Architectural Archives

John Bernard Mendham Collection (072)

The collection comprises fifty-five architectural drawings spanning the years 1914-1936, documenting twenty-one designs by John Bernard Mendham.

Biographical / Historical Sketch

John Bernard Mendham was born in Chepstow, Wales in 1888, eldest son of Clement A. Mendham, a civil engineer who worked on the construction of the Severn Tunnel.  In his youth, he lived for eleven years in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where his father was engaged in constructing new dockyards.  He was trained in architecture at the School of Arts, Birmingham, England and worked in various surveying, engineering and architectural offices there.  He opened his own architectural practice in Birmingham in 1911. 

He gave up his practice in 1914 to enter the British armed forces at the outbreak of World War I.  After he was injured in 1917, he served as resident engineer for the Air Ministry until 1919.  After the war, he worked as superintending architect for the Ministry of Agriculture.  In 1923, he returned to private practice, opening an office in London.  His practice included engineering works, public buildings, schools, cinemas, hospitals, laboratories, churches and the laying out of roads and sewers.  During World War II, he served the military as engineer and architect.  After the war, he resumed private practice.  Mendham was a Fellow of the Surveyors Institute, Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects and Member of the Society of Architects.  He died in Tunstall, Kent, England in 1951.

Biographical information for this sketch was obtained in 2002 from unpublished and published material in a biographical file maintained by the RIBA Library & Infomation Centre, London.

Scope & Content Note

The collection comprises fifty-five original architectural drawings documenting twenty-one designs (1914-1936) by John Bernard Mendham.  The bulk of the collection documents his practice after 1923.  A number of undated designs are found, but only one drawing (dated 1914) clearly represents his practice in Birmingham before World War I.  The collection contains no material related to Mendham's work for the military during the world wars.