William Harrison Cowlishaw
William Harrison Cowlishaw (1869–1957) was a British architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 of the European Arts and Crafts school
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

 and a follower of William Morris
William Morris
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...


He lived in Norton, Hertfordshire
Norton, Hertfordshire
Norton is a small village in Hertfordshire, one of the three original villages which were absorbed into Letchworth Garden City, the other two being Willian and Old Letchworth. The village is known to have existed by 1007, with remains of the medieval settlement visible as earthworks in a field...

, at that time something of an artists' colony. One of his most famous works is the unusual towered The Cloisters in neighbouring Letchworth Garden City, planned as a theosophical meditation centre and open-air school and which opened in 1907.

An earlier work was "The Cearne" in Crockham Hill
Crockham Hill
Crockham Hill is a village in the Sevenoaks district of Kent, England. It is about south of Westerham, and Chartwell is nearby.The village street is on the line of a Roman road, the London to Lewes Way....

, Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, a house designed for Russian-translator Constance Garnett
Constance Garnett
Constance Clara Garnett was an English translator of nineteenth-century Russian literature...

 and her literary-editor husband Edward Garnett
Edward Garnett
Edward Garnett was an English writer, critic and a significant and personally generous literary editor, who was instrumental in getting D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers published. His father Richard Garnett was a writer and librarian at the British Museum...

. It was built in 1896.

At the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, like many Arts and Crafts architects of the period, he was commissioned by the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves, and places of commemoration, of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars...

 to design memorials and cemetery layouts in Flanders
Ypres Salient
The Ypres Salient is the area around Ypres in Belgium which was the scene of some of the biggest battles in World War I.In military terms, a salient is a battlefield feature that projects into enemy territory. Therefore, the salient is surrounded by the enemy on three sides, making the troops...

 and France under Sir Frederic G. Kenyon
Frederic G. Kenyon
Sir Frederic George Kenyon GBE KCB TD FBA FSA was a British paleographer and biblical and classical scholar. He occupied from 1889 to 1931 a series of posts at the British Museum...

, the Commission's advisor on architecture and layout.

Amongst these smaller cemeteries were Prowse Point
Prowse Point Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery
Prowse Point Military Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial ground for the dead of the First World War located in the Ypres Salient on the Western Front....

, Rifle House
Rifle House Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery
Rifle House Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial ground for the dead of the First World War located near Ypres on the Western Front....

 and Devonshire
Devonshire Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery
Devonshire Cemetery is a small Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial site for some of the Commonwealth troops killed during the Battle of the Somme. It is located near to the village of Mametz...

, all around the area of Ypres
Ypres is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote...


At the Commission, he worked with Charles Holden
Charles Holden
Charles Henry Holden, Litt. D., FRIBA, MRTPI, RDI was a Bolton-born English architect best known for designing many London Underground stations during the 1920s and 1930s, for Bristol Central Library, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's headquarters at 55 Broadway and for the...

, a relationship that continued after the memorial work was completed.
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