Wade, John Howard, 1914-1997

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Wade, John Howard, 1914-1997

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John Howard Wade was born 23 March 1914 in Singapore (then part of the Straits Settlements). Educated at Bedford School in England, Wade graduated from the Architectural Association in 1936, shortly thereafter began work with Connell Ward and Lucas in London, and in 1938 became a junior partner with Guy Morgan and Partners. While at Morgan, Wade was responsible for designing a factory for Phillips and Powis Aircraft. In 1939 Wade immigrated to Canada, settling in Vancouver where he got a job with Edmund Dewitt King (1885-1969). On 25 November 1939 Wade married Margaret Towle Taylor (1916-2003), the daughter of Alfred James Towle Taylor (1887-1945), the engineer and businessman responsible for building Vancouver's Lion's Gate Bridge. For two months in the summer of 1939 Wade worked in California for Richard Neutra. After War broke out in September 1939, Wade left his job as an architect and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy. Wade served five years as a Lieutenant-Commander, R.C.N.R., including three afloat aboard destroyers, minesweepers, and corvettes. While in the Navy Wade met Studley Patrick Birley who was also an architect. Following the War Wade had intended to return to Guy Morgan and Partners in London, however, Lord Beaverbrook (William Aitken) suggested he remain in Canada due to conditions in England. Wade was then approached by Birley about forming a new practice, which they did, naming it Birley and Wade. A few months later Charles Dexter Stockdill – a 1938 graduate of the University of Manitoba – joined the firm, which became Birley Wade and Stockdill. In 1950 Birley left the firm. Wade and Stockdill subsequently added two partners: John W. Armour (1927-1986) in 1953, and Peter Blewett (1932-1999) in 1964. In 1974 Wade Stockdill Armour and Blewett split into separate Victoria and Vancouver branches. The Victoria branch became known as Wade Williams, adding as a partner British-born architect Terence John Williams, who had joined the firm in 1971.

John and Margaret had four children: sons Matthew, Simon, and Andrew, and daughter Margo. The Wades lived in a 1922 house at 1538 Beach Drive in Oak Bay, named Bide-a-Wee, which was designed by Samuel Maclure. John Wade retired in 1991 and died in Victoria on 3 November 1997 at age 83.


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