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GIBSON, William Henry

Born: 1878 03 22
Died: 1916 02 06


Gibson was born in Lincoln, England and was articled between 1893 and 1898 to W Watkins, FRIBA, in Lincoln. Having completed articles he worked as assistant to A Green, Crown Surveyor, from 1898 until 1901 and then spent two years (1901-1903) with WJ Walker, FRIBA, in London. In about 1903 he joined the London County Council and was a chief assistant architect (1903-1906) where he met Owen Fleming, then chief architect of the London County Council. He left to enter the office of Fitzroy Doll, FRIBA, and remained in Doll's office as chief assistant until 1909, incidentally a colleague of FLH (Frank) FLEMING who was also working in Doll's office at the time but who left for South Africa in 1902. Perhaps at the recommendation of Owen Fleming and FLH Fleming, Gibson left for South Africa in 1909 to join Herbert BAKER's office in Johannesburg, having been recruited to a team of architects to work on the drawings for the Union Buildings in Pretoria. In about 1911 he entered the competitions for Rhodes University, Grahamstown. GE PEARSE, who was at the time an assistant in the office of BAKER & FLEMING, collaborated with Gibson on the winning design in the competition for the Bulawayo Post Office, Customs and Municipal Buildings, as did JD Robertson who is usually given the credit for the design. Gibson and Robertson continued their collaboration with winning entries for Boksburg Town Hall and a hotel in Brakpan. Robertson left for Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) but Gibson joined the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT in Pretoria, where he settled. While employed with the PWD he also lectured (1911) in design at the Transvaal University College in Pretoria.

Gibson had a reputation for fine draughtsmanship and design. He died in Pretoria aged only thirty-eight, his occupation at the time of death was draughtsman with the PWD. LH GODFREY, present at his death, was a witness to the death certificate.

LRIBA 1911; MSA. (Afr Archt Feb 1912:175 ill; Afr Archt Apr 1912:197, v ill, Boksburg Town Hall; Baker Letter Books no 17:268, 477; Greig 1971; Herbert 1975; Jnl ATA Feb 1916:7 obit; LRIBA nom papers (1911) 532; Pearse c1960; RIBA Jnl 1915-16:16 obit; TAD MHG 25712)

Publ: Architectural planning, dominant ideas emancipated from tradition, Afr Archt Sep 1911:84-5

These notes were last edited on 2020 03 23

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.

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Town Hall: 1912. Boksburg, Gauteng - Architect