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WENTINK, Dirk Egbert

Born: 1867 05 27
Died: 1940 03 10

Architect


A leading architect in the service of the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT of the South African Republic from about 1890 until 1891, Wentink was born in Schalkwijk, Utrecht Province, the Netherlands and probably trained in the Netherlands as an architect. He arrived in South Africa in 1890 as successor to the engineer ELFERS who had died while building a bridge over the Vaal River at Standerton. By 1891 he had entered the service of the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT in the Orange Free State Republic as a draughtsman under JE VIXSEBOXSE in Bloemfontein.

The two had carried out private work together, it seems, prior to their successful combined entry for the competition for the South African Library and Museum building (the South African Museum) in Cape Town in 1893. Vixseboxse resigned from public service in 1893 and left for Cape Town but Wentink remained in Bloemfontein where by 1895 he had been appointed an Inspector of Public Works in the Orange Free State under M THIANGE. The Express called him Staatsargitekt but Schoeman (1982:103) says Wentink had no claim to the title, adding, however, that it would be possible to say that all the public works executed in the Free State between 1893 and 1899 were by Wentink; he was critical of the Public Works Department's lack of supervision of the public buildings erected in the outlying areas of the Free State. He worked in conjunction with TW ELLISON in the Public Works Department who apparently became impatient of Wentink's habit of handing him his own private work for execution. Wentink married May (Mary Anne) Cocks, daughter of a London publisher, in Fauresmith, Orange Free State, in 1896, who was conversant in Dutch, having been taught the language by her brothers-in-law in Schalkwijk, Netherlands. He appears to have acted as dispatch rider during the early phase of the Anglo-Boer War. He appears to have lost much of his personal possessions to the English in their occupation of Pretoria. At some time in the Anglo-Boer War Wentink appears to have returned to the Netherlands, as did his once-colleague, Vixseboxse. In 1902 he wrote to President Steyn (expresident of the Orange Free State) from Utrecht to welcome him to Europe and the following year made plans for enlargement to Onze Rust, Steyn's farm near Bloemfontein. At the time he wrote he was Inspector of Public Health in Utrecht. He does not appear to have returned to South Africa. He was responsible of publications in the Netherlands, De bouverordening en het woningvraagstuk (1915) and Het uitbreidingsplan en de wijsiging der woningwet (1910). In the Netherlands he made contributions to development plans for Amsterdam, Haarlem, Hilversum, Utrecht and Amersfoort. He retired in 1936 and was made an Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau. In 1939 he settled in Arnheim, where he died.

Books citing WENTINK

Bakker, Karel A, Clarke, Nicholas J. 2014. Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens : A shared Dutch built heritage in South Africa. Pretoria: Visual Books. pp 77, 195

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pp 295, 365, 367*

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 129

Roodt, Leon. 1987. The Architecture of the Orange Free State Republic 1854-1902. Bloemfontein: Unpublished Ph.D. pp 145, 150, 155

Schoeman, Karel. 1980. Bloemfontein: die ontstaan van n stad. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau. pp 113b, 121b

Schoeman, Karel. 1982. Vrystaatse erfenis : Bouwerk en geboue in die 19de eeu. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau. pp 94, 95 (x2), 97, 98, 102, 103, 107, 110-111, illus. 56 (portrait)