Charles Marcus Mander

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1921–2006
 

Very few families, if any, have had such a great an impact on life in Wolverhampton as the Mander family. For over 200 years they ran a progressive and successful business that became one of the area's major employers. The family were actively involved in civic life and occupied nearly every public office in the city and county. Several members of the family served as mayors of Wolverhampton after it achieved borough status and as high sheriffs of Staffordshire.
Sir Charles Tertius Mander (1852–1929), the first baronet, was uniquely four times mayor (1892-96), and an honorary freeman. His son, Sir Charles Arthur Mander (1884–1951), was twice mayor (1932 and in the Coronation year of1936), and also an honorary freeman. Theodore Mander, the builder of Wightwick Manor, was mayor in 1900 and died in office shortly after being presented to Queen Victoria when she travelled through Wolverhampton. Theodore's son, Sir Geoffrey Mander, described as "the last of the Midland radicals", was Liberal MP for Wolverhampton East 1929–45, an anti-Appeaser and a supporter of the League of Nations; he presented Wightwick Manor to the National Trust in 1937.
The City's religious life was also greatly enriched by the family, as liberal philanthropists. Benjamin and John Mander were members of the meeting house that was built by their forebears in St. John's Lane in 1701. They were instrumental in the founding of a chapel in Grey Pea Walk (now Temple Street) in 1782, Princess Street Chapel in 1809, and the Queen Street Congregational Church in 1813. The south door and oak porch in St. Peter's Church were also presented by family members as a tribute to the first baronet, Sir Charles Tertius Mander.

 
Charles Marcus by Compton Collier in 1924
Charles Marcus by Compton Collier in 1924.
 
The third baronet, Sir Charles Marcus Mander, was born in 1921 at the family's home of Kilsall Hall, near Tong, Shropshire, on 22nd September 1921. He was the only child of the second baronet, Sir Charles Arthur Mander and Monica, née Neame, from Kent. Known to his family and friends as 'Marcus', he spent part of his childhood in the Swiss Alps recovering from tuberculosis, and spoke excellent French for the rest of his life.
His formal education began at preparatory school at Wellesley House, followed by Eton College, and later Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Sciences.
Family photo in 1929
Family photo in 1929.
  Charles at the age of five
Charles at the age of five.
Self portrait at the age of sixteen
Self portrait at the age of sixteen.
  At Eton in 1940
At Eton in 1940.
Serving in the Coldstream Guards 1943
Serving in the Coldstream Guards in 1943.
 
  Serving in the Coldstream Guards 1943
Also whilst serving in the Coldstream Guards in 1943.
 
After Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1942, and saw action in North Africa and later at the Salerno Landings in Italy with the Third Battalion. On November 6th, 1943 during fierce fighting at Calabritto, on the slopes on Monte Camino, he was badly wounded and his commanding officer died alongside him. Charles recovered in North Africa and later underwent plastic surgery in London.When he returned home on sick leave, the family friend Sir Malcolm Sargent conducted a performance of Elgar's violin concerto in his honour, describing him as 'a grand fellow, freshly war scarred. but undaunted'. He continued his war service with the Guards' Armoured Division in the Ardennes and finished the war as ADC to Lieutenant-General Robbie Stone, supervising the destruction of U-boat pens in Norway.
 
Charles and Dolores wedding on 24/11/1945
Charles and Dolores wedding on
24th November, 1945.
Charles married Dolores Brodermann of Hamburg in 1945 and their first child Penelope Anne Mary was born in London in September 1946. In October of that year, within a week of demobilisation, he joined the family firm of Mander Brothers, the paint, varnish and printing ink manufacturers. He soon became a director, his main interest being in the company's extensive range of properties, including 57 shops and branches.
Charles's eldest son, Nicholas, was born in March 1950 and followed by a second son, Francis, in December 1952.
Charles converted to Roman Catholicism after a business trip to Damascus in 1957. This caused a major family row and resulted in him being forced out of the family business. He served on many public committees and was High Sheriff of Staffordshire at the time of the Queen's visit to Wolverhampton in 1962.
 
