Wills Hall has been shaped by generosity and philanthropy. The Downside estate (on which all the Stoke Bishop Halls are built) was given to the University by Henry Herbert Wills. The Wills Hall building costs of £110,000 were met by his brother Sir George Alfred Wills in his memory.
This spirit of generosity has been replicated many, many times since the 1920s, and six Trusts have been established to channel support for residents of the Hall. Donations to the WHA and the Hall are mostly vired to these Trusts, which ensure long-lasting and well managed support. The Trustees are the Vice-Chancellor (via the University's Finance Office), the President of the WHA, and the Chair of the WHA.
It is not possible to list all the major donations that have enhanced the infrastructure, the facilities and the community life in Wills since the inauguration, and beyond the reach of the six Trusts. Nonetheless, mention must be made of Dr Derek Zutshi and his wife Dr Marguerite Smith. Derek Zutshi (a former Chairman of Convocation, a member of Council and Court, and erstwhile Chair of the WHA) left a considerable legacy to the University that has provided for scholarships and other forms of support since 2007, including the Zutshi-Smith Scholarship, aimed at students from India, in particular Kashmir, guaranteeing a residential place in Wills.
Dr Michael Wong Pakshong, Patron of the WHA until his death in 2017, was another generous donor. During his time at Bristol, he was extremely active as a member of the Wills Hall Junior Common Room Committee and amassed a wide circle of Bristol friends. He made a legacy that has been used to refurbish what was known formerly as the Old Court Lounge, now the Michael Wong Pakshong Lounge, much appreciated by residents for its calm and studious ambience. The legacy has also generously provided bursaries for overseas students applying for postgraduate study in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law.
Dr Martin Crossley Evans MBE has made many and significant donations over five decades. He was an under-graduate resident of Wills (1975-78) and Secretary of Barneys, and completed his PhD in Ecclesiastical History at Bristol University. He was Warden of Manor Hall from 1984 to 2018, and also served terms as University Marshall, and as Head Warden, finding time also to serve on the WHA Committee for many years. Several of the pictures and paintings familiar to residents are Martin's gifts. These include the beautiful set of watercolours of the Hall by Harold John Stopps that hang in the former SCR and the portraits there of King Edward VII and Sir Winston Churchill. The clock is also his gift: it was designed by the Hall architect, Sir George Oatley.
The Wills 101 Scholarships are funded by donations from, or in memory of, old members. Every penny (with interest, as the pennies are invested!) will go towards student support. This website will gradually reflect the progress of these awards.
Please, if you have fond memories of the Hall, consider supporting our current and future residents. Click on the link above.