OWs will remember Old Hall as a rather shabby, dark, room with dingy matt brown panelling. The room was the original refectory or dining hall when College first opened in 1859. Since then it has been used for many purposes. In my days as a pupil in the 1970s it was used for assemblies, concerts and exams, so was not a place the average Wellingtonian was keen to visit!
The refurbishment has transformed the space. The panelling, gifted to College as a memorial to 2Lt. J C B Capper MC (OW) who was killed on the Somme on 27 September 1916, has been retained, cleaned and revarnished. College’s collection of Napoleonic pictures has been hung on the walls. The Stocks copy of Maclise’s Wellington meeting Blucher at the conclusion of the battle of Waterloo, which once hung in the Waterloo Hotel but was purchased by a generous group of OWs at an auction at Bonham’s earlier this year, is the centrepiece. Callum Stewart (OW) has loaned eleven pictures while another OW, Chris Graham, has loaned a portrait of his antecedent, Lord Lynedoch.
The refurbished Old Hall has now been renamed as the Waterloo Hall and becomes a permanent marker of College’s commemoration of the bicentenary of the battle. The Hall will be formally unveiled on Tuesday when a lunch will be held there following the planting of two trees: the first, a sapling from the Duke of Wellington’s estate at Stratfield Saye; and the second, a sapling from the battlefield at Waterloo.