Harry Tatham Sudbury 1877-1959

Harry Tatham Subury was born at Oakwell Farm, Derby Road, Ilkeston, on June 10th 1877, the second son of Arthur William and Sarah (nee Tatham).

The following description (slightly edited) is taken from the personal and family recollections of Paul Maltby Robinson who was a first cousin once removed of Harry. (Paul’s mother was Alice Mary Maltby, a first cousin of Harry).

“There is no doubt that Harry’s style of architecture was well ahead of his time. I have always understood that his first commission was given to him by my grandfather George Maltby for whom he designed and built the Red House, Wharncliffe Road, in 1899. In those days architects would personally supervise the building work and make sure the job was well done. And from my own memory I know that local builders regarded him as a bit of a martinet; if important work was done in his absence and covered up, he would insist on it being opened up again for inspection if he thought it desirable. The result of course were that his houses were exceptionally well built.

The Red House quickly made his reputation and subsequently won him the commission of the Congregational Church, built I believe in 1904. Meanwhile on Wharncliffe Road, he designed Wandsley (Wanderley?) House (number 58) — the house I was born in and still live in, which was a wedding present from my grandfather to his eldest daughter, my mother. Other commissions given to him by my grandfather in Harry Sudbury’s early career included Hallam Mills (1908)

From the Derbyshire Historic Environment Record (with a couple of added corrections)

George Maltby built the single-storey factory in Little Hallam Lane in 1907/1908. This factory, 60 yards long by 30 yards wide, housed a mixed plant of 18 Jardine, Spridgeon and Cooper’s Levers machines, a blacksmith’s forge, fitters’ rooms, engine house, and the drawing and partners’ offices. An adjoining building was later erected in which George’s son, Christopher, worked two Saurer embroidery machines. George died in 1923 and his executors ran the company until 1928.  It was designed by Harry Tatham Sudbury for George Maltby JP. The factory is built of red brick beneath a natural slate roof. The factory offices address Little Hallam Lane; they are single storey. There are five windows set beneath flat arches and a stone pediment inscribed “Hallam Mills 1907”. To the rear, the lace factory has a northlight roof and a battered square chimney. (It was demolished in 2019)

Near to this he built houses for his two sons, Sudbury Maltby and Chris (Bernard ?) Maltby, known as Appletree Cottage and the Birdcroft. All these were built well before the 1914 war and of course, long before Birdcroft Lane and all its houses which were built after the 1945 war.

Further private houses of this period include the pair opposite the Red House, 53 and 54 Wharncliffe Road, built I believe for the Sutton family but inhabited in my earliest memory by James Rowell the draper and F.P.C.Walker, the first headmaster of the County Secondary School.

Also Woodlands for Frederick Percival Sudbury and Meadowcroft for Ewart Sudbury, both in Stanton Road; whether the latter was the first of its particular type I do not know (oblong, butressed corners and hipped roof) but certainly it was one of several similar pattern erected before 1914 …. for example, Brooklands, Little Hallam Hill (for Charlesworth Bennett Wood), the Outlook at the top (number 18?) of Quarry Hill (for Gilbert Oliver), the house on High Lane East (for Harry Tatham) and, I believe, the three pairs of semi detached houses built for the Stanton Iron Works Co. on Quarry Hill Road, Stanton by Dale (which are appreciatively mentioned in the September 1984 number of Derbyshire Life and Countryside). Certainly Sudbury was also responsible for the main Stanton office building and many other buildings in that area. I must of course, also mention his own house, Wayside, Longfield Lane, in which he lived until he died. He must also have designed the Franicis Sudbury Memorial Homes in Park Road erected in 1910.

I think it is fair to say that Sudbury was building houses from 1899 onwards of the type which only became standard practice years later (between the wars). For comparison perhaps the nearest competitors in ‘modernity’ would be the solid Edwardian houses on Heanor Road between the Northern Station (now demolished) and the (old) Hospital. But the general fashion was still decorated Victorian — for example, Holyrood, number 46 Wahrncliffe Road (built after the Red House);its sister Leighton House (opposite Victoria Park entrance, built for George Andrew, the ironmonger; Galtee House (built for Dr John Joseph Tobin, on the corner of Manor Lane and Heanor Road; also Cotswold House and Oaklands (both in Lord Hasddon Road either side of Fulwood Street, built for Horace Moss and John Ormond); and numerous other houses in the Bristol Road, Drummond Road and Lord Haddon area. None of these could possibly be mistaken for a Sudbury house.

When building resumed after the 1918 Armistace, quite a lot of the first ‘Council Houses’ were designed by Harry Tatham Sudbury for Ilkeston Borough and Shardlow R.D.C.

In his later career I can personally remember the Croft (for A Booth) and the Manse, both in Wharncliffe Road, and many of the houses in Oakwell Drive land St. Andrews Drive. Later still, the new Field House in Field Roads for Dr Francis Bennett Sudbury. He was also responsible for the offices of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Electric Power Co. offices in White Lion Square; these were originally only of two stories, provision being made for the third storey which was added later.

Eventually Harry Tatham Sudbury established his offices in the former Rutland Estate Office in nLord Haddon Road (now known as Rutland Chambers). He had a very capable assistant called Ordish who built for himself one of the eartliest houses at Breadsall Hill Top. 

Sudbury’s house plans were beautifully drawn in the greates detail, and it is very much hoped that the copies deposited with Ilkeston Corporation of his earliest works, have been and will be, zealously preserved and perhaps exhibited sometime in the Erewash Museum.