Very few families, if any, have had such a great an impact on life in Wolverhampton as the Mander family. For many years they ran a large and successful business that became one of the area’s major employers. They were greatly involved in civic life and several members of the family were mayors of Wolverhampton. Sir Charles Tertius Mander, the first baronet, was uniquely four times mayor (1892-96), and honorary freeman. Sir Charles Arthur Mander was twice mayor (1932 and coronation year 1936), and an honorary freeman. Samuel Theodore was mayor in 1900 and died in office.

The City’s religious life was also greatly enriched by the family. Benjamin and John Mander were members of the meeting house that was built in St. John's Lane in 1701 and 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 ornate lobby in St. Peter’s Church were also presented by family members as a tribute to the family’s first baronet, Sir Charles Tertius Mander (1852-1929).

Charles Marcus by Compton Collier in 1924.
The third baronet, Sir Charles Marcus Mander, was born in the family’s home at Kilsall Hall, near Tong, Shropshire on 22nd September, 1921, the only child of the second baronet, Sir Charles Arthur Mander.

Known to his family and friends as Marcus, he spent part of his childhood in the Swiss Alps while 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.


Charles at the age of five.

Self portrait at the age of sixteen.


At Eton in 1940.

Serving in the Coldstream Guards in
Also whilst serving in the Coldstream Guards in 1943.
Commissioned to the Coldstream Guards in 1942, he 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.

Family friend Sir Malcolm Sargent described 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 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’ 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. 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.


Mander Brothers original site 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, 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 underway. 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’s house, The Mount, at Tettenhall Wood to be converted into a hotel with 50 bedrooms. He then brought 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.

Despite local opposition, during which he became known as “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.

In the later part of his life, Charles devoted much time to farming in rural Gloucestershire and greatly 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.

Things didn’t go as well with two of his last ventures near the end of his career. He founded London and Cambridge Investments, a company specialising in retirement homes and offices in the north. Things went very wrong due to the economic recession and the property crash in the early 1990s. Both Charles and his wife were Names at Lloyds and they were hit hard by heavy underwriting losses in the early 1990s.
He was a friendly, charming, family man whose passions included mathematics, archaeology and music, especially Elgar. Charles also supported Wolverhampton Wanderers and travelled to Moscow with his Aunt Daisy 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 at Newport, Isle of Wight, on 9th August, 2006, surrounded by his family. He had visited the Isle of Wight 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.

Dolores survives him with his three children, 10 grandchildren and 7 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 Charles Nicholas Mander for his help in producing this biography and supplying the photographs.

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