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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