Born Archibald Davis Dawnay. Mayor of Wandsworth 1908 - his death in 1919. We can find nothing about the man but here's some information about his company, from the magnificent Grace's Guide, in 1930: "Archibald D. Dawnay and Sons, Ltd., Constructional Engineers, ... have their head offices and works at Steelworks Road, Battersea, ... and further branch works at King's Dock, Swansea; Welwyn Garden City; East Moors, Cardiff; and Norwich. This firm is one of the largest Structural engineering firms in the country ..." "Their speciality is the fabrication of all classes of Structural steelwork..."
"The firm was founded in 1870 by the late Sir Archibald D. Dawnay, and incorporated in 1897, being first conducted from offices in the City of London, but later a move was made to works Nine Elms. A second works was established at East Moors, Cardiff; and in 1908 the volume of business necessitating greater works accommodation, the London establishment was transferred to the present head offices and works at Battersea." "There is also an office in Victoria Street, Westminster, the engineering "centre of gravity" of the metropolis, etc."
We originally published the above in 2020 including an image of an aviation hanger taken from the http://www.aviationancestry.co.uk/?searchQuery=Dawnay&startYear=1909&endYear=1980 website. In 2023 our colleague, Andrew Behan, found an image of the man and provided the following information.
Archibald Davis Dawnay was born in 1841 in Christian Malford, Wiltshire, the eldest child of Frederick Archibald Dawnay (1809-1860) and Jane Emma Dawnay née Murrell (1816-1885). His birth was registered in the 3rd quarter of 1841 in the Chippenham registration district, Wiltshire.
In the 1851 census he is shown as aged 9 years and as a 'scholar at home', living in Twerton, Somerset, with his parents and three siblings: Frederick John Dawnay (1845-1893) John Murrell Dawnay (1848-1917) and Sarah Jane Dawnay (1849-1901). His father was listed as a railway clerk.
He was described on the 1861 census as 'articled as architect' living at No.12 Twerton East, Twerton, Somerset, with his widowed mother who was listed as a fund holder, together with four siblings: Sarah Jane Dawnay, Ann Elizabeth Dawnay (1853-1935), George Robert Dawnay (1853-1928) and Geneve Dawnay (1856-1914).
On 23 September 1868 he was initiated as a Freemason in the Lodge of United Pilgrims No.507 that met at Horns Tavern, Kennington Park Road, Kennington. The masonic registers show that he was living at 37 Maismore Square, Peckham and he was described as an architect. (Maismore Square was subsequently renamed and is now called Leyton Square).
His marriage to Vaile Elizabeth Munt (1845-1874) was registered in the 1st quarter of 1869 in the South Stoneham registration district, Hampshire and they went on to have three children: Archibald Hugh Payan Dawnay (1870-1918), Osmond Dawnay (1872-1919) and Percy St John Dawnay (1874-1922).
His occupation was recorded as a civil engineer & architect in the 1871 census that showed him living at 78 Peckham Park Road, Peckham, Camberwell, with his wife, their son Archibald Hugh Payen Dawnay, his mother, two brothers: John Murrell Dawnay & George Robert Dawnay and two sisters: Ann Elizabeth Dawnay & Geneve Dawnay.
His wife died, aged 29 years, on 15 November 1874 and was buried on 23 November 1874 in Square 60, Grave 4429 in Camberwell Old Cemetery, Forest Hill Road, London, SE22 0RU. On 30 October 1875 he married his late wife's elder sister, Isabella Munt (1845-1903) in St Paul's Church, Bristol, Gloucestershire, where in the marriage register he is described as a widower and a civil engineer from Peckham, whilst his wife was shown as a spinster living in Bristol, the daughter of John Wood Munt (1820-1880) a leather merchant.
He was still described as a civil engineer in the 1881 census, living at Nares House, Barry Road, Camberwell, with his wife and his three sons. Electoral registers in 1890 show him listed a 89 Barry Road, Camberwell.
The 1891 census continued to show him as a civil engineer but now residing at 220 Peckham Rye, Camberwell, with his wife, his three sons and a female domestic servant. His eldest son was described as a medical student whilst his two younger sons were listed as civil engineering students.
He was still at 220 Peckham Rye at the time of the 1901 census, again shown as a civil engineer, living there with his wife, a female general domestic servant and a male domestic gardener.
The death of his second wife, aged 53 years, was registered in the 1st quarter of 1903 in the Camberwell registration district and she was buried on 10 January 1903 in Square 60, Grave 9143 in Camberwell Old Cemetery, Forest Hill Road, London, SE22 0RU.
On 30 April 1904 he married his third wife Florence Eleanor Theresa Annegarn (1865-1943) in St John the Evangelist Church, East Dulwich, where the marriage register shows him aged 62 years, a widower and an engineer, living at 220 Peckham Rye, whilst his wife was described as aged 39 years, a spinster, living at 109 Hindmans Road, East Dulwich, the daughter of Christian Annegarn, an accountant.
Electoral registers from 1905 show him listed at 4 Cedars Road, Clapham and on 10 December 1909 he joined the Wandsworth Borough Council Lodge No.2979 that met at the Trocadero Restaurant, Shaftesbury Avenue, Westminster, the masonic registers showing him as a civil engineer. He was still at this address at the time of the 1911 census when it was described as a 13 roomed property and was living there with his wife and two female domestic servants. He described himself a constructional engineering civil engineer.
The London Wiki website not only informs that he had the army rank of Lieutenant-Colonel but that in 1906 he was elected to Wandsworth Borough Council as a Municipal Reform Party councillor for the Clapham North Ward. In 1908 he was elected Mayor of Wandsworth and was serving his tenth consecutive term as mayor when he died. He was mayor throughout World War I, and was largely responsible for the raising of the 13th (Service) Battalion (Wandsworth), East Surrey Regiment. He was created a Knight Bachelor in the 1918 New Year Honours List for local and patriotic services in the extension of allotments, the training of men, and the Chairmanship of War Funds
He died, aged 76 years, at his home at 4 Cedars Road on 23 April 1919 from an embolism, probably due to a fall getting into a carriage a few days earlier. He was buried on 30 April 1919 in Camberwell Old Cemetery, Forest Hill Road, London, SE22 0RU. When probate was granted on 2 August 1919, jointly to his widow and to the Public Trustee, his effects totalled £93,154-12s-0d.
He is commemorated as Archibald D. Dawnay on the King Edward VII statue in Tooting.