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CATHCART, William D'Arcy

Born: 1885 02 05
Died: 1970 01 22

Architect


Also referred to as D'ARCY, William Cathcart.

ARIBA 1909; FRIBA 1924

Cathcart's parents were Irish and he was born at Green Point in Cape Town and educated at the Normal College, Cape Town and St Andrew's College, Grahamstown. He stated that he 'started architecture in the office of William BLACK, FRIBA, of Cape Town, South Africa, with whom I served three years' (ARIBA nom papers 1909) and fine perspectives by Cathcart dating from this period exist in the BLACK & FAGG collection in the University of Cape Town Libraries to support this. Leaving Black's office he went to study in London at the Architectural Association day schools for a year (1906-7) after which he worked in the offices of Walter Cave, 'Mr Keen and Mr Ferrie' in London and travelled in Italy and France. Cathcart spent some of his vacations working in the offices of Thomas Collcutt in London. He returned to the Cape for a few months in 1909/1910 before joining the Public Works Department in Salisbury (Harare), Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1910. He left the department a year later to open his own office in Salisbury (Harare) in mid-1911. Cathcart worked in the fashionable Arts and Crafts style, favouring English Renaissance to which he remained faithful to all through his career and had a formative influence on architecture in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). In 1914 Cathcart married, and enlisted for active service during the First World War. During the time he was away from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) his practice was looked after for several years by HH BRIDGMAN. It was an extensive practice, and among his best-known buildings is the Town House (1933) in Salisbury (Harare), in what is now Julius Nyerere Way, Harare, Zimbabwe. He retired in 1956 and returned to South Africa, settling in Fish Hoek. In 1964, however, he returned to Salisbury (Harare) as a consultant in the firm, then being run by his son Richard CATHCART. In association with Grey WORNUM he came second in the international competition for the Rhodesian (Zimbabwean) Parliament buildings.

(ARIBA nom papers 1909; Black & Fagg Coll, UCT Libr BC 747, folder 5; Jackson 1986; Jackson 1986b)

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.