Irene Mawer’s second husband, Mark Edward Perugini, was born in Chiswick, London. Through the kindness of researchers, I have learned that he came from an affluent and creative family. I don’t know if Mawer’s family background was creative, but she was certainly born into wealth in the same way that Mark was. Co-incidentally, she was forced to accept reduced financial circumstances due to the death of her father – which was also the same situation for Mark Edward Perugini.
Around the time of Mark’s birth in 1876, the Perugini family lived at 26 Priory Rd, Bedford Park, Chiswick (1). The road was renamed as Priory Avenue in 1946 and a section of the road, including number 26 was renumbered by adding 6 to each house,thereby making 26 Priory Road into 32 Priory Avenue!
The Bedford Park area of Chiswick was extremely fashionable: “It was a place that attracted artists, writers and actors as well as other representatives of the respectable middle classes…Though the houses were large, it was not famous for catering to the wealthiest, but instead attracted residents with relatively modest means looking to take part in the rich cultural life there’ (1).
The creative and artistic family traits can be seen in Mark’s parents, Florence and Edward Charles Perugini, who were both on the stage circa 1865-1879 (4) (5). I have a feeling that this was either amateur or a sideline as I think Mark’s father held a ‘normal’ job, possibly a bank clerk. However, after widowhood, I think that Mark’s mother may have earned some money through acting.
Mark’s younger brother, Laurence Stanley Peregini, became an artist, specialising in watercolour paintings and is still well-known today. Information about him is listed in the Dictionary of British Artists Volume V and prints of his work are available and can be easily purchased on-line. Apparently, there is (or was) even an original water colour of his in Baghdad Museum in Iraq(4))
And of course, as a further nod to the creativity of the Perugini family, Mark had a famous uncle – Carlo (Charles) Eduardo (Edward) Perugini, a successful and influential artist (who also married one of the daughters of Charles Dickens).
Mark, of course, was creative in his own right and his income streams included working as an editor and he was a well-known author of books to do with theatre and dance. So, I imagine that Irene had a lot in common with Mark and that they each supported the other in their work.
(1) Sophie Bailey, Local Studies & Archives Assistant, Chiswick & Feltham Libraries, London Borough of Hounslow, personal email
(2) ‘Bedford Park, the first garden suburb’ by T A Greeves in email as (1)
(3) Liz Blair, ‘Brentford Families – Perugini’. Email, Sept 2009.
(4) Kate Bowes, Communications, The Bedford Park Society, email, Sept 2021
(5) the reference is in ‘Mainly About Bedford Park People’
Also Email from Val Bott (Hon Editor, B&CLHS). Brentford and Chiswick Local History Society, 6 October 2020.
Thank you to Sophie Bailey, Local Studies & Archives Assistant, Chiswick & Feltham Libraries, London Borough of Hounslow for the photograph of Priory Park Rd.