Hall started his careers via workshop and design-office training and part-time study. He left Urmston grammar school at 16, and served a five-year engineering apprenticeship with the Manchester Ship Canal Company, followed by two years instrument design work for the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.
In 1946 he became a technical engineer at Risley, the northern headquarters of the Ministry of Supply's division of atomic energy where he worked for five years and studied part-time for his degree at the Manchester College of Technology, now the University of Manchester. He graduated with a first-class honours degree in 1950.
Hall was the driving force behind the establishment in 1964 of the Manchester-Liverpool joint research reactor. In 1976 he launched an undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering - characteristically taking more than his share of its teaching, which he found a particular source of interest and satisfaction.
Even in his final year, when his health was deteriorating, he produced sophisticated software for use by the model steam engine community to help improve the performance of their machines.
UK civil nuclear power programme
Hall played an important role in the development of the UK civil nuclear power programme.
Heat transfer and reactor safety
William Hall made fundamental contributions to the understanding of engineering heat transfer. His research significantly enlarged an understanding of a wide range of heat transfer applications.
In 1978, he was awarded the James Clayton prize by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for outstanding work in the field of Heat Transfer and his contributions to international undrestanding through the spread of knowledge in this area throughout the world.
Hall was an international authority on the analysis of nuclear plant safety, serving on the advisory committee for the safety of nuclear installations from 1972 to 1983. He was then appointed technical assessor to the public inquiry into the proposed Sizewell B nuclear power station on the coast of Suffolk, near Leiston - the longest inquiry of its kind in legal history.
Hall at Manchester
In 1955, Hall was seconded to Manchester University's engineering department for two days a week to set up research and teaching support for the UK's rapidly developing nuclear power programme. This led to his appointment in 1959 to the newly created chair of nuclear engineering, where he built a strong research school, which continues to flourish.