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Alfred Hugh Mottram was born on 29 January 1886, the son of James Mottram and Fanny Ann. From March 1903, he served a 3 year apprentiship, with a further year as assistant, with George Faulkner Armitage in Altrincham near Manchester. He then joined the practice of Parker & Unwin in Hampstead Garden Suburb. After touring the English counties and sketching inns for a book which remained unpublished, Mottram travelled to Normandy in 1906 and 1909, Touraine in 1908, and Switzerland and Northern Italy in 1910. He was admitted to ARIBA in December 1911, beginning his own practice in 1912.
Mottram had gathered much garden city and town-planning experience with Parker & Unwin, and in September 1912 obtained a post with the Housing Reform Company Ltd in Cardiff, working on garden villages in South Wales. Three years later he relocated from Cardiff to Edinburgh, taking up position as architect to the Scottish National Housing Company Ltd, designing 1402 houses for the Rosyth Garden Suburb on the basis of layouts provided by Unwin. He continued to work for the Company and for the Second Scottish National Housing Company until 1939, whilst carrying on his own private practice. He was admitted to FRIBA in March of the same year.
Mottram was also the architect to the Edinburgh Welfare Housing Trust and the Edinburgh Housing Association. His RIBA obituarist notes that Mottram had 'considerable ability as an artist' and his illustrations appeared in several books, including some by his brother, the author Ralph Hale Mottram. He died on 12 March 1953.