Charles Edward Mallows was born in 1864, the son of George Mallows, of Kent & Gostick, boot and shoemakers of Bedford. He was educated privately and articled to a local architect, Francis Thomas Mercer in 1879. In 1882 he became assistant in the office of Edward Salomons and R. Selden Wornum in London, enabling him to study at the Royal Academy Schools. Thereafter he worked in the offices of Henry Hewitt Bridgman and Wallace & Flockhart prior to commencing independent practice in London in 1892.
Mallows was one of the finest draughtsmen of his generation and a successful country house architect. Because of his skills in both design and presentation he was drawn into a number of partnerships, first with G.H. Grocock of Bedford. They in turn were joined by Samuel Bridgman Russell, the former partner of James Glen Sivewright Gibson who soon left to become the partner of Edwin Cooper as Russell & Cooper. They in turn invited Herbert Davis and Mallows to join them, but after they were successful in the Hull Town Hall competition, Russell & Cooper demerged from them. Mallows then joined A.W.S Cross but that partnership similarly proved brief.