Labourers' cottages named "Wykehamica", 1895 © RIBA
Competition design country parsonage, Building News Designing Club, 1895 © RIBA
Semi-detached houses, Gyllyngvase Terrace, Falmouth, 1907 © RIBA

1898 Ethel Mary Charles first female member of the RIBA
1900 Bessie Ada Charles (sister) second female member of the RIBA
1905 First woman to address an architectural society in Great Britain
1906 Receives Silver Medal for Architecture

1891 Trained as architects under the partnership of Ernest George and Harold Peto.
1896 University extension courses, Bartlett School of Architecture, receiving distinctions
1898 Passed the RIBA examinations for associate membership

Main Projects

1895 Labourers’ cottages “Wykehamica”
1895 Competition entry: country parsonage of the Building News Design Club
1905 Alterations and additions 3 and 4 Cambridge Place, Falmouth, Cornwall
1906 Design for housing Gyllyng Road, Falmouth, Cornwall
1907 Designs for housing Gyllyngvase Terrace, Falmouth, Cornwall
1909 First prize church design Germany

Ethel May Charles

Architect (1871 – 1962)

“The successful application of Ethel Charles in 1898 and her sister, Bessie Charles in 1900 to become members of the RIBA brought debates about women’s role in architecture to a head and provoked a fire-storm of reaction.”

    Golden Age or False Dawn? Women Architects in the
    early 20th century by Lynne Walker

In 1898 Ethel Mary Charles became the first female Royal Institute of British Architects’ associate and two years later she was joined by her sister, Bessie Charles. The only surviving reference to her work on large-scale designs, an untraced prize-winning church in Germany won amongst 200 competitors in 1905. The same year she was awarded the RIBA Silver Medal.

download profile:
Ethel Charles and Bessie Charles

further links:
English Heritage Women’s history
Gender space architecture: an interdisciplinary introduction by Jane Rendell, Barbara Penner, Iain Jorden