CPIA (1927); ISAA(1927); ARIBA 1919; FRIBA (1945).
Was a senior partner in the Cape Town firm of WALGATE & ELSWORTH. He was born in Alexandria in Egypt and was articled to Percy Robinson & Jones, FRIBA, in Leeds, England, in September 1908. As a student he travelled to Belgium and Luxembourg in 1908, visiting the Mediterranean and Egypt in 1909. He also studied surveying, reaching the PSI standard in 1911. In 1912 he took the Board of Education Examination at the Leeds School of Art, obtaining a first class in building construction and in history and design, travelling to France in 1913 where he made a study of Rouen Cathedral. He studied at the Royal Academy Architectural School while in London and worked as assistant to GL Sutcliffe, FRIBA, of Hampstead Garden Suburb. From July 1913 to April 1914 he was assistant to OP Milne, London, and in April 1914 he helped in E LUTYENS' office on the New Delhi drawings, (he did not mention the New Delhi work in his Associate application papers but only in his 1945 application papers for Fellowship of the RIBA).
At the outbreak of the First World War Elsworth joined the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium as a gunner in the Honourable Artillery Company, a territorial regiment; he obtained a captaincy and became an adjutant with the Tenth Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment.
After the war he came to South Africa and in 1921 entered into partnership with CP WALGATE, who had also worked with LUTYENS and BAKER in and on New Delhi (cf. WALGATE & ELSWORTH), assisting with the work on the University of Cape Town. The partnership endured, with prestigious commissions, the partners taking over some of JM SOLOMON's work and some work of H BAKER's in the Cape. Elsworth greatly admired Lutyens, often recalling the time spent in LUTYENS' London office. Elsworth's own house, built circa 1933, received appreciative criticism from RD MARTIENSSEN (SAAR Nov 1933:278), who praised it for its simple vernacular approach, by which Martienssen was obviously recalling an English rather than Cape vernacular, though differing considerably from Lutyen's sophisticated style.
In 1921 he won the competition for the Bloemfontein War Memorial and at some point he drew up the plans for the restoration of the Grosvenor House and outbuildings at Stellenbosch.
Elected to the Cape Provincial Institute (of Architects) Council in about 1930, Elsworth retired from the position in 1933 because of his lengthy absence from Cape Town as architect in charge of the Colonial Mutual Life building in Durban (from March 1933). The completion of this building for the Australian architects HENNESSY & HENNESSY allowed his return to Cape Town.
Elsworth was editor of the South African Architects and Building Trades Reference Manual from its inception in 1932 until 1937 and was also a past president of the Society of Architects, London (South African Branch).
In 1959 he was in partnership in Cape Town with HF REYBURN (cf ELSWORTH & REYBURN). He was killed in a car accident in Cape Town.
(ARIBA nom papers (1919) 2785; AB&E Mar 1926:25; AB&E Aug 1931:34; AB&E Oct 1933:11; Archt & Bldr Feb 1972:31 obit; Cape Times 24 Dec 1971 obit; FRIBA nom papers (1945) 4074; ISAA mem list; Master of the Supreme Court, Deceased Estates (CT) 120/72; S v d Stel Bull 11. Oct 1965)
Publ: Architecture, the mother of all arts, in: The arts in South Africa, Ed WHK 1933-4.
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 ELSWORTH
|Cumming-George, L. 1934. Architecture in South Africa - Volume Two. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pp 94, 95|
|Fisher, Roger & Clarke, Nicholas. 2014. Architectural Guide : South Africa. Berlin: DOM Publishers. pp 26|
|Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp |
|Gutsche, Thelma. 1966. No Ordinary Woman: The life and times of Florence Phillips. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 362, 367, 368, 375, 380|
|ISAA. 1959. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1958-1959 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1958-1959. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 90, 206|
|ISAA. 1969. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1968-1969 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1968-1969. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 92, 157|
|K[nox], WH (Editor). 1933-4. Arts in South Africa, The. Durban: Knox printing and publishing. pp 162|