Edward Maufe

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Maufe in 1930

Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe KBE, R.A, F.R.I.B.A. (12 December 1883 – 12 December 1974) was an English architect and designer, noted chiefly for his work on places of worship and remembrance memorials. He was a skilled interior designer and designed many pieces of furniture. He was perhaps best known for designing Guildford Cathedral, the Air Forces Memorial and for his work on behalf of the Imperial War Graves Commission for which he received a Knighthood in 1954.

Born in Ilkley, Yorkshire, Maufe studied architecture, initially under the direction of William A. Pite in 1899 and later attended St John's College, Oxford. He designed his first blueprint, Kelling Hall in Norfolk, in 1912. From there he concentrated mainly on places of worship, often designing extensions and memorials to already established buildings. A late entry into World War I in 1917 meant a brief intermission from architecture, until his demobilisation in 1919.

Maufe returned to architecture and designed more than fifty buildings in a career which lasted over fifty years. In 1936, he started work on what is perhaps the most famous of all his designs, Guildford Cathedral. Work was not completed until its consecration in 1961, due to the outbreak of World War II. During the conflict, Maufe became a principal architect of the Imperial War Graves Commission, later becoming chief architect and artistic advisor. He was associated with the Commission for more than 25 years.

Maufe retired in 1964 having just completed his final project, St Nicholas Church at Saltdean. He moved to East Sussex where he died ten years later on his 91st birthday. He was married and had a son, who predeceased him in 1968.


Early life[edit]

The Red House, Bexleyheath where Maufe resided 1903–1910

Edward Maufe was born in Sunny Bank, Ilkley, Yorkshire on 12 December 1882. He was the second of three children and younger son of Henry Muff (d.1910) and Maude Alice Muff née Smithies (d.1919). Henry Muff was a linen draper who worked for the firm Brown, Muff & Co. Ltd. His mother, Maude, was the niece of Sir Titus Salt, the founder of Saltaire. Maufe was educated at Wharfedale School, Ilkley and later attended Bradford School.[1]

In 1899, Maufe was sent to London to serve a five-year apprenticeship under the direction of the London architect William A. Pite. Soon after, the Muff family moved from Yorkshire to the Red House, Bexleyheath, London which was originally designed by Philip Webb for William Morris. Maufe later acknowledged the design of the house as an early architectural influence. After completing his apprenticeship in 1904, he attended St John's College, Oxford, where he received a B.A and went on to study Design at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1908.[1] In 1909, he changed his surname to Maufe,[2] and became an associate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) the following year.[1]

At the outbreak of the First World War Maufe decided to enlist in the army. Upon joining, the army forms submitted by Maufe showed that H.R.L.Sheppard had agreed to stand as guarantor, giving his address as "The Vicarage, Trafalgar Square." It later transpired that this was Dick Sheppard.[3] He enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery on 9 January 1917, was commissioned as a staff lieutenant on 9 April 1917 and saw action in Salonika. Maufe was discharged on 26 February 1919 and became a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1920.[3]


Maufe's first design: Kelling Hall, Norfolk

Maufe set up in practice on his own in 1912 and was immediately commissioned by Sir Henry Deterding to design and construct Kelling Hall in Norfolk.The building shows Maufe's early links with the arts and crafts movement due to its butterfly plan, knapped flint walls, and a grey tiled and gabled roof. Maufe's other notable pre-war work included the decoration of St Martin-in-the-Fields, the chapels and alterations at All Saints Church, Southampton (which was later destroyed during the Second World War in 1940), and St John's, Hackney, which first brought him into notice in church circles.[1]

He came to prominence in 1924 with his design for the Palace of Industry at the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley and was a silver medallist at the Paris Exhibition in 1925 which resulted in him securing a wide variety of commissions.

Interior of Guildford Cathedral
Interior of Guildford Cathedral
exterior of Guildford Cathedral
Exterior of Guildford Cathedral

Two early buildings, the church of St Bede at Clapham in (1922) and St Saviour's, Acton in (1924), were both built for the Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb and made him notable among fellow architects. The latter church displays a simple structure and has a likeness to contemporary Swedish architecture. St Saviour's was loosely based on the design by Ivar Tengbom of Hogalids church in Stockholm, which Maufe described as being the most completely satisfying modern Swedish building he had seen. During this period, Maufe was a constant champion of modern Swedish architecture, and was often vocal on this theme in the architectural press, citing his own buildings as having simplified elevations, painted ceilings, and applied sculpture, similar to those found in Sweden. Maufe felt that Swedish architecture had a combined freshness without obviously breaking with tradition.[1]

In 1932, Maufe won a competition to design the Guildford Cathedral, coming first among 183 entries. When the building was dedicated in 1961, architectural taste had moved away from its Neo-Gothic designs. The cathedral's exterior including the nave and aisles together with Maufe's use of space, won him general admiration amongst fellow architects. As a result, he was described as a designer of churches by conviction, as he attempted to produce buildings of austere simplicity aiming directly at the creation of a religious atmosphere. At Guildford, he wanted to produce a design of the times, yet to keep in line with the great English cathedrals already established within the United Kingdom.[1]

