The architect Paul Mauger was not a famous name even in his heyday, which was from the 1930’s to the mid 1950’s. However, his designs form an important part of mid-century architecture in Hertfordshire, as well as for the Methodist church for whom he designed many buildings. Never an out and out modernist, Mauger incorporated the Arts and Crafts tradition and traditional vernacular designs into his work. Mauger was born on January 7th 1896 in Camden and attended the Friends School in Saffron Walden. After passing his architectural qualifications, he was assistant at a number of firms, including those of Easton & Robertson and Maxwell Ayrton. He also travelled to Europe extensively, and worked for 3 years in British Palestine.
Maugers first major works were for a number of houses in Hampstead Garden Suburb, and a little later he also designed some in Jordans, Buckinghamshire. Mauger moved to Welwyn Garden City at the end of the 1920’s and would spend the rest of his life there. He built a house for himself in the Pentley Park area of town in 1937, by far the most modernist building he designed. Situated next to a similarly designed house by E.C. Kaufmann (also known as EC Kent), No.26 Pentley Park takes its influence from the cubist Central European houses of the 1920’s and 30’s, and is one of the few inter war modernist houses in the town. More representative of his work are the 6 brick houses with steeply tiled roofs on Reddings, which won Mauger a Housing Design Medal in 1955.
Mauger and his firm, first known as Paul Mauger & Partners and later Mauger, Gavin, Mathers & Mitchell, would also design larger housing schemes for local councils. Among these were six small estates for Braughing RDC, the Chantry estate in Billericay, and many houses for Welwyn Hatfield UDC. The partnership also became known for its Methodist Halls and Friends Meeting Houses. Mauger was a Quaker, and the firm produced Friends Meeting houses in Hitchin (1957), Stansted (1958) and Slough (1962).The company designed many Methodist Churches in the South East; in nearby Digswell (1964), Hackney (1959), Bow (1951) and Harlow (1952) among many others. They also designed the Central Methodist Hall in Islington (1963) in an unusual wedge shape to fit the plot and features a patterned brick end wall. George Mathers handled many of the church designs for the practice. He joined the firm after meeting a visiting Mauger at Wormwood Scrubs, where Mathers was imprisoned for being a Conscientious Objector. Mauger offered Mathers a job after his release and he worked for Mauger until 1960 when he set up his own practice.
Mauger lived in Welwyn until his death in 1982, building another house for himself in Welwyn village, where he had also moved his office. Mauger and his firm weren't just limited to houses and churches. They designed sports pavilions, old people's homes, schools, nurseries and undertook restoration work. But it is the houses which have proved Maugers lasting legacy. From his individually detailed private houses to his sensitively landscaped public estates, Maugers domestic buildings have proved enduringly popular with their residents due to their combination of urban and rural. Largely unlauded when they were first built, Maugers houses are still inhabited throughout Hertfordshire and beyond.
An Introduction to the forgotten work of Paul Victor Edison Mauger by Oliver Bradbury
The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire by Nikolas Pevsner & Bridget Cherry