Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Mountford, Edward William

MOUNTFORD, EDWARD WILLIAM (1855–1908), architect, born on 22 Sept. 1855 at Shipston-on-Stour, Worcestershire, was son of Edward Mountford by his wife Eliza Devonshire, daughter of William and Mary Richards of Northampton. After private education at Clevedon, Somersetshire, he was articled in 1872 to Habershon & Pite, architects, Bloomsbury Square, London. Starting independent practice in 1881, he achieved distinction by winning in 1890 the open competition for the Sheffield town hall. Throughout his career Mountford was exceptionally successful in competitions. The Museum and Technical School at Liverpool, an important group of buildings near St. George's Hall, followed shortly after the Sheffield work.

In Battersea he erected the town hall and the Polytechnic, and among other London buildings he designed St. Olave's grammar school, Southwark (1893); the Northampton Institute, Clerkenwell (1898); and finally his chief work, the Central Criminal Court at Old Bailey, occupying the site of Newgate Prison (1907) [see Dance, George, the younger].

Mountford believed in the association of first-rate sculpture and painting with architecture, and the Central Criminal Court affords a good example of such a union of the arts. His style developed from a free Renaissance method as exhibited at Sheffield to the more normal classic of the Old Bailey. He became an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1881 and a fellow in 1890. He was for fourteen years a member of the council. In 1893-5 he was president of the Architectural Association. Though failing in health he was in January 1908 one of the eight specially selected competitors for the designing of the London County Council Hall. He died at his residence, 11 Craven Hill, London, W., on 7 Feb. 1908.

Mountford was twice married: (1) on 28 June 1888 to Jessie Elizabeth, daughter of John Saunders Smith of Northampton; (2) on 11 July 1903 to Dorothy, daughter of A. G. Hounsham of Hampstead Heath. He had a son by his first marriage, and a daughter by his second.

[R.I.B.A. Journal, vol. xv. 3rd ser. 1908, p. 274; Builder, 15 Feb. 1908; Architectural Rev., March 1908, xxiii. 136; information from Mr. F. Dare Clapham.]

P. W.