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ROBERTSON, Robert MacBeth

Born: 1871 06 20
Died: 1951


Year registered: 1927

Was born in Cheltenham, England and served his indentures with AB Crombie, FRIBA, Dumfries, before going to Manchester where he worked for Solomon & Steinthal. He arrived in South Africa in April 1888 aged seventeen and was first employed by C DUNSCOMBE in Cape Town on the drainage plans for Cape Town and suburbs. He joined the Railway Engineering staff in Cape Town before entering George RANSOME's office in 1890 where he remained until 1896 when he won the competition for Stellenbosch Boys' High School in association with FW HESSE and set up practice on his own account in Stellenbosch. An account of his career is given in the note 'Contemporary Architects' (SAA&B May 1905:157-8). His designs were for the most part classical in the Edwardian manner, examples of these are the Theological College at Stellenbosch, which he designed before 1905, and the graceful gabled and pilastered building in Free Renaissance style for EK Green in Cape Town (pre-1905). Around 1906/1908 he left Cape Town for the Transvaal (Gauteng) where he was resident in Benoni by 1909 and a member of the Association of Transvaal Architects. By 1918 the ATA advertised for Robertson's current address, along with twelve others; Robertson was still in the Transvaal where he worked for the rest of his career of which currently nothing is known and as yet no buildings by him have been recorded from this period. He married Emma O'Grady in 1894.

SASA 1902; ISAA 1927. (ISAA mem list; SAA&B May 1905:157-8; SAWW 1909; UTD 1909, 1915)

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 ROBERTSON

Bakker, Karel A, Clarke, Nicholas J. 2014. Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens : A shared Dutch built heritage in South Africa. Pretoria: Visual Books. pp 57, 62

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 Johannesburg: Unpublished dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand.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

CPIA Committee. 1983. The Buildings of Cape Town 1983 : Phase Two. Volume Three : Catalogue and Classification. Cape Town: Cape Provincial Institute of Architects. pp 115, 202, 203

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp R5

Johnson, Brian Andrew. 1987. Domestic architecture at the Cape, 1892-1912 : Herbert Baker, his associates and his contemporaries. Cape Town: Unpublished Thesis UNISA. pp 389

Martin, Desmond. 2007. Walking Long Street. Cape Town: Struik. pp 58

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pp 58, 77, 91, 92, 134 ill, 135, 136 ill, 137, 139, 171

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 130

Rennie, John for CPIA. 1978. The Buildings of Central Cape Town 1978. Volume Two : Catalogue. Cape Town: Cape Provincial Institute of Architects. pp

Swart, Marius J. 1989. Afrikanerbakens. Johannesburg: Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge. pp 38-39

Walker, Michael. 2015. Old hotels of Cape Town (1890-1911), The : A history long forgotten, seldom told. St James: Published Privately. pp 51

Chapters in books citing ROBERTSON

Brown, E. Die Kweekskool: in 1989. Afrikanerbakens: pp 38