The legacy of Wil Onions
Read Wil Onions' full biography
Photo courtesy of OBM International
Wilfred Richmond "Wil" Onions is revered as Bermuda's best-known and most influential architect of the 20th century. He was instrumental in developing the revivalist Bermudian vernacular style that came to define the Island's architecture and inspire local architects long after his death. Inspired by the traditional Bermuda cottage, Onions designed graceful houses with large, well-proportioned rooms. His work included some of Bermuda's best-known properties, including Chelston, the former U.S. Consulate in Paget; Buttonwood and But'n'Ben in Tucker's Town and City Hall in Hamilton.
Coral Chimneys on Point Finger Road, Paget, was Wil Onions' first commission in 1928 - while he was still a student. J. B. Astwood asked him to design a house as a wedding present for his son, Jeffrey "Curly" Astwood, who was engaged to Wil's sister, Hilda.
The Quarries, built for Sir Gilbert Cooper in the early 1930s on Pitts Bay Road, at the entrance to Fairylands, was one of Onions' earliest designs.
Wil Onions’ most famous building - City Hall in Hamilton. After the Hamilton Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1954, the Corporation of Hamilton held a competition to design a City Hall on the vacant site. Onions’ iconic design, a large version of a Bermuda cottage, won and work began in 1957 with Bill Harrington, designer and court painter to King George VI, collaborating on the interior design. It was completed in 1960, a year after Onions’ death.