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ALEXANDER, George Murray

Born: 1851 10 25
Died: 1904 05 19


FRIBA 1886

Practised in Cape Town from about 1893 until his death. Alexander was born in Georgetown, Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the son of George Alexander, an architect and builder of Edinburgh and was educated and married in the same city. He was articled to his father from 1868 to 1872 and then apprenticed for a year from February 1873 until February 1874 to J & GH Geddes, Engineers of Edinburgh, as a premiated pupil. On completion of his training he worked briefly for Scotts Iron Company after which he travelled in America and Canada. From May 1874 to February 1877 he notes that he was 'architect for the largest building contractors in Toronto', as yet unidentified (possibly the contractor for whom FJ ALEXANDER worked? Were they related?) He returned to Edinburgh in 1877 practising on his own account until he left for South Africa in 1879 with his wife Louisa Hatch, setting up practice in Cape Town the same year. He executed a number of buildings, including Malmesbury Town Hall, before winning the limited competition for the Cape Town Opera House in 1893 ? he was one of three architects invited to participate in this competition, the other two were Charles FREEMAN and George RANSOME.

Alexander was a founder member of the Engineering and Architectural Association of South Africa in 1884, of South African Society of Architects in 1899 and of the Cape Institute of Architects in 1902. He died at his home The Jettys, Muizenberg.

There is also a listing of this practitioner on the Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

(Die Burger 9 Jun 1984:9; Rennie 1978a; Rennie 1978b; Rennie 1983; FRIBA nom papers (1886); The Argus 16 Jun 1984:8)

This entry has been updated from information sent to us by Michael Krohn, Great-Grandson of GM ALEXANDER.

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 ALEXANDER

Brown, SM. 1969. Architects and others: an annotated list of people of South African interest appearing in the RIBA Journal 1880 1925. Johannesburg: Unpublished dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand. pp

Crump, Alan & Van Niekerk, Raymund. 1988. Public sculptures & reliefs Cape Town. Cape Town: Clifton Publications. pp 34

Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pp 40, 56, 66, 85, 104, 113, 137, 514

Johnson, Brian Andrew. 1987. Domestic architecture at the Cape, 1892-1912 : Herbert Baker, his associates and his contemporaries. Cape Town: Unpublished Thesis UNISA. pp 360

Kesting, DP. 1978. Afrikaans Protestantse kerkbou : erfenis en uitdaging. Port Elizabeth: Unpublished PhD. pp

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pp 57, 58, 82-3 ill, 85, 109

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 15

Radford, D. 1979. The architecture of the Western Cape, 1838 1901. A study of the impact of Victorian aesthetics and technology on South African architecture. Johannesburg: Unpublished Ph.D thesis. Dept of Arch. University of the Witwatersrand. pp 110

Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pp 42-47

Walker, Michael. 2015. Old hotels of Cape Town (1890-1911), The : A history long forgotten, seldom told. St James: Published Privately. pp 2, 4, 5, 6, 71