The site of Mander Brothers original works was in the centre of Wolverhampton, surrounded by the town's main shopping areas. In the 1960s, with the aid of Harold Samuel, the property developer, and the Prudential Insurance Company, Sir Charles championed a scheme to redevelop the site into what is now Wolverhampton's premier shopping centre; the Mander Centre. The project received outline planning approval in January 1964 and work soon got under way. This was one of the first purpose-built shopping centres in the country and won several civic awards.
Before the completion of the project in 1968, Charles turned his attention to developing his own land and property in the area. He sold the family house, The Mount, at Tettenhall Wood to be converted into a hotel with 50 bedrooms. He then bought back farmland at Perton that had been requisitioned as a wartime airfield. The 518 acres of land had been blighted for agricultural use by the airfield, and so in 1963 he applied for planning permission for a 500-acre housing development.
High Sheriff in 1963
High Sheriff in 1963.
 
Despite local opposition, during which he became known 'the ogre of Wolverhampton', he finally obtained planning permission after an appeal in 1969. The Labour Housing Minister, Anthony Greenwood, stated that the project was vital for the relief of housing shortages in the West Midlands. In 1972 the site was sold to a housing development firm for 5.5 million pounds, and Perton, the new suburb of Wolverhampton, quickly grew to house 11,500 people.
 
Charles and Dolores at Little Barrow Farm in 2003
Charles and Dolores at Little Barrow Farm in 2003.
In the later part of his life, Charles devoted much time to farming at Little Barrow Farm in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds and enjoyed rural pursuits such as shooting. From 1977 to 1983 he was chairman of Arlington Securities, a property company specialising in science, business and retail parks. The company's projects included the UK's first American-style retail park, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, and leisure developments in France and Spain.
 
He founded London and Cambridge Investments, a company specialising in retirement homes and offices in the North. The economic recession and the property crash in the early 1990s created difficulties. Both Charles and his wife were longstanding Names at Lloyd's and they were hit hard by heavy underwriting losses in the early 1990s.
He was a friendly, charming, family man whose passions included mathematics, astronomy and music, especially Elgar.
Charles also supported Wolverhampton Wanderers and travelled to Moscow with his aunt Daisy St Clair Mander in 1955, when they played Spartak and Dynamo. During the visit he had the distinction of scoring three goals in an unofficial supporters' match.
Charles and Dolores celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in November 2005. Charles died suddenly on the Isle of Wight, on 9th August, 2006, surrounded by his family. He had visited the Island for more than 80 years and long maintained a holiday home there. At 84 years of age, Charles was proud to be the oldest male Mander to have lived since records began in 1290.
A recent photo by Francis Mander
A recent photo by Francis Mander.
 
Dolores survives him with his three children, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, the youngest of whom was born just two days before he died. He is succeeded in the baronetcy by Charles Nicholas, of Owlpen Manor, Gloucestershire.
 

I would like to thank Sir Nicholas Mander for his help in producing this biography and supplying the photographs.Obituaries have appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 15th August 2006, as well as many Midland papers, including the Birmingham Post and the Wolverhampton Express and Star. In addition, Sir Nicholas Mander gave a series of interviews on BBC Midland Radio channels.
A selection from the obituaries which appeared at the time of his death follows.

 

