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JACKSON, Reginald Neville

Born: 1888 09 02
Died: 1953 11 05

Architect


Year registered: 1927

NIA 1919; ARIBA 1927

Was born in Townsville in Australia, his father having left Kimberley with his young family to join in one of the Australian gold rushes. According to Jackson (1985) RN Jackson's father had lived in Kimberley for some time (and incidentally the doctor who delivered RNJ's uncles in Kimberley was Dr Leander Starr Jameson). The expedition to Australia proved disastrous and the family returned to South Africa when Jackson was about two years old, settling in the Transvaal. Before 1899 he attended a preparatory school in Johannesburg; during the Anglo-Boer War the family was 'expelled' from the Transvaal as 'uitlanders' and came to Natal, settling in Pietermaritzburg. Here Jackson attended the Boys' Model School from about 1900 until 1904. He then entered the Government Agricultural Department intending to become a veterinarian but in the same year he applied for a transfer to the Government Architects' Department. The Minister of Agriculture explained the requisition to the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT in Pietermaritzburg: 'Mr Jackson has a special aptitude for drawing' and in another note: 'he shows distinct signs of an aptitude for drawing and I would like very much to encourage him if you could see your way to doing with him' (NAD PWD 282/1906.) DAINTON, the architect in charge at the time, cautiously accepted Jackson into the Department in about August 1904 and gave a good report of him in September 1904. Jackson was allowed to serve an apprenticeship in the Department in Pietermaritzburg. This, however, was not considered altogether satisfactory: 'Jackson is as much a clerk as an architect's apprentice and it is questionable whether he gets equal advantages with those obtainable by a boy in a good firm owing to the sameness of Government buildings and the letting out of important structures to outside firms' (NAD PWD 282/1906.) Jackson remained under DAINTON until retrenchment in 1908 when the PWD cut staff to a minimum. In the same year he left for Britain and was articled to Sir John Burnet in London from 1908 to 1912. According to Jackson (1985), Jackson was recommended to Burnet by the Principal of the Boys' Model School who had met the architect on a sea voyage. During his time with Burnet, Jackson also attended the Architectural Association Schools where he studied from 1908 to 1910 and was 1st Prizeman for Graeco-Roman Architecture and 1st Prizeman for Renaissance Architecture. He obtained First place in Senior Design.

About 1910 he went to Burnet's Glasgow office for experience in hospital work. He travelled throughout Scotland during his time in this office, sketching during his vacations. While with Burnet he was engaged on the plans for the British Museum extensions; Bank of New South Wales in Threadneedle St; the Kodak Building in Kingsway; the General Accident Assurance Building in Aldwych and plans for the Great Western Hospital and the Royal Infirmary for Sick Children in Glasgow. He returned to South Africa in about 1913.

During a short period he spent on his return with the PWD in Pretoria (1913-1915), Jackson apparently became a friend and colleague of Gerard MOERDYK who sometimes subsequently visited the offices in Durban (cf Jackson 1985); it is just possible that they met in London since Moerdyk did not spend many years in the PWD on his return from England. Jackson returned to Pietermaritzburg in 1916 and worked for JC TULLY on the Natal University College, although the College was formally opened in 1912. It is possible that he assisted in its temporary conversion to a military hospital. In 1918 Jackson married, joining FJ ING's office in Durban in the same year as an assistant. He became a partner in 1921 (cf ING & JACKSON). Among his first jobs for Ing was the design of the colonnade and veranda for the Marine Hotel, Durban. A monochrome perspective of the building made at the time by Jackson remains in the possesion of Jackson (1985.) Jackson joined the Natal Institute of Architects in 1919 and was closely involved with its activities; Vice-President of the Natal Institute of Architects 1925-1926 and prior to this (n.d.) he had been appointed overseas correspondent of the Central Association of Architects of the Argentinean Republic by the Union of South Africa. Jackson was elected President of the NIA in 1926 and elected an Associate member of the RIBA in 1927.

Following Ing's death (1936) Jackson continued the practice under the same style until joined in partnership by I PARK ROSS (cf ING, JACKSON & PARK ROSS). His son, MA Jackson, took over the business from his father; the firm continues in Durban.

There is also a listing of this practitioner on the Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

Vice-President of NIA 1925-6; President NIA 1926; NIA Council 1925-1930; elected to Provincial Committee NIA 1927 after promulgation of the Architects Act of 1927.

(ARIBA nom papers 4122; Jackson, M.A. 1985. Personal communication. (Son of RN JACKSON); ISAA mem list; NAD PWD 282/1906; SA Archt Jul 1940:144-45 port; SAAR Mar 1925:27-28; SAAR Jun 1926: 53-55; SAAR Jun 1954:41 death notice; SAWW 1931-2 port)

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 JACKSON

Hillebrand, Melanie. 1986. Art and architecture in Natal, 1910 1940. Pietermaritzburg: Unpublished Ph.D. Dept Fine Art and History of Art, University of Natal. pp

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp J2

SAWW & Donaldson, K. 1926. South African Who's Who (Social and Business) 1925-1926 . Cape Town: Ken Donaldson. pp 133