BRADSHAW,  H  Chalton  [1893-1943]

Harold Chalton Bradshaw was one of the many eminent architects that the city of Liverpool has produced. He was born on 15th February 1893 to working-class parents John Henry and Welsh-born Ada. (Her maiden name being Chalton all their children carried this as their middle name and in Harold’s case it was by this name that he was generally known). His father was a clerk in a furnishings business and the family lived at 16 White Rock Street L6. They subsequently lived at 17 Gresham Street L7 and by 1911, with six children and John Henry having advanced to the position of ‘furniture dealer manager’ they were living in the salubrious surroundings of Wavertree at 30 Heathfield Road. By this time H. Chalton Bradshaw was an 18 year-old architecture student.

Bradshaw studied at the Liverpool School of Architecture under Charles Reilly and in his autobiography (Scaffolding in the Sky) he recalls his delight at his student gaining the first English Prix de Rome, a scholarship of £200 p.a. to study at the British School in Rome. Reilly served on the Faculty of Architecture for the Rome school but as Bradshaw was ‘his’ candidate he kept away from the judging. Once his success was confirmed Reilly lost no time in extolling the young man’s exceptional qualities and abilities and predicting a great future. Apparently some of his colleagues were less than convinced that a ‘provincial’ such as Bradshaw could aspire to the heights of the professions, so Reilly was delighted to note (writing in 1938) that his protegé was “now Secretary to the Royal Fine Arts Commission, the friend of Prime Ministers and the best teller of stories in the Athenæum…I expect soon to see his CBE turned into a KBE.It certainly should be.”

The Rome Prize certainly turned out to be the launching pad of a very successful career, sadly cut short by his untimely death aged just 50 in 1943, and before Reilly’s predicted knighthood had been conferred.

Some of his most notable works were undertaken for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They included the Cambrai Memorial for the Missing in France, the Ploegsteert Memorial and Cemetery in Belgium and the Guards Memorial erected in 1926 in St. James Park.

He became the first secretary of the Royal Fine Arts Commission in 1924. He collapsed and died at his office in Burlington Gardens in October 1943 and was buried at the Church of All Saints, Horsey-next-the-Sea in Norfolk. There is a wall tablet to his memory in the church.

Bradshaw married Mary Taylor, an archaeologist, in 1918 and they had three sons, one of whom, Anthony, became Professor of Botany at Liverpool University and was the first person to be made a Liverpool Citizen of Honour in 2008.

White Rock Street

The Bradshaw's house at number 16 has long since been demolished but this photo from the 1960's gives an idea of the housing.

17 Gresham Street L7

Bradshaw's home at start of 20th century.

30 Heathfield Road L15

Bradshaw's home at the time he was studying architecture at Liverpool University


There is no single major source on H Chalton Bradshaw. Basic details can be found in the Wikipedia entry and there is some more information on a web page run by The Lutyens Trust.