In 1936 King George VI commissioned Maufe to conduct various alterations to the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park. The small private chapel stands in the grounds of Royal Lodge and was the Queen Mother's residence. Maufe designed a new ceiling for the chancel and a royal pew, new choir stalls and a casing for a new organ. In 1944, he was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for architecture.[4] Other works include the Festival Theatre in Cambridge, St. Thomas the Apostle in Hanwell, London and the Oxford Playhouse and St Columba's Church (Pont Street, London SW1). He designed buildings for Trinity and St John's College, Cambridge, Balliol and St John's College, Oxford (of which he was made an honorary fellow of in 1943). Maufe was later commissioned to re-design the war-damaged Middle Temple and of Gray's Inn, which made him an honorary master of the bench in 1951.[1]

Exterior of The Air Forces Memorial in Egham, Surrey

From 1943 until 1969 Maufe was the first principal architect and later, chief architect and artistic adviser to the Imperial War Graves Commission. Among his war memorial designs are those at Tower Hill which was an expansion to the already established memorial by Sir Edward Lutyens and the Air Forces Memorial at Cooper's Hill overlooking Runnymede (1950–53).[1] Maufe's domestic work had a stylish modernity, in direct contrast with the new functionalism. In the architectural language of the time it was called ‘modernity with manners’ and very much reflected the established taste of the inter-war period. Maufe often wrote and lectured on architecture chiefly on furnishing within the home and on present-day architecture.[1] His designs were considered by interior designers to be modern and stylish, with built-in fitments and pastel colour-schemes, particularly pink, mauve, and cream, contrasted with silver-lacquered furniture and mirrors. One of his house designs was Yaffle Hill, Broadstone, Dorset, built in 1929 for Cyril Carter of Poole Potteries. Other schemes included an extension to Baylins, Beaconsfield in 1927, for Ambrose Heal, Hanah Gluck's studio in Bolton Hill, Hampstead (1932), and the studio for religious services at Broadcasting House (1931). He also designed several branch banks for Lloyds, one of the best being at 50 Notting Hill Gate, London in 1930.[1]

Architectural historian Ian Nairn said that "Maufe is the rare case of a man with genuine spatial gifts but out of sympathy with the style of his time".[5]

Partial list of works[edit]

Maufe's 1939 brick built church: All Saints Weston, Esher, Surrey
  • Kelling Hall, Norfolk (1912)
  • St Bede's, Clapham Road, London SW9 (1924)
  • Palace of Industry, Wembley, London (1924–1925)
  • Lloyds Bank, Wren Road, Camberwell (1925)
  • Festival Theatre, Cambridge, (1926) (alterations only)
  • St Saviour's, Old Oak Lane, Acton London, (1926)
  • Trinity College, Cambridge (1927)
  • Tower at St Mary's, Liss, Hampshire (1930)
  • Lloyds Bank, 50 Notting Hill Gate, London (1930)
  • St John's Church, Hook, Hampshire (1931)
  • Guildford Cathedral (1932)
  • Studio for Religious Services, Broadcasting House, Portland Place (1932)
  • Rawlinson Building extension, St John's College, Oxford (1933)
  • St Thomas the Apostle, Boston Road, Hanwell, London (1934)
  • The House, Round Island, Poole Harbour (c1935)
  • Alterations to Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park (1936)(a new ceiling for the chancel and a royal pew, new choir stalls and a casing for a new organ)
  • Extension to Morley College, London SE1 (1937)
  • St John's College, Cambridge Chapel Court and North Court (1938–40)
  • The Oxford Playhouse, Oxford (1938)
  • Heal's Department Store in Tottenham Court Road, London (1938) (Southern extension)
  • St John the Evangelist, London Road, Hook, Hampshire (1938)
St Columba's Church, Pont St, London

Personal life[edit]

In 1910, Maufe left Bexleyheath and moved to 139 Old Church Street, Chelsea, London. On 1 October 1910, he married Gladys Evelyn Prudence Stutchbury (1882–1976), the daughter of Edward Stutchbury of the geological survey of India. She was a designer and interior decorator, and later a director of Heal's. They had a son who died in 1968.[1] Maufe and his wife retired shortly after he had completed Guildford Cathedral to their second home, a farmhouse in Shepherd's Hill, Buxted, East Sussex which Maufe restored in the late 1920s. Maufe died on 12 December 1974, his ninety-first birthday, in Uckfield Hospital.[1]

His architectural drawings and correspondence were deposited at the Royal Institute of British Architects headquarters at 66 Portland Place, Marylebone, London.[1] An oil on canvas portrait of him by John Laviers Wheatley was exhibited in 1956 and is in the Primary Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Richardson, Margaret. Maufe, Edward Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 6 November 2011 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ Bradford Telegraph & Argus End in store for Brown, Muffs
  3. ^ a b The National Archives Maufe, Edward National Archives, accessed September 2011
  4. ^ Royal Gold Medal winners list taken from Architecture.Com, accessed September 2011
  5. ^ Nairn & Pevsner 1971, p. 214.
  6. ^ Golders Green Crematorium at Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust
  7. ^ Canvas portrait by John Laviers Wheatley, National Portrait Gallery, exhibited in 1956, accessed November 2011


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