The life of William Burrough Hill –‘Southampton’s Grand Old Man’ – spanned the years from Queen Victoria’s early reign to the beginning of World War Two, during which he became one of the town’s most prominent and respected citizens. He was born in Southampton in 1845 and spent his entire life in the town. He attended Southampton School of Art and later became an estate agent and auctioneer with offices in Hanover Buildings. He was also an art critic and a collector of fine art and antiques. He built up a notable collection of works by local artists, in particular those of Frederick Lee Bridell. He restored Bridell’s most famous work The Coliseum of Rome by Moon Light and sold it to Southampton Corporation. He renamed his house in Regents Park Road ‘Bridell Lodge’ in memory of the artist. In 1897, on the centenary of the birth of local artist Thomas Gray Hart, he set up an exhibition of the work of local artists, including, Hart, William Shayer, and W. M. Cooper, entitled ‘Antient Southampton’. In 1910 his art collection was acquired by Southampton Corporation.

He lived at Banister Hall in Northlands Road before moving to Bridell Lodge where he lived from c.1911 to his death in 1941. His extensive garden was admired for its roses and was famous for possessing a scale model of Stonehenge, an ‘elephant house’, in which were displayed models of elephants of variant shapes and sizes, and other curiosities.

William Burrough Hill

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Photographed in the garden of Bridell Lodge

see also

Further reading:
‘William Burrough Hill: An appreciation’, by The Rev. J. L. Beaumont James, in Southern Daily Echo, 29 May 1941, p4
‘Yesterday in Southampton’, by Leslie A. Ridges, in Hampshire, Volume 14, No. 1 November 1973, p52-3.
‘William Burrough Hill – Southampton’s Grand Old Man’, by John Edgar Mann, in Hampshire, Volume 30, No. 7, May 1990, p59-60..
‘Stag Gates and all that.’ by A.G.K. Leonard in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 19, Spring 2012, p3-9. (HS/h)


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