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Born: 1852
Died: 1910 11 26


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Was among the pioneer architects in the nineteenth century commercial development of Cape Town. He was born in Selby, Yorkshire and educated at Westminster School. He was apprenticed to J McVicar Anderson, Stratton St, Piccadilly in London and studied at the the South Kensington Schools for seven years. In 1880 he applied for Associate membership of the RIBA and signed the papers in Cape Town later the same year where his address was c/o the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT in Cape Town. Ransome came to South Africa 'in connection with the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town' (Afr Archt Jul 1911:33). He had taken up an appointment with the Colonial Government to work on these buildings and for three and a half years assisted HS GREAVES with them. He left to set up independent practice in Cape Town about 1884, not in 1879 as stated in his obituary in the RIBA Journal (30 Sep 1911:735-36). According to various sources, Sea Point Town Hall (c1884) was among his first buildings, possibly won in competition, enabling him to launch his own practice. Thereafter Ransome designed a number of large commercial buildings in Cape Town in an Italianate style of which he was fond (Men of the Times, Cape 1906). Radford (1979:127) credits Ransome with introducing the mansard roof into Cape Town through his design for the Colonial Mutual Building (1887). Ransome's adoption of the Palladian style can be seen in the building he designed in 1900 for Thomas Riddell in Riebeeck Street, Cape Town but towards 1905 he adopted the Grand Manner, popular for public buildings in the Edwardian period. In 1905 Ransome came second in the competition for the Southern Life Building in Cape Town. He was a founder member of the Engineer's and Architect's Association of South Africa (Cape Town 1884) and was elected a committee member of the Cape Institute of Architects in 1902. He died in Cape Town, where he had practised for just over twenty years and is buried in Woltemade Cemetery, Cape Town. John PARKER assumed some of Ransome's jobs (see Parker, Staniforth & Bieldt Gift, UCT Libraries.)

ARIBA 1880; FRIBA 1906. (Afr Archt Jul 1911:37; ARIBA nom papers (1880); Brown 1969; DSAB V:619-20; FRIBA nom papers (1906); Men Cape 1906:359; Picton-Seymour 1977; Radford 1979; RIBA Jnl 30 Sep 1911:735-36 obit; SAA&B Aug 1905:217 ill; SAB Dec 1932: 11, 13; 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.