A partner in a well-known Cape Town firm, BLACK & FAGG, Fagg was active as an architect in Cape Town from about 1895 until 1938. He was the son of a British architect, George Fagg, MSA, and was probably born in Britain where he was educated at the Whitgift Grammar School, Croydon, Surrey. He trained as an architect in his father's office in London and in 1885 left with his father for Tasmania where they practised in Hobart for about ten years. George Fagg died in 1894, having won the Tasmanian Exhibition Medal in 1891 for Architectural Drawings 'most of which were my work' (W Fagg's comment in his LRIBA nom papers). In the papers he stated which jobs were his 'work entirely' and listed a number of buildings he designed in Tasmania. After the death of his father, Fagg left Tasmania for South Africa in 1895 to work for William BLACK of Cape Town, who himself had come to South Africa from Australia in 1893.
Black, in Fagg's Licentiate papers, said that his acquaintance with Fagg began in 1895: 'he was for the nine years ending 1904 acting as chief assistant and manager and then admitted a partner in the practice' (Fagg's LRIBA nom papers). Fagg was admitted to partnership in the same year that Herbert BLACK was admitted to his brother's practice (cf. BLACK & FAGG). Fagg applied for Licentiate membership of the RIBA in 1910 and was admitted as a member in 1911. His papers were signed by W Black, J Parker and CH Smith. After William Black's death in 1922, Fagg continued the practice under the same style, Herbert Black having returned to Australia before this date.
Fagg was well respected among fellow architects and builders. To accompany Fagg's application papers for LRIBA membership, W Black wrote a letter of recommendation on Fagg's account: 'Mr Fagg enjoys the greatest respect and confidence of the colonials and his works are of Architectural Standard'. Fagg was a concerned member of the Cape Institute of Architects and a committee member of the subsequent Cape Provincial Institute of Architects (CPIA). In 1929 he was elected Honorary Auditor of the CPIA for the year. In 1931 the firm of Black & Fagg was awarded the Cape Institute Bronze Medal for their design of the Standard Bank, Adderley St.
E Goyen HART was the successor to Black & Fagg on the latter's death; it was Hart who supplied the RIBA archives with information on Fagg's career. ; ISAA 1927. (ISAA mem list; LRIBA nom papers (1911) 771; Picton-Seymour 1977; Rennie 1978b; RIBA biog file; RIBA Jnl Apr 25 1938:624 obit; SAA&B Mar 1904:101; SAAR Apr 1933:88; SAB Feb 1938:71 obit)
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 FAGG