Wills Memorial Building
The Wills Memorial Building was commissioned in 1912 by George Alfred Wills and Henry Herbert Wills, in honour of their father, Henry Overton Wills III, benefactor and first Chancellor of the University. Designed by Sir George Oatley, the Perpendicular Gothic style building evokes the famous university buildings of Oxford and Cambridge. The building was funded through the fortunes of slave-grown tobacco from the American Republic (the USA), which was later in favour of the abolition of slavery.
Construction was started in 1915 but was halted in 1916 due to the continuation of World War I and restarted in 1919. The building was finally opened on June 9th 1925 by King George V and Queen Mary, having cost a total of £501,566 19s 10d.
During the Bristol Blitz of World War II in 1940, the Great Hall with its hammerbeam roof, was badly damaged and later restored in the 1960s to Oatley's original design.
In 2006, cleaning work began on the Wills Memorial Building cost £750,000. Cleaning on the building revealed the engraving "IO TRIVMPHE" intended as a tribute to the architect of the building Sir George Oatley. The engraving had remained hidden for over 80 years.