Richard Hall, commonly known as Dick Hall, lived and travelled throughout Africa and Indian Ocean as a journalist and historian .
Born in Margate, Kent, he spent part of his boyhood in Australia, before returning to England in the early 1930s. He was educated at Hastings Grammar School, served in a destroyer in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, then went to Keble College, Oxford where he obtained an honours degree in English.
After working in London on the Daily Mail, he lived for thirteen years in Africa, where he was co-founder and editor of the Central Africa Mail, and later was editor of the Times of Zambia. Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s he remained at the centre of the de-colonisation process in Zambia. In 1967 he returned to the UK, but continued to be in close contact with African political affairs. He became the Commonwealth correspondent of the Observer, and a columnist on the Financial Times. In 1986, he founded the financial and political bulletin Africa Analysis.
He wrote a number of books on Africa politics. He also produced a number of biographies and histories, ranging from the early Victorian explorers Sam and Florence Baker and Henry Morton Stanley, to the modem merchant-adventurer Tiny Rowland.
Richard Hall lived in Oxfordshire for the last 15 years of his life,where he completed his last major book, Empires of the Monsoon, A wide-ranging history of the Indian ocean, focussing on the waves of foreign influence along the East African coast from the earliest Arab traders to the end of the colonial period.
He remained active as a writer until his death in 1997.
Richard Hall married twice, first to Barbara Hall, a successful journalist and author in her own right, respected crossword compiler and puzzles editor for the Sunday Times. Richard Hall had five sons and ten grandchildren from his first marriage.
His second marriage was to Carol Cattley, whom he met whilst working at the Observer.
Richard Hall’s papers are archived at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library, University of London.