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WELCHMAN, John Todd

Born: 1833
Died: 1899

Architect


His name is sometimes found as Welshman, also Welchman & Todd, the latter being a confusion of his own name which is taken to be those of two men. There is also some confusion about his birth date; according to information in his biographical file in the RIBA, Welchman arrived in South Africa in September 1859 aged twenty-six but according to Radford (1979:137) Welchman was born in 1831. The later date of 1833 has been accepted. From 1859 he was employed as a draughtsman in the Colonial Engineer's Office, Cape Town. In 1860 he set up his own practice, possibly owing to winning the competition for the Sailors' Home in Dock Road, Cape Town. He was allowed to enter the competition for the design of the proposed Cape Parliament Building in 1860, although working then for the Colonial Engineer; in collaboration with one HAYWARD (cf. WELCHMAN & HAYWARD) submitted a design but in the end nothing came of the competition. In 1861 he joined CE READ, who had submitted the prize-winning entry for the Cape Parliament Building under the pseudonym 'Gothic', and they worked in Cape Town until 1867 when Read appears to have left for London (cf WELCHMAN & READ). Winning the competition for the Dutch Reformed Church in Cradock in 1863 brought the partners into closer contact with the Eastern Province and following Read's departure, Welchman moved to the Eastern Province, settling in Grahamstown. Radford points out that the depression in Cape Town in the late 1860s left only one architect still in practice there (S STONESTREET). In 1874 he applied for membership as a Fellow of the RIBA, his address being Grahamstown, also giving a London address, Cornwall Lodge, Earl's Court: he was elected a Fellow of the RIBA in 1875. In his fellowship papers his name has been spelt Welshman in another hand than his own. He himself signed the same paper Welchman. In 1882 Welchman returned to England where he appears to have spent the rest of his life.

FRIBA 1875. (FRIBA nom papers 1875; Picton-Seymour 1977; Radford 1979; RIBA biog file; Schoeman 1982)

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 WELCHMAN

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 480, 558, 574