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LEWIS, Griffith George

Born:

Architect


A ROYAL ENGINEER in charge of government building operations at the Cape until 1843. He was appointed as Commanding Royal Engineer on 21 December 1835 but only succeeded his predecessor, THOMSON, in July of 1836 (Coetzee, 1995: 243). A trip to the military installations of the Eastern Cape Frontier in 1837 culminated in the celebrated 'Report upon the Eastern Frontier of the Cape of Good Hope 1837 ... with an appendix and book of plans', which was central to decision making by the various offices in the 'mother country'. He recommended that fortifications and accommodation in Fort Beaufort be provided, including the building of two Martello towers (in fact one was erected). Lewis's other major contribution was the system of communication on the Eastern Frontier, including roads, bridges and signal towers, for which he devised a special system, carried out by Henry HALL, also a RoyalEngineer. These carried a semaphore mast and movable arms which could be read from a telescope up to 16 km away, known as the Chappe system of optical telegraphy, but proved less than adequate in the heat haze and morning mist (Lewcock, 1973: 630).

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 LEWIS

Coetzee, Colin. 1995. Forts of the Eastern Cape : Securing a frontier 1799 - 1878. Grahamstown: Colin G Coetzee. pp 325 et seq

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 38

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

Walters, Dennis. 2014. Bridging the Eastern Cape : the life and work of Joseph Newey. East London: Coral Tree Press. pp 73, 74, 75, 77

Chapters in books citing LEWIS

Lewcock, Ronald. Signal Towers: in 1973. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 9 Pop-Sla: pp 629