Gelder, Sir William Alfred, MP

Architect and civic leader in Hull, born on 12 May 1855 at North Cave. The son of a WM farmer, he built up an extensive architectural practice, including mills and warehouses for his lifelong friend Joseph Rank, whose wife was a schoolfriend of his wife. His WM chapels and Central Halls used new structural methods to achieve wide roof spans. and several display art nouveau features. He was active in Hull's social and political life and during five successive terms as mayor of Hull (1899-1904) inspired and directed the extensive rebuilding of the city centre. He was knighted in 1903 and made a Freeman of Hull in 1930. He was Liberal MP for Brigg, 1910-1918. A lifelong Methodist, he served both as Sunday School teacher and local preacher. His central halls included Thornton Hall, Hull (1902), King's Hall, Southall (1916), Bristol (1922-24), Southfields, London (1926) and Islington, London (1930). He also designed many WM churches in Hull (e.g. Brunswick (1877), Princes Avenue (1905), Queen's Hall Mission (1905), Anlaby Road (1910) and Newland (1928)) and elsewhere. He died in Hull on 26 August 1941.

  • Hull Daily Mail, 27 August 1941
  • E. Gillett and K.A. MacMahon, A H istory of Hull (1980)
  • Geoffrey E. Milburn, 'Piety, Profit and Paternalism' in WHS Proceedings, 44 (1983-84)

Entry written by: DCD and GEM
Category: Person
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