Daily Telegraph Obituary

Sir Charles Mander, Bt

Published: 12:01AM BST 25 Aug 2006

Sir Charles Mander, 3rd Bt, who has died aged 84, inherited a Midlands industrial fortune and became an astute developer of his landed estates, though he later fell victim to the travails of the Lloyd's insurance market.
The Mander family business dated from 1773, when the brothers Benjamin and John Mander established a chemical works in what was then the small market town of Wolverhampton, later branching out into varnishing, japanning and tin plate. This was consolidated in 1845 by the foundation of Mander Brothers, which grew in the late 19th century to be the British Empire's largest manufacturer of paints, printing inks and varnishes.
Charles Mander was the fifth generation of the dynasty, but his direct involvement in the business was short-lived. On demobilisation from the Army in 1946 he joined Mander Brothers, and concerned himself chiefly with its extensive real estate portfolio. With advice from the property magnate Harold Samuel, he championed a scheme to redevelop the original factory site in Wolverhampton - which was to win civic awards as the Mander Centre, one of Britain's first purpose-built shopping centres, after its completion in 1968.
But long before that, Mander's sudden conversion to Roman Catholicism after a business trip to Damascus provoked a bitter family row. He was forced out of the firm, which eventually passed from family ownership, though the brand name survives in the field of inks and coatings.
Mander turned instead to developing the properties which he had inherited. The Mount, an Edwardian mansion in the English Renaissance style at Tettenhall, was sold off to become a 56-bedroom hotel. Under the precedent set at Crichel Down, in Dorset, he was able to buy back farmland at Perton that had been requisitioned for use as a wartime airfield. Although designated "green belt", it was blighted for agricultural use, so he applied in 1963 for planning permission for a 500-acre housing development.
This provoked fierce local opposition; one group dubbed Mander "the ogre of Wolverhampton". But permission was eventually given on appeal in 1969 by the Labour housing minister, Anthony Greenwood, who declared that the project was vital for the relief of housing shortages in the West Midlands. The site was sold to a housebuilding firm in 1972 for £5.5 million, and in due course became a new suburb of Wolverhampton, with 11,500 residents.
Charles Marcus Mander, known to his family and friends as Marcus, was born on September 22 1921 at Kilsall Hall, Shropshire. He was the only son of the second baronet, also Sir Charles, whom he succeeded in 1951, the baronetcy having been created in 1911 for his grandfather, Charles Tertius Mander. Both father and grandfather were Lord Mayors of Wolverhampton. Young Charles spent part of his childhood in the Swiss Alps, recuperating from tuberculosis. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Sciences, but left after a year to be commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1942.
He saw action in North Africa, took part in the landing at Salerno, and was badly wounded in November 1943 in fierce fighting at Calabritto on the slopes of Monte Camino, where his commanding officer was killed beside him. After plastic surgery in London he fought again with the Guards Armoured Division in the Ardennes, and ended the war as ADC to Lieutenant-General "Robbie" Stone, supervising the destruction of U-boat pens in Norway.
In later life, Mander devoted much of his time to farming in Gloucestershire and to country pursuits; he sometimes said he preferred animals to humans. He served on numerous public committees, and was High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1962.
He also maintained a portfolio of business interests: from 1977 to 1983 he was chairman of Arlington Securities, a property company which specialised in science, business and retail parks; but he was not so successful with London & Cambridge Investments, a venture in retirement housing and office developments which came badly unstuck in the economic recession of the early 1990s.
Mander was a charming man who remained cheerful despite financial reversals, and spoke to everyone, high and low, in the same friendly way. He loved music, especially Elgar, and was fascinated by science. Among other interests he liked to conduct archaeological expeditions in remote anchorages of Asia Minor from his motor yacht Mariola which, being painted dove grey, was once impounded as a spy ship by the Greek navy. He was also a supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers (of which his father and grandfather had been president), travelling with the team, and his aunt Daisy, to Moscow in 1955 when they played Spartak and Dynamo; he was proud to have scored two goals in an unofficial supporters' match during the visit.
Mander and his wife were longstanding Names at Lloyd's, and both suffered heavy underwriting losses when the market was hit by catastrophe and scandal in the late 1980s. In 2002 it was reported that Lady Mander had been declared bankrupt with debts of £1.4 million, having declined to settle with Lloyd's for a much smaller sum. L[ittle] Barrow, their mansion in the Cotswolds, had to be sold, but they built a smaller house on family land and retained a holiday home on the Isle of Wight, where Sir Charles died on August 9.
Charles Mander married, in 1945, Dolores Broderman, whose family came from Hamburg; they had two sons and a daughter. The elder son, Nicholas, who was born in 1951, succeeds in the baronetcy.

 

BBC NEWS

City shopping pioneer dies at 84
Sir Charles Mander, the man who founded Wolverhampton's largest shopping complex, has died at the age of 84.
During the 1960s and 70s as director of Mander Brothers, he brought modern-era precinct shopping to the city when he opened the Mander Centre.
During a spell away from the company in 1959, he also founded the village of Perton on family-owned Staffordshire farmlands, now home to 11,500 people.
Sir Charles died on 9 August in Newport, Isle of Wight.
His son Nicky Mander told the BBC how Sir Charles worked in the property interests of the family firm as Britain was undergoing large-scale reconstruction after World War II.
"A lot of people had fond memories of a very kind and an old-fashioned gentleman" -- Nicky Mander
The Mander Centre opened on land family owned in Wolverhampton in 1968, and has since been refurbished.
Mr Mander Jnr said: "There's a wonderful Barbara Hepworth bronze there. It (the centre) is well-known to all Midlanders I think today."
He said although his father could be something of a loner and an intellectual, he was socially very active.
"He read natural sciences at Cambridge, was a mathematician interested in music and laws of harmony, would rather baffle people when he was talking about cosmology and science at dinner parties in London and so on.
"But he was a ball of energy, very much a detail man, never let anything miss his attention, and very kind.
"A lot of people had fond memories of a very kind and an old-fashioned gentleman of such, I'm afraid, we'll never see again."

