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Surgeons’ Hall, Old Bailey, designed by William Jones

G C R Morris

The Hall was completed in 1752 for the Company of Surgeons and abandoned in 1796 in favour of a house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields – a move that led to the dissolution of the Company and the foundation of the Royal College of Surgeons. The design of the building has long been attributed, in architectural histories, to the elder George Dance (1695-1768), father of the principal architect of the College’s first building in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

This paper presents further information about the layout and building history of Surgeon’s Hall, as can be inferred from its insurance particulars, two ground plans and a little-known map. It also shows that the ‘Mr Jones’ who was chosen as Surveyor to the Company in 1747 was in fact the architect of the Hall. He can be identified as William Jones (d. 1757), Surveyor to the East India Company from 1752, who is best known for the Rotunda at Ranelagh. Dance’s many designs for the site in Old Bailey were neither formally commissioned nor used.

[Transactions 35 (1984), pp 91 – 9; abstract drawn from the published text]

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