S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Hall, Sir Alfred Daniel (agriculture)

Born: 22 June 1864, Rochdale, Lancashire, England.
Died: 5 July 1942, London, England.

A. Daniel Hall, British agricultural educationist and researcher, obtained a first class pass in the natural sciences at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1884, with chemistry as his major subject, and was awarded the degree Master of Arts (MA). He was a teacher until 1891, and for the next three years an extension lecturer in Surrey for the University of Oxford. From 1894 to 1902 he was the first principal of the South Eastern Agricultural College at Wye, Kent, and from 1902 to 1912 director of Rothamsted Agricultural Experiments Station at Harpenden, north of London. His major publications included The soil; an introduction to the scientific study of the growth of crops (London, 1903, 286p); The book of the Rothamsted experiments (London, 1905, 294p); Fertilisers and manures (London, 1909, 384p, with later editions to 1955); The feeding of crops and stock; an introduction to the science of nutrition of plants and animals (London, 1911, 298p, with later editions to 1944); and Agricultre after the war (London, 1916, 137p).

Hall became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1899 and in 1905 attended the joint meeting of this association with its South African counterpart in South Africa. In Cape Town he delivered a comprehensive review paper on "Recent developments in agricultural science", the full text of which was included in both the British Association's Report of the meeting and in the Adresses and papers... (Vol. 1, pp. 93-114) subsequently published in South Africa. A second (unpublished) paper by him dealt with "Rural education appropriate to colonial life and agriculture in South Africa".

Hall was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1909 and was honoured as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1918. He served as a member (1910-1917) and secretary (1917-1927) of the Development Commission, which did much to stimulate agricultural research in Britain; secretary of the Board of Agriculture (1917-1920); chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Agriculture (1920-1927); and director of the John Innes Horticultural Institution (1927-1939). He was a very versatile person and among others an authority on early Chinese pottery. Honorary doctoral degrees were conferred upon him by the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Aberdeen.

List of sources:
Addresses and papers read at the joint meeting of the British and South African Associations for the Advancement of Science held in South Africa, 1905 (Vol. 1). Johannesburg: SAAAS.

British Association for the Advancement of Science. Report of the seventy-fifth meeting... South Africa, 1905.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Oxford dictionary of national biography. Oxford University Press, 2004.

Compiled by: C. Plug