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PERRY, John

Born: 1875
Died: 1943 09 03

Architect


Year registered: 1927

Born in Dudley, Staffordshire, England, was educated at Dudley Grammar School and articled for five years to Henry Lavender in Walsall, Staffordshire. He witnessed JS CLELAND's indentures in 1895, Cleland being articled to Lavender. On completion of articles, Perry remained in Lavender's office a further five years, assisting in various jobs including the design of Govan Town Hall, Glasgow; he was in charge of Lavender's branch office in Sutton Coldfield for two years before he left to work as assistant in M Alton's office in Bexhill-on-Sea (n.d.). The date Perry arrived in South Africa is uncertain but according to his FRIBA nomination papers (1927), he began work in Cape Town 'about 1902'; two subsequent articles (SAAR Oct 1934:274, SA Archt Feb 1940:420, 421) give 1904 as his date of arrival in Cape Town and the South African Who's Who (1931/2) gives 1905. Perry stated that he first worked in Cape Town in the office of MacGILLIVRAY & GRANT, who commenced their practice in 1903. Sometime after 1909, Perry entered the office of James MORRIS in Cape Town where he stayed until he commenced independent practice following his winning the open competition for the Garden City layout at Pinelands, Cape Town in 1920. Although he won the competition it was then referred to Sir Raymond Unwin who recommended Albert John THOMPSON who had worked previously for Unwin. About this time he formed a partnership with CWB STOCKS (cf PERRY & STOCKS) which lasted about two years, successful in winning a number of competitions. After 1923 Perry practised on his own but was in association (or partnership?) with HJ BROWNLEE (cf PERRY & BROWNLEE) from 1926 until 1930 with further associations on later works. In about 1933 he worked in association (or partnership?) with WJ DELBRIDGE (cf. PERRY & DELBRIDGE) on the design for the National Mutual Life Assurance Building of Australasia in Cape Town (1930).

His FRIBA nomination papers of 1927 lists all the competitions in which he was placed first: the Principal's residence, University of the Witwatersrand (n.d.); Garden City, Pinelands (1920); De Waal School, East London (1920); Hostel, University of the Witwatersrand (1921-3); Selbourne College, East London (1923); layout for municipal ground, Johannesburg (n.d.); Winchester Flats/Mansions, Johannesburg) (n.d.) In the same papers he noted being placed second in a number of competitions for war memorials. He also designed the Standard Banks at Bloemfontein, Wepener, Theunissen, Koppies, Kestall, Muizenberg, Malmesbury and Wynberg, all before 1927 as well Good Hope Lodge School, Cape Town; Albertus (?) School and Wynberg Boys' High School.

In partnership with B St Clair LIGHTFOOT, which commenced in May 1935 and ended about 1938 (cf PERRY & LIGHTFOOT), competition success still rated high. A description of Perry was given following his success in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court competition: 'his original impulses towards architecture and his handling of the problems of his practice are well displayed by his fondness of chess and his great skill in its intricate problems of tactics, policy, foresight ... enthusiasms for landscape gardening ... his deep chest and upright figure hint that in earlier days he was a keen player of Association Football' (AB&E Oct 1934:5). He was a founder member of the South African Society of Artists (with whom he is portrayed standing in a group portrait in 1926 see Berman 1983:378) and was elected president of the Cape Institute of Architects for 1926. He married (n.d.) May Eedes, the daughter of the Colonial Chaplain.

SASA; ISAA 1927; FRIBA 1927. (AB&E Oct 1928:29; AB&E Oct 1934:5, 9; AB&E Dec 1934 ill after p.8; Building Dec 1918:223-33; Building Dec 1919:323, 324, 330; FRIBA nom papers (1927) 2515; SAAR Sep 1935:267-79; SAAR Oct 1934:274; SA Archt Feb 1940:420, 421 port; SAB Apr 1931:23; SAWW 1927-8; SAWW 1931-2; SESA 6: 220)

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 PERRY

Berman, Esmé. 1983. Art and artists of South Africa: An illustrated biographical dictionary and historical survey of painters, sculptors and graphic artists since 1875. Cape Town : Balkema. pp 378

Cumming-George, L. 1933. Architecture in South Africa - Volume One. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pp 112-113

Cumming-George, L. 1934. Architecture in South Africa - Volume Two. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pp 77

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

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp P8b

Walker, Michael. 2010. A Statement In Stone. Cape Town: Privately published by Michael Walker. pp 87-90

Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pp 127-128

Walker, Michael. 2013. The pioneer architects of Johannesburg and their buildings (1886 - 1899) with postcard illustrations. St James: The Kalk Bay Historical Assosiation. pp 28