Chalton Bradshaw FRIBA, CBE (1893-1943)

By Michael Barker

Visiting the British School at Rome brought this architect to our notice. He designed its Common Room-Dining Hall in 1924 (in a traditional, rather old-fashioned Italianate style with a high beamed ceiling) and an east wing in 1937 on a domestic scale. Winner of the first British Prix de Rome for Architecture in 1915, Harold Chalton Bradshaw (regularly spelled incorrectly as Charlton), was born in Liverpool (and trained at its School of Architecture). As a Rome scholar he studied the restoration of the town of Praeneste and of the Villa di Papa Giulio – the latter in conjunction with Louis de Soissons (1890-1962) – a fellow Rome scholar – later the architect of CWGC cemeteries in Rome and elsewhere in Italy after the second world war. Bradshaw met Mary Taylor, a classical archeologist, at the British School. They married in 1918; their three sons were to have distinguished careers in their chosen fields.

Bradshaw’s major works from the 1920s for the Imperial War Graves Commission, include the Cambrai Memorial with sculpture by Charles Sargeant Jagger, the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing and its cemetery with sculpture by Gilbert Ledward (1888-1960), and the Guards Division Memorial in St James’s Park, its sculpture by Ledward (in 1913 the first artist to win a scholarship in sculpture to the British School at Rome). War memorials by Bradshaw at Malvern and Fordham were also executed with sculpture by Ledward. In 1934, Ledward co-founded the firm Sculptured Memorials and Headstones, supported by Edwin Lutyens and Eric Gill.

The Bradshaw-Ledward collaboration extended in 1935 to the coat-of-arms on the portal of the road tunnel at Penmaenmawr, North Wales. In Surrey, Bradshaw restored and altered the ancient Burningford Manor, Dunsfold. Both he and Gertrude Jekyll provided schemes for the gardens, though there is no evidence that either was implemented.

Bradshaw was the first secretary of the Royal Fine Arts Commission, established in 1924 (which used to meet in Edwin Lutyens’s 7, St James’s Square – a rebuilding of 1911 for the Farrer brothers). In 1930, Liverpool University awarded him an honorary degree as Master in Architecture. At his death aged 50, Bradshaw was buried at the small, mediaeval round-towered and thatched church of All Saints, Horsey-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, where there is a wall tablet to his memory.