 

Birmingham Post

Sir Charles Mander dies at 84
Aug 17 2006
By Emma Pinch
Sir Charles Mander, the industrialist who transformed the shape of modern Wolverhampton, has died at the age of 84.
Sir Charles was a land-owner who became an astute property developer. As well as rebuilding the centre of Wolverhampton with one of the first large-scale shopping malls in Britain, the Mander Centre which opened in 1968, he established a township of 11,500 people on his Staffordshire farms at Perton outside Wolverhampton.
The third baronet of a family of public servants and manufacturers who were in the vanguard of the industrial revolution in the Midlands, he was born at the family home of Kilsall Hall, outside Tong, Shropshire, in September 1921.
After childhood years in the Swiss Alps recovering from tuberculosis, he was educated at Eton, where he was encouraged in his life-long passion for music and mathematics, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Science.
He left Cambridge after a year and was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1942, soon seeing action in North Africa and then with the Third Battalion at the Salerno Landings in Italy.
In November 1943, he was "nearly blown to kingdom come" when he was badly wounded in the grisly fighting which followed on, at Calabritto, on the slopes of Monte Camino, as his companions and CO were killed beside him. After recovering in North Africa and plastic surgery in England, the family friend Sir Malcolm Sargent wrote of him as "a grand fellow, freshly war scarred but undaunted".
He fought again with the Guards' Armoured Division in the Ardennes and ended the war as ADC to General Robbie Stone, supervising the destruction of U-boat pens in Norway.
In October 1946, he joined the family firm of Mander Brothers, manufacturers of paint, varnish and printing ink, which was established by his great-great-great-grandfather in Wolverhampton in 1773. He was soon a director in charge of its 57 shops and branches and found his main talent lay in property matters.
He pushed through a scheme to rebuild the company's central Wolverhampton factory and offices, and left others to finish off the four-and-a-half-acre Mander Centre.
Having succeeded to the baronetcy at the age of 28, he sold off the family house, The Mount, at Tettenhall Wood, as a hotel with 50 bedrooms.
He bought back farmland which had been requisitioned during the war years as an airfield, and after a series of planning appeals, won permission to develop 518 acres of land in the green belt.
This led to him being branded "the ogre of Wolver-hampton" by opponents, but he forged ahead with the new township of Perton.
As well as his property interests - he was also chairman of Arlington Securities - Sir Charles farmed in Gloucestershire and was High Sheriff of Staffordshire.
With his aunt Daisy, he was one of the first to visit Moscow in 1955 when Wolverhampton Wanderers played Spartak and Dynamo.
Sir Charles died suddenly in Newport on the Isle of Wight on August 9, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his widow, Dolores, three children, a daughter and two sons, as well as ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, the youngest born two days before he died.
He is succeeded in the baronetcy by Charles Nicholas, of Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire.

 

