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TULLY, John Collingwood

Born: 1855
Died: 1929 12 21

Architect


Also referred to as COLLINGWOOD, John

Was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. His father was Collingwood Tully, a ship owner and a descendant of Admiral Lord Collingwood from where the name came. John Collingwood Tully was articled as a Premium pupil to Robert J Johnson of Austin Johnson & Hicks, a well-known practitioner of the Gothic Revival style in Newcastle-on-Tyne for five years. He won the bronze medal for architectural design at the Plymouth Fine Art Exhibition in 1881 and was elected an Associate member of the RIBA in 1882. On completion of articles he spent three years practical experience in the office of JW Hobbs, in Croydon, Surrey. He subsequently became Borough and District Surveyor at Croydon and Dorking Main Sewerage Works and was Contractor's Engineer for the erection of 'model dwellings for working classes' (ARIBA nom papers 1882) in Dorking for two years.

From 1885 until 1887 he was clerk of works in the north of England for J Cubitt, Architect, London. Cubitt wasa specialist in designing nonconformist chapels and in 1885-7 he had the following projects in Newcastle:- Baptist Chapel, Berwick Street for which he won the competition in 1884 and Congregational Chapel, Westgate Road completed in 1886. it is probable Tully was involved with these projects. His address at the time was at 27 East Parade, Newcastle-on-Tyne and from 1887 to 1889 he acted as contracting engineer for the new Railway Station in Newcastle-on-Tyne. The North Eastern Railway was busy in Newcastle 1887-1889 which may explain them using Tully when they had both an Architects Department with its own clerks of work and an Engineers Department with assistant engineers who would have acted a site engineers. They were rebuiliding Manors Station, building Heaton Station and Elswick Station which were all within Newcastle as well as massively extending Newcastle Station Hotel and building a Carriage Washing Shed at Heaton. All these were designed by William Bell and his associates at the NER and Tully may have been taken on the staff. Many local architects served a short period with the NER during its period of rapid expansion.

In 1889 he came to South Africa arriving in Durban in April. He reached Johannesburg after a further three-week journey and was made contract engineer for the building of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange for the architects Lennox CANNING & GOAD. He was later clerk of works for Johannesburg Town Hall. By 1891 he had been appointed government Inspector of Works, having moved to Bloemfontein and supervised the building of the Raadzaal designed by Canning & Goad for the Orange Free State Government. He further supervised in the same capacity 'the jail, the Dames' Institute, the Lepers' Hospital and the superintendent's house at the Lunatic Asylum' (Men Cape 1906:407). He retained the post until 1894 and was described by JE VIXSEBOXSE, then Government Architect of the Free State, as a good designer, draughtsman and team mate (Schoeman 1982:107). The General directory of South Africa (1898/1899) listed him working in Bloemfontein in that year. After three years in the Free State, Tully settled in Cape Town where he was engaged as clerk of works on Groote Schuur by Herbert BAKER on the first reconstruction for CJ Rhodes (1894-1897). He married in 1896 (1890 cf Radford 1979:135) and entered into partnership with Spencer WATERS in Cape Town in 1897 (cf TULLY & WATERS). The firm won a number of competitions which enabled them to survive some difficult years for the profession.

In 1904 he was elected a Fellow of the RIBA, living at the time at Wolmunster Park, Rosebank, Cape Town, and in 1905 he was elected a Member of the Society of Arts, London. With the depression of 1906 the firm seems to have had few jobs but success in three major competitions in collaboration with two other architects (JS CLELAND and J PENTLAND-SMITH cf TULLY, WATERS, CLELAND & PENTLAND-SMITH) led Tully to move to Pietermaritzburg to supervise their winning design for the Natal University College building there in 1910. Tully remained in Pietermaritzburg where he set up practice on his own account with offices in Timber Lane. His buildings include the Voortrekker Museum, Church Street, Pietermaritzburg (1910-1912) 'almost a facsimile of the old church (built) in the days just after Dingaan ... two Dutch gables have been built in place of the former gable parapets' (Natal Witness 28.10.1911:5) and the old YWCA building, Pietermaritz Street (1912-1913); the latter building 'modelled on Dutch colonial and Georgian style' (Natal Witness 24 August 1912:7). Both buildings are well-known examples of the Cape Dutch revival style of the early 1900s and probably reflect Tully's experience of working with Herbert Baker in Cape Town. Tully designed the Victoria Club, Longmarket St (c1923-1924) using his favourite combination of Cape Dutch gable above a colonnade.

He retired in 1924. House Adnans (of SA Breweries) in Golf Road is the last building currently known to be by him in Pietermaritzburg. Braby's Directory (1927) still listed him as living at 192 King Edward Avenue, Scottsville although when he registered with the Institute of Architects in 1927 his address was at 102 Harrison St, Wanderers, Johannesburg. He may have died in the Transvaal although his death certificate does not exist in either the Transvaal nor Natal. There is a portrait of him in Men of the Times (Cape) 1906:407) and a photograph of him in the Natal Witness (1 December 1910:1) taken at the time of the laying of the foundation stone of the Natal University College.

His son HC TULLY became an architect.

SASA 1902; ARIBA 1882; FRIBA 1904; ISAA 1927. (ARIBA nom papers (1882) 490; Braby's N dir 1927; FRIBA nom papers (1904); Hillebrand 1975; 1986; ISAA mem list; Men Cape 1906; Ntl Almnc 1911; Ntl Witness 2 Dec 1910:1; Ntl Witness 3.12.1910:1, 5; Picton-Seymour 1977; Radford 1979; SAAR Mar 1930:39; Schoeman 1982) Additional information sent by Graham Potts.

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 TULLY

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

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 91, 96, 108, 155, 162

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp T12

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 126

Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pp 71-75

Walker, Michael. 2013. The pioneer architects of Johannesburg and their buildings (1886 - 1899) with postcard illustrations. St James: The Kalk Bay Historical Assosiation. pp 45

Walker, Michael. 2010. Simon's Town : An historical review with early postcard illustrations. Cape Town: Michael Walker. pp 29