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CROSS, Arthur George

Born: 1874 04 02
Died: 1955

Architect


Year registered: 1927

Was born in London and was educated there at the Cowper St School and Finsbury Technical College. He studied at the South Kensington Schools and came to South Africa in 1894. He was first employed by a carpenter, Thomas Poynton, with whom he built the greenhouse in the Botanic Gardens, Durban (designed by WE ROBARTS?). He was then employed by the NATAL GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS for six years before joining WH POWELL (Snr) in Durban as a draughtsman. In 1928 Cross mentioned that Powell and he had 'won from the government a high school; also another competition the Colonial Offices in Maritzburg ... another school was done by us, and that has been formed into a type school' (SAAR Dec 1928:130) which he said was repeated all over the country. After Powell's death in June 1900, his son WH POWELL (Jnr) took over the business and in December 1902 Cross was made a partner in the firm of POWELL & SON, according to the South African Who's Who 1931/1932) in token of past services. On the departure in 1903 of WH Powell (jnr) Cross took over the business under his own name. Apparently the business had been carried on under the name of the Durban Drawing and Tracing Office, preparing drawings and tracings for most of the architects in Durban. In 1904 he seems to have worked for the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT in Natal and in 1909 he gave a talk on 'Banking and Building' at the Standard Bank in Durban followed by one on 'Art and Architecture' to the Institute of Bankers in Durban (reported in the May 1910 Bankers Institute Journal.) Cross applied for LRIBA membership in 1910 but the papers were lost and he reapplied in 1912. CW METHVEN refused to sign these on the grounds of his not having received an orthodox training, but said he would do all he could to assist his application. W STREET-WILSON was more accommodating, saying he would sign but that it was useless if Methven did not. Methven asked Cross to join the Natal Institute of Architects and on his doing so, the papers were signed. He married in 1913 and settled in Durban where he seems to have spent his career. The 1915 General directory of United South Africa listed Cross's business as the Electro-drawing office, Anglo-African House, Durban. By 1931/1932 he was living in Escombe with offices in the South British Buildings which he had designed in 1927. He died in Durban.

LRIBA 1912; MISE; MIA; ISAA 1927; NPIA. (AB&E Nov 1921:21; AB&E Sep 1922:25; General dir of USA 1915; LRIBA nom papers (1912) 1894; NAD MSCE 2508/1955; NWW 1933; SAAR Dec 1928:30; SAWW 1916, 1931/2 portr; UNSAL)

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 CROSS

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

Hillebrand, Melanie. 1975. Aspects of architecture in Natal, 1880 1914. Pietermaritzburg: Unpublished MA. Dept Fine Art and History of Art, University of Natal. pp 165