bugs ( V Rockets) in the only poem found in the last chapter, this is no doubt because of the Stavely Rd explosion.


      The Williams family were well off, bronze statues of Buddha were located on two stone plinths in the courtyard ( Which Mrs Williams sent to a friend in Ceylon as a gift when the house was sold). The Ballroom was used as a snooker room and library, and the areas of the house where she lived displayed quality antiques. The other areas were rented out with the exception of the bake house which was derelict.

      In 1973 a widow ( since 1962) and in her 80’s she decided to sell the property.....




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