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HALDER, Arthur Hubert

Born: 1855 10 09
Died: 1901 05 25

Engineeer / Architect


FRIBA Barberton 1888.

Was born in Biezkofen, Wuertenburg, Germany. He studied at polytechnic schools in Vienna, Strasbourg and Stuttgart, and, according to his RIBA nomination papers, passed the German 'Staats Examen' in Architecture (? - undecipherable) and Art in a 'Politechnikum' in the latter city in 1875. During the next few years he worked for the German state railroads, served a year as an engineer in the German army, thereafter starting a private practice in Stuttgart.

By 1881 he was in South Africa, practising as an architect in Pietermaritzburg until 1885 where he designed his best-known and probably best preserved house, Sans Souci (1883-1884), for the merchant J Harwin. The villa has an unusual classical portico ornamented with swags of fruit and flowers and was considered one of the outstanding houses in Pietermaritzburg. It was among the few private houses illustrated in Twentieth century impressions of Natal (1906). In 1883 Halder entered the competition for the Market Hall and Police Station, Pietermaritzburg, under the nom de plume 'Cicero'. He was unsuccessful.

Around 1885/1886 left Pietermaritzburg for Barberton. In Barberton he applied to become a Fellow of the RIBA, stating that at the time of writing he was 'architect and engineer for the Transvaal Government for the Cape Goldfield' and adding that he had 'no room to name the numerous works executed but am willing to send anything the council may ask' (FRIBA papers 1888). He also mentioned that he was responsible for the execution of a plan for Barberton and described himself as a 'Deutscher Argt.' Also during 1886 he offered his services as chief inspector for the construction of a proposed railway line in the Transvaal. By December 1886 he was a partner in the firm RA Lavertine & AH Halder, architects and surveyors, who drew up plans for a new Dutch Reformed church in Barberton (not executed).

In 1888 he held an appointment as claims inspector in the Barberton area and in December that year was instructed by the Minister of Mines of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek to collect minerals from mines in the region for display at the Paris Exhibition of 1889. He was also a justice of the peace for the De Kaap goldfields at this time. Halder was a member of the short-lived Barberton Association of Civil Engineers (1887-1888?). In August 1888 he became a corresponding member of the Imperial Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects of Vienna. He remained in Barberton until about 1889 and during this time designed the Lewis & Marks building (completed 1887) for Sammy Marks and his partner. He probably also designed the house Belhaven since the building has several features in common with Sans Souci in Pietermaritzburg. The Globe Tavern in Barberton had a similar broad, low classical pediment to those used at Sans Souci and Belhaven. By 1889/1890 Halder was listed at a contact address in Johannesburg, c/o Cohen & Grauman and by 1891/1892 he was listed living in Pietersburg. He applied for naturalization as a citizen of the South African Republic in 1894.

He went on a visit to Europe that same year to attract investments into the Witwatersrand goldfields, visiting Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, the Paris Exhibition, and Vienna. In the latter town he gave several lectures on South Africa, concentrating on the Transvaal goldfields, before the Imperial Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects. He also visited the mines in Transylvania (now part of Romania) and inspected an aerial wire rope system for conveying ore in France and Germany. He returned to the Witwatersrand to represent several syndicates and private individuals.

Halder moved to Bulawayo around 1894 and two years later, writing from there, indicated he wished to retain his citizenship of the ZAR. In Bulawayo he designed the Memorial Hospital building in Jameson Street (1894-1895), and perhaps remained in Bulawayo until he moved to London.

In 1897 he is listed as living at 10 Drapers Gardens, London, EC. In 1898 he returned to Johannesburg. At some time he returned to London, where he died. Although deceased, Halder was still listed in the 1904 RIBA Kalender with an address in South Africa. A number of drawings by Halder survive in the Transvaal Archives in Pretoria which have not been consulted for this entry.

(Barberton Museum et al 1984; FRIBA nom papers 1888; Hillebrand 1975; Jacks 1979; Kearney 1973; Ntl Almanac 1884; RIBA Kals 1888/9-1904; Twentieth C Impressions of Natal 1906; Harper 1977)

[Edited RCF 2016 09 10; 2018 08 02 after Plug.]

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 HALDER

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

Gordon, Ruth & Louwrens, Mat. 1984. Victorian Pietermaritzburg. Springfield: Village Publishers. pp 105

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 139

Radford, D. 2002. A Guide to the Architecture of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Cape Town: David Philip. pp 113 (P 48)

S2A3 (Plug, C - Project Leader and main compiler). 2002-. S2A3 biographical database of southern African science. Webspace: WWW. pp Accessed 12 January 2016