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Charles Edward Mallows

Three Gables about 1900 [Z50/15/11]
Three Gables about 1900 [Z50/15/11]

Charles Edward Mallows married into the Peacock family and much of the following information comes from documents in the possession of that family. He was born in London on 5th May 1864 as his mother's parents lived there. His father George ran Kent & Gostwick, a boot and shoemakers in Bedford High Street. He was apprenticed to Bedford architect Francis Thomas Mercer of 24 Saint Paul's Square ands set up his own business in Bedford in 1895.

Mallows designed three houses in Biddenham – 34 Days Lane for his brother Ernest Raymond Mallows, 9 Main Road for John White, son of J. P. White who owned the Pyghtle Works, a joinery near Bedford Station and 17 Biddenham Turn, named Three Gables, for local farmer Henry John Peacock, whose daughter Sybil he married in 1899, the house being finished the following year. Mallows and his new wife lived with their in-laws at Three Gables.

34 Days Lane April 2012
34 Days Lane April 2012

Although Mallows had his architect's office in London, at 28 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, he did much of his work at Three Gables where he died suddenly on 2nd June 1915, aged only 51. As well as the three houses in Biddenham Mallows designed the large rood over the chancel arch in Biddenham church. His son wrote: "I remember my mother saying that my father was very annoyed at this Cross being fixed so high up and flat against the wall: he thought it should have been lower and tilted forward so as to be clear of the wall, so that the very fine carving could be seen properly". The cross was carved by a Miss Duigan who is buried in the graveyard beneath a Celtic cross also designed by Mallows.

The rood designed by Charles Mallows March 2012
The rood designed by Charles Mallows March 2012

Further afield Mallows is best remembered for designing Tirley Garth in Cheshire in 1907. As well as designing the house Mallows also designed the gardens, as he did with Three Gables. He was strongly of the belief that both house and gardens should be architect-designed to give a unity to the whole.

Other commissions [CRT180/433] included alterations to the Chapel of the Holy Trinity in Saint Paul's church, Bedford (1907-1908) and an opera house for Bedford which, sadly, was never built. Designs by him survive include: the Dutch tea gardens at Eaton Hall [Cheshire]; the Village Hall at Nettlebed [Oxfordshire], 8 Tonbridge Road, Pembury [Kent], since altered to form council offices and Craig-y-Parc at Pentrych [Glamorgan];

Charles Mallows was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement which, coincidentally, was a major source of business for the Pyghtle Works. Another architect of this movement, Mackay Hugh Baillie-Scott (1865-1945), originally from Kent, also lived in Biddenham and designed his own house – 11 Main Road as well as 17 Church End. Both dwellings, as well as those by Mallows, are in the style of an architect named Charles Voysey (1857-1941) who influenced a number of architects of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

 9 Main Road about 1920 from a Peacock family photograph
9 Main Road about 1920 from a Peacock family photograph