Opening of the New Hall, Joseph Nash, 1845
With membership increasing apace during the 1800s, the Old Hall had become too small for the Inn’s needs. Similarly the Library, which had been moved to No. 2 Stone buildings in 1787, was running out of room to expand and to accommodate users. Development works were urgently required to improve the facilities the Inn could offer its members.
The building of a new hall had first been suggested in 1835, with the site originally proposed being at the south end of Stone Buildings. After other proposed plans were rejected, the architect Philip Hardwick was given the task of designing the new building. He recommended that the new hall (which would become known as the Great Hall) and library should be situated on the west side of the garden and proposed that ‘the collegiate style of architecture, of the period towards the end of the sixteenth century should be used.’ Work began on his accepted design in 1843, with the foundation stone of the Great Hall being laid by Treasurer, Sir J L Knight-Bruce, on 20 April 1843.