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MIDDLETON, Orlando

Born: 1869
Died: ?

Architect


Born at Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England and educated at Stamford Grammar School and Bedford County School, Middleton was articled for four years to HM Townsend, ARIBA, the Diocesan Surveyor for Peterborough and Westminster. Subsequently he entered the offices of JS Backett and of J Shield in Newcastle-on-Tyne and Sunderland respectively, working as an assistant in both offices. From April 1893 he was assistant in the offices of Middleton Bros and of Phillpott & Prothero. After the dissolution of the latter partnership he worked in the office of HA Prothero, FRIBA, in Cheltenham and gained experience as Clerk of Works on the Ladies' College extensions, Cheltenham. He passed the RIBA examination in 1895: 'one of the first students to go through the three progressive exams without being relegated' (ARIBA nom papers 1895). The same year he went on a sketching tour in Normandy, undertaking a further sketching tour of the continent before he left for South Africa in 1897.

Arriving in Johannesburg, Middleton was employed by WH STUCKE, perhaps having been given an introduction to Stucke through the office of Phillpott & Prothero where Stucke had also worked. In Stucke's office Middleton worked on the drawings for the Exploration Buildings in Johannesburg, the building in which a few years later Herbert Baker set up his office. In 1898 he was sent to Port Elizabeth to supervise the building of the Mutual Arcade building for Stucke. With the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War, Stucke and his partner WE BANNISTER joined Middleton in Port Elizabeth. At the close of the war the partners returned to Johannesburg but Middleton remained in Port Elizabeth. In 1901 he was appointed local resident architect supervising the execution of the new public library building in Port Elizabeth, known as the Savage Memorial Hall for the architect H CHEERS. Middleton left STUCKE & BANNISTER to set up practice in Port Elizabeth on his own account. In 1902 he married and travelled to England and on his return to Port Elizabeth settled in Walmer and recommenced practice. In 1905 he won the competition for the design of the Settlers' Memorial Tower with his plan for a Gothic Revival octagonal lantern attached to the Baptist Church in Port Elizabeth. The project was not carried out. According to the South African Architect Engineer and Surveyor's Journal (SAAE&S Jnl Oct 1905:9) Middleton endeavoured 'to raise the popular tastes in matters architectural' by giving talks locally on the styles in architecture. He was judged to be 'no mere slave to all old work being thoroughly in sympathy with the new school of artistic thought'. The Raleigh St synagogue in Port Elizabeth (1912) is a fine example of the Arts and Crafts style in South Africa and is the last known building by Middleton in South Africa. Currently it is not known where nor when he died.

Prob RIBA 1890; Student RIBA 1891; ARIBA 1895. (ARIBA nom papers (1895) 1151; Bodill 1985; Bodill 1990; Langham-Carter MS BC 5 52; Langham-Carter 1985; RIBA Kal 1897/8, 1899; SAAE&S Jnl Oct 1905:9 port; SAWW 1908)

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 MIDDLETON

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pp 197