Person    | Male  Died 11/10/1957

Walter Maxted Epps, FRIBA

Categories: Architecture

Both the booklets Changing Times: The Broadway, Bexleyheath, 1812-1912 and Changing Times: 100 years of the Broadway, Bexleyheath, 1912-2012 inform us that Epps was a local resident. As well as designing the tower he had designed a silver key which was used to open the door of the clock tower in the opening ceremony and you can see that happening in the London's Screen Archives film.

LMA has a pdf from the GLC Architects Department concerning building regulations. It lists hundreds of buildings with their architects and dates. Epps' name appears 20 times with dates ranging approx. 1901-1936, often associated with Industrial buildings and often in partnership with Claude V. Ponder or others. A good proportion of Epps' buildings on the list are industrial, such as the Brehmer Folding Box Factory. The Bexleyheath clock tower does seem to have been his masterwork.

Our picture comes from the film of the opening ceremony. The ceremony is described in the Changing Times booklets and from that we deduce that the man standing on the platform facing the camera in this screen shot is Epps. (OK, it's not a great picture of Epps - you find a better one!)

Our colleague, Andrew Behan, was unable to find another photograph of the man but ascertained more information about him.

Walter Maxted Epps was born in Islington, the fourth of the six children of William Epps (b.1842) and Elizabeth Mary Epps née Chandler (1839-1927). His birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1872 in the Hackney registration district which means that his year of birth could have been either 1871 or 1872. On 10 March 1872 he was baptised at St John of Jerusalem Church, South Hackney, where the baptismal register shows the family living at 26 Devonshire Road, Hackney, and that his father was an accountant.

In the 1881 census he is shown as a scholar living in Station Road, Birchington, Thanet, Kent, with his mother and three siblings: Catherine Jane Epps (1869-1912), Elizabeth May Epps (1874-1953) and William Chandler Epps (1876-1955), together with a female domestic servant. His mother was described as a school mistress. He had two older brothers who were living away from the family home: Edward William Epps (1862-1934) was a hosier's commercial clerk living at 119 Wood Street in the City of London and Henry Epps (1865-1925) was a draper's apprentice residing at 33 High Street, Ramsgate, Kent.

He was articled to Messrs Langham and Cole from 1888-1892 and he was described as an architect's clerk in the 1891 census living at 67 Queen Street, Ramsgate, with his widowed mother and three siblings: Catherine, Elizabeth and William. His mother was shown as a ladies & children's outfitter, Catherine was a draper's assistant, Elizabeth was a dressmaker and William was a scholar. Also living at the property were a female dressmaker's assistant and a female domestic servant.

On 20 November 1899 he married Florence Mary Moorcroft (1877-1964) at St Matthew's Church, Brixton, where the marriage register shows him as an architect living at 107 Helix Road, Brixton whilst his wife was residing at 381 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, the daughter of Samuel Moorcroft, also an architect.

The 1901 census shows him as an architect's assistant still residing at 107 Helix Road, Brixton, with his wife, their son Stanley Moorcroft Epps (1900-1993), his mother, a male boarder and a female general domestic servant. 

In 1908 he moved to 'Fernleigh', Freta Road, Bexley Heath, Kent, and was made an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects (A.R.I.B.A), On 1 April 1911 he was initiated as a freemason into the North Kent Lodge No.2499 whose records show he was an architect living in Bexley Heath.

When he completed his census return on 2 April 1911 he stated he was an architect/surveyor living in a seven roomed house at 'Fernleigh', 38 Freta Road, Bexley Heath, Kent, with his wife, their two children: Stanley and Marjorie Florence Epps (1902-2004), his widowed mother, his widowed mother-in-law Mary Campling Moorcroft née White (1854-1944), his widowed sister-in-law Amy Lydia Jennaway née Moorcroft (1875-1965), together with a female general domestic servant.

Kelly's Directory of Kent lists him in 1913 and 1918 at 251 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent. Along with 25 other freemasons he petitioned the United Grand Lodge of England to form a new masonic lodge and on 14 March 1921 a warrant was issued to create the Gavelkind Lodge No.4266 and it was consecrated on 9 June 1921.

Telephone directories from 1920 to 1922 listed him as Epps, Walter M., A.R.I.B.A., Architect, 616 Bank Chambers, 329 High Holborn, WC1, but from 1923 to 1925 he had an additional listing at Bungalow, Kidbrooke Gardens, SE3. In the 1927 & 1928 telephone directories he is shown at both the same addresses but his post nominal letters had changed to F.R.I.B.A. Telephone directories from 1930 to 1935 only listed him at the SE3 address. From 1935 to 1940 he was listed at 60 Hardy Road, SE3.

In the 1939 England and Wales Register he is shown as a retired architect & director, living at 'Cleveland' Gunns Farm, Liphook, Hampshire, with his wife, their unmarried daughter Marjorie who was described as a teacher of music, his widowed sister-in-law Amy Lydia Epps née Moorcroft née Jennaway (1875-1965), his daughter-in-law Joan Lena Epps née Catchpole (1904-1972) and his widowed mother-in-law Mary Campling Moorcroft née White. Telephone directories from 1939 to 1956 listed him at Cleveland House, Liphook, Hampshire.

Probate records confirm his address had been 'Cleveland', Gunns Farm, Liphook and that he died, aged 85 years, on 11 October 1957 at Whitehanger Nursing Home, Fernhurst, Sussex. Probate of his estate was granted on 23 December 1957 jointly to his son and daughter the Reverend Stanley Moorcroft Epps and Miss Marjorie Florence Epps. His effects totalled £14,375-15s-0d.

Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk

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Walter Maxted Epps, FRIBA

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Coronation of King George V

This is the foundation stone of the tower.

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