EXPRESS & STAR

Mander bloodline which built a city

Aug 17, 2006

Sir Charles Mander was a landowner who became an astute property developer, as he turned his estates to account.
He established a township of 11,500 people on his Staffordshire farms at Perton, outside Wolverhampton, and set about rebuilding the centre of Wolverhampton with one of the first large-scale shopping malls in Britain, opened in 1968. He took the helm as chairman of several leading property companies in the city of London.
Sir Charles Marcus Mander was the third baronet of a family of public servants and manufacturers who were in the vanguard of the industrial revolution in the Midlands. He was born at Kilsall Hall, outside Tong, the family home in September 1921.
After childhood years in the Swiss Alps recovering from tuberculosis, he was educated at Eton, where he was encouraged in his life-long passion for music and mathematics, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Sciences, hoping it might one day "come in useful" in the family business.
As the war dragged on, he left Cambridge after a year and was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1942, soon seeing action in North Africa and then with the Third Battalion at the Salerno Landings in Italy.
On November 6 1943, he was 'nearly blown to kingdom come' when he was badly wounded.
After recovering in North Africa and undergoing plastic surgery in England, a family friend Sir Malcolm Sargent wrote of him as "a grand fellow, freshly war scarred but undaunted".
He fought again with the Guards' Armoured Division in the Ardennes. He ended the war as ADC to General Robbie Stone, supervising the destruction of U-boat pens in Norway.
Within a week of demobilisation, in October 1946, he joined the family firm of Mander Brothers, paint, varnish and printing ink manufacturers, established by his great-great-great-grandfather in Wolverhampton in 1773.
He was soon a director in charge of its 57 shops and branches, and found his main talent lay in property matters. He pushed through a scheme to rebuild the company's central Wolverhampton factory and offices, where his forebears had mixed their pigments, taken under the wing of Harold Samuel, the unobtrusive property developer, and the finance men of the Prudential. He left others to finish off the four-and-a-half-acre Mander Centre, as it became known, which won many civic awards and today dominates the heart of the Midland city, with its Mander Square and offices.
He was soon actively developing his own land. Without much sentiment, he sold off the family house, The Mount, at Tettenhall Wood, as a hotel with 50 bedrooms.
He was able to buy back farmland which had been requisitioned during the war years as an airfield, and after a series of planning appeals, he won permission to develop 518 acres of land in the green belt, by then blighted for agriculture.
One of the first local amenity societies was set up to oppose him, and in the press he was vilified as "the ogre of Wolverhampton".
But with his determined energy, a new township of Perton was established. 'New' Perton was soon described as the most affluent suburb of Wolverhampton, housing a population of 11,500 people.
In 1975, he presided as chairman of Arlington Securities in its period of aggressive expansion. Again, he developed new markets, building up one of the first property development groups to specialise in Science and Business Parks - as well as retail developments like Aztec West, outside Bristol, and leisure developments in Spain - before its sale to British Aerospace.
He over-reached when he set up a new company, this time specialising in retirement homes and offices in the North, when he was caught out by the property crash of the early 90s, towards the end of his career.
All that time he was farming quietly and efficiently in Gloucestershire, his men winning prizes for hedge-laying and walling, and he never neglected his shooting and rural interests. He was High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1963 at the time of the Queen's visit, a councillor, and served on Whitehall committees, where his experience in agriculture and industry was invaluable.
With his aunt Daisy, he was one of the first to visit Moscow after the cold war in 1955 when Wolverhampton Wanderers played Spartak and Dynamo; he scored two goals as a 'dashing forward' in an unofficial supporters' match.
He died suddenly on the Isle of Wight - which he had visited for more than 80 years - on August 9, surrounded by his family. He was proud to be the oldest male Mander to have lived since records began in 1290.
He was a family man, and celebrated his diamond wedding to Dolores in November 2005. She survives him with his three children, as well as 10 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, the youngest born two days before he died.
- Sir Charles Marcus Mander, third baronet, industrialist, landowner and man of property, Born Kilsall Hall, Shropshire, September 22, 1921. Died, Newport, Isle of Wight, August 9, 2006 - succeeded in the baronetcy by Charles Nicholas, of Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire.

 

Sudden death of centre founder
By Becky Sharpe
Aug 16, 2006

Sir Charles Marcus Mander, who famously founded Wolverhampton's biggest shopping complex the Mander Centre, has died suddenly at the age of 84.
The businessman revolutionised Wolverhampton's then town centre in the 1960s and 70s and passed away last Wednesday in Newport, the Isle of Wight, it emerged today.
A director of Mander Brothers, he was one of the city's most famous industrialists, also creating the village of Perton on his Staffordshire farm lands.
Eton-educated Sir Charles was born near Tong in the early 1920s and grew up in the Swiss Alps.
In 1946 he joined the family firm of Mander Brothers, the paint, varnish and printing ink manufacturers, established by his family in 1773.
Estate
He was soon the director in charge of its 57 shops and branches.
He later sold off the family home, The Mount at Tettenhall Wood, which became the Mount Hotel.
Sir Charles remained in the area until 1959 before moving his estate to Gloucestershire.
He was the High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1963 and a councillor and was proud to be the oldest male Mander to have lived since records began in 1290.
A colourful character, he was vilified in the Press as "the ogre of Wolverhampton" for his sheer determination to develop the area. His cause of death is not yet known.
He leaves a wife of 60 years, Dolores, a daughter and two sons, 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.