Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Maud Amy Margaret White (née Wall) (1891–1959)

Mayor of Oxford 1942/3

Maud Amy Margaret Wall (Mrs John White) was born in India on 12 May 1891. She was the daughter of the civil engineer Benson Parsick Wall and Jessie Margaret Wilson, who were married in India.

Maud appears to have grown up in India, as on 30 September 1898 her father was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the infantry of the Indian Army Reserve of Officers.

Maud joined the Women's Royal Naval Service on 28 January 1918 and served as a Chief Officer. She was awarded an MBE (Military Division) in 1919.

After the war she entered the Liverpool School of Architecture, and became an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1925. She was the first woman architect to be employed by London County Council.

On 24 May 1928 at St John the Evangelist Church, Holborn, London, Maud Amy Margaret Wall (37), described as an architect of 35 St George's Mansions, married Captain John White (58) of Temple Cowley, an instructor captain in the Royal Navy.

Maud came to live in Oxford with her husband. They do not appear to have had any children.

Her husband John White died at Temple Farm, Cowley on 28 January 1934 at the age of 63 and was buried at Cowley St James Church on 31 January.

The newly widowed Mrs White was elected to the City Council as a Conservative later in 1934 (the first women ever to represent Cowley & Iffley Ward), and retained her seat in 1937.

The 1939 register shows Mrs White, described as a councillor of the city of Oxford and a retired chartered architect, living at Temple Close with a housekeeper. At the outbreak of the Second World War that year she was temporarily recalled to the WRNS.

She returned to Oxford in June 1940 for family reasons (probably to look after her father) and resumed her seat on the council.

Her father Benson Parsick Wall was living at Temple Close, Iffley Turn (probably with Maud and her husband) when he died at the Radcliffe Infirmary on 10 February 1940 at the age of 74. He was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery on 13 February (Grave J4/27). His effects came to £2935 2s. 9d., and Maud and Miss Jessie Irene Wall were his executors. He was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

In 1942 Mrs White was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1942/3).

Her mother Jessie Margaret Wall died at Leys Close, Abberbury Road,, Iffley on 6 June 1948 at the age of 80 and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery on 9 June. Her effects came to £1166 5s. 5d., and her executors were Mrs White and Miss Jessie Irene Wall.

Mrs White lost her seat on the council after moving over from the Conservative to the Labour Party, but was later returned for the same ward as a Labour councillor.

On 3 January 1953 Jessie Irene Wall of Leys Close, Abberbury Road, Iffley died at the age of 62 and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery on 7 January. Her effects came to £721 9s. 6d., and Mrs Wall was her executor.

Mrs White retired from the council through ill health in October 1955.

† Mrs Maud Amy Margaret White née Wall was living at Rick House, 101 Church Way, Iffley when she died at the Acland Nursing home at the age of 68 on 25 May 1959. She was buried in St James's churchyard in Cowley on 29 May.

Her effects came to £45.510 13s. 9d., and her executors were Commander Peter White R.N. and Miss Phillis Gertrude Clarke.

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©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 6 December, 2018

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