WADE, Charles Paget

1883 - 1956

Charles Paget Wade

Born at 9 Scotts Lane, Shortlands, near Bromley, Kent on 13 February 1883, son of Paget Augustus Wade (1849–1911), part-owner of sugar plantations, and his wife Amy Blanche (1858–1943), daughter of Revd Charles Spencer, a Worcestershire curate. In 1889 Wade, and his younger sister Mary, went to live with his widowed grandmother Katherine Spencer at 15 Wellesley Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk where he attended a school kept by a Miss Haddon. His creativity and imagination took refuge in characters, objects, and scenes found along Yarmouth quayside and town and in ‘family relics of interest’ in the house which ignited his passion for collecting. From 1893 Wade boarded in Eastbourne, firstly at Timsbury School then at St Andrews, and from January 1897 until December 1900 at Lorne House, Uppingham School, enjoying drawing lessons. In 1901, the year that Henry Munro Cautley (1875-1959) joined the practice, Wade was indentured to architect Edward Fernley Bisshopp (1850-1921) at 32 Museum Street, Ipswich, a town that provided a rich and varied collection of buildings to study and sketch and Wade spent many hours at the docks, markets and local antique shops. Wade was drawn to the theatre, attending historical dramas at the Ipswich Lyceum and later visited London theatres. Photographic portraits of him at this time show him in period costume from his own growing collection, in poses and settings reminiscent of postcards depicting the theatre stars he saw perform, such as Sir Henry Irving. On 4 March 1907, Wade qualified as an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was taken on as an assistant to Raymond Unwin of Parker and Unwin, who were working on the Hampstead Garden Suburb in London. Wade's work in the suburb included the design of the tiled arch of Twitten Passage, Asmuns Place, 3 Rotherwick Road, the Great Wall, and the Club House. Unwin recognized that Wade was as much an artist as an architect and had him illustrate his seminal book ‘Town Planning in Practice’ (1909). In December 1911 his father died when he inherited a substantial interest in the family sugar estates, when he left Parker & Unwin and devoted the rest of his life to art and illustrating, producing more than ninety pen-and-ink illustrations for Mary Stratton's ‘Bruges’ (1914). He exhibited at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1911 and at the 1935 and 1936 Cotswold Arts and Crafts Exhibition with paintings from this period. In 1917, whilst serving in the Royal Engineers in France he came across an issue of ‘Country Life’ advertising the sale of Snowshill Manor, a 16th century Cotswold manor house which he purchased, spending three years restoring it. He moved his ever-increasing collection of craftsmanship, which had commenced from the age seven and was chiefly stored in his bedroom at Red House, Yoxford, Suffolk, the Wades' family home in England since 1896. In 1938 Wade agreed in principle with the National Trust to accept Snowshill and his collections at a time of Wade's choosing and in 1939 was a chartered architect living at the Manor House, Cheltenham. He married at Cheltenham registry office on 5 September 1946, Mary McEwan Gore Graham (1902–1999) and they lived a relatively independent lifestyle travelling widely. Throughout his life he annually visited St Kitts and the family sugar estates, staying at his second home, White House and had a strong love for the land and way of life there and by 1951, when he handed Snowshill Manor over to the National Trust, he and his wife were living in St Kitts permanently. During one of his visits to Snowhill he was taken ill and died at Evesham Hospital, Evesham, Worcestershire on 28 June 1956 and is buried in the village churchyard with other members of his family.




Works by This Painter