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MANSERGH, Brian George Lewis

Born: 1897 05 30
Died: 1977


Reg No: 171
Year registered: 1927

ARIBA (1922); CPIA (1927); ISAA (1927).

Was born in Wynberg, Cape; he was the son of CLW Mansergh and was educated at Rondebosch Boys' High School and at the South African College School. He studied Civil Engineering (1919-20) at the University of Cape Town before joining the office of KENDALL & MORRIS in Cape Town in December 1920-1921. He studied for a year (1922) at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture, taking the special war examination of the RIBA in July 1922. Professor Reilly added a note to Mansergh's application for Associate membership of the RIBA (1922): 'he is a man of taste, education and a good draughtsman and designer.' Mansergh received a certificate in Civic Design as well as Architecture from Liverpool.

He returned to Cape Town about 1924 when he seems to have resumed work in Kendall's office; he also lectured in Building Construction at the Cape Town Technical College in 1925, the year in which he married. FK KENDALL invited him into partnership in July 1927 (cf KENDALL & MANSERGH). The partnership lasted until 30 June 1932 when Mansergh succeeded LF McCONNELL as lecturer in Architecture, UCT, owing to the latter's sudden death. At some point he travelled overseas again for study purposes in America and London. Mansergh, J MORRIS and WJ DELBRIDGE were the assessors of the competition for the Tenement Flats on Council Land above Lion Street in Cape Town, a competition promoted by the City Council of Cape Town (AB&E Jan 1934:12). He was an associate with CP WALGATE on several buildings.

Mansergh was elected vice-president of the Cape Provincial Institute of Architects from 1932 until 1933 and president of the CPIA 1933-34. Upon his election as president of the CPIA in 1933, Sir Albert Gilbert Scott, then president of the RIBA, wrote to him 'I am sure that under your Presidency the friendly relations between your Institute and the RIBA will be maintained and strengthened and I need hardly say that if at any time I, as President of the RIBA, can assist you in any way, I shall be only too happy to do so by any means in my power' (AB&E Aug 1933:23). Mansergh continued to practise on his own account in Cape Town (at this point it is not clear if he was still lecturing at the University of Cape Town). In 1938 he won the Cape Provincial Institute of Architects' Bronze Medal for the Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa, Cape Town.

Mansergh appears to have admired natural landscape. He was instrumental in alerting the authorities to the possibility of acquiring the wilderness of Cape Point as a reserve. He had spent his childhood years exploring the mountains and shores when weekending or holidaying on Smith's Farm, previously Buffelsfontein, acquired by the Smith's grandfather in 1886. When he heard that the elderly Mrs Smith might sell in 1928 he wrote to the then Minister of Lands, the Hon. P Grobler proposing the acquisition of the entire peninsula including the farm, as state land for purposes of a reserve. By 1938 the circumstances repeated themselves, this time he petitioning the then Minister, General Kemp, who, however, had no enthusiasm for the project. Never-the-less this prompted the creation of a public forum for the pursuit of the idea, eventually realised, but Mansergh's role fading from the record (Fraser, 1994: 28-30). At some point he bought about 1 300 hectares of Cape coastal land at Hagenkraal and apparently stipulated in his will that this land should be sold to no-one unless they loved it as he did.

When Mansergh died in 1977, his obituarist made it clear that a number of works by Kendall & Mansergh, if not a few belonging to the years prior to partnership, were the responsibility of Mansergh. The Kendall & Earle Gift (University of Cape Town Libraries) has a number of drawings by Mansergh executed between 1928 and 1933 when he was Kendall's partner.

George M WILLIS (jnr) worked in his office in 1938.

(AB&E Aug 1933:23; AB&E Jun 1935:8,9, obit CLW Mansergh; ARIBA nom papers (1922) 3576; Kendall & Earle Gift, UCT Libr BC 206; RIBA Jnl Oct 1977:443, death notice; SAAR Apr 1933:84; SAWW 1931/2; SAWW 1935)

All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

Books citing MANSERGH

Crump, Alan & Van Niekerk, Raymund. 1988. Public sculptures & reliefs Cape Town. Cape Town: Clifton Publications. pp 30

Cumming-George, L. 1933. Architecture in South Africa - Volume One. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pp 108-109

Cumming-George, L. 1934. Architecture in South Africa - Volume Two. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pp 82-83

Fraser, Michael & McMahon, Liz (Illustrator). 1994. Between two shores : flora and fauna of the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Town: David Philip. pp 28-30

Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 100

ISAA. 1959. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1958-1959 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1958-1959. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 94, 209

ISAA. 1969. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1968-1969 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1968-1969. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 97, 161

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp M6-7

SAWW & Donaldson, K. 1935. South African Who's Who (Social and Business) 1935. Cape Town: Ken Donaldson. pp 134

SAWW & Donaldson, K. 1938. South African Who's Who (Social and Business) 1938. Cape Town: Ken Donaldson. pp 163

Walker, Michael. 2010. A Statement In Stone. Cape Town: Privately published by Michael Walker. pp 39-40

Walker, Michael. 2016. Families and farms of the southern peninsula and Cape Point; The : The history of a bygone era. Kalk Bay: Kalk Bay Historical Association. pp 88

Chapters in books citing MANSERGH

Keath, Michael. The Baker School: A Continuing Tradition 1902-1940: in 1998. Architecture of the Transvaal: pp 79