BEARDWOOD, John FrancisBorn: 1853 07 ?
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Was active as an architect in Johannesburg between about 1895 and 1923. He was by origin an Irishman, born in Dublin and the son of WH Beardwood and was educated at the University High School in Dublin and articled to Sir George Moir in the same city. According to other sources Beardwood joined his uncle William Henry Beardwood in practice in Dublin once he had completed his articles but another source (Men Tvl 1905:86) does not mention this but gives his father's name as William Haughton Beardwood. The same source gives Beardwood's birth date as 1857. In 1895 Beardwood came to South Africa for health reasons 'his then objective being Cradock ... in an interview with the late Cecil Rhodes, Mr Beardwood was dissuaded from adopting this course, and, acting on the advice of the 'colossus', proceeded to Johannesburg' (Afr Archt Dec 1911:143).
He joined the office of REID & WILLIAMS, Johannesburg. He may have been appointed resident architect for Nazareth House there, the probable architect of which might have been Leonard STOKES as he exhibited drawings and plans for Nazareth House, Johannesburg, published in Academy Architecture and Annual Architectural Review in 1895; it may have been this job which encouraged him to open his own practice which he did about this date. He was responsible for the later additions to Nazareth House. In 1896 he entered partnership with J IBLER (cf BEARDWOOD & IBLER) executing several buildings together before the partnership was dissolved in Aug 1899 on the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War.
During the war Beardwood left Johannesburg and opened an office in Durban where he executed at least two jobs before returning to Johannesburg after the war. He was then engaged as architect for the Transvaal Roman Catholic Mission and much of his subsequent work was for the Catholic community; his best known work was either for institutions or churches. Beardwood was an active member of the architectural profession in the Transvaal. On the death of William LECK in 1907, Beardwood was elected chairman of the Society of Architects, London. He was elected a member of the Transvaal Institute of Architects council in 1906 and in 1907 was elected treasurer of the Transvaal branch of the Society of Architects. He was elected President of the TIA for the years 1909-1910 and 1910-1911. In 1914 he was elected president of the Association of Transvaal Architects. Beardwood acted as an assessor of competitions on occasions such as that for the South African Party Club building in 1919. In 1888 he married Genevieve O'Ratigan, they had seven children two of who died very young. (Academy Arch & Annual Arch Rev 1895:80; Afr Archt Dec 1911:143, port; Afr Archt Jun/Jul 1912:v; Afr Archt Feb 1914:314; Building Sep 1919:304-5; Building Jun 1923:44 obit by HG VEALE; CL in SA Apr 1915:33; Men Tvl 1905:86 port; Picton-Seymour 1977; SAB Jun 1923:40 obit; The Star Dec 14, 1984; TAD MHG 51377)
This entry has been updated and corrected by Dr CJ Beardwood, grandson of JF BEARDWOOD who also sent the photographs.
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.