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NELSON, John Peel

Born: 1900 01 14
Died: 1957 04 05


Year registered: 1927

TPIA 1927; ARIBA 1933

Was probably born in England; he was educated at Haileybury College before receiving a commission in the 5th Middlesex Regiment at the end of the war in 1918, just before the Armistice. He left England for South Africa in 1919 and entered the office of BAKER & FLEMING on his arrival in Johannesburg, leaving to assist GE PEARSE who was then in practice as an architect, from 1920 to 1921. He worked for GEG LEITH as an assistant from 1921 to 1922, and as chief assistant to EMLEY & WILLIAMSON from 1922 to 1923, attending classes at the University of the Witwatersrand throughout this period (1919-23) and for a time, lectured in architectural design at the University when he had passed the qualifying examinations (c1923?). He returned to work in Leith's office in about 1924 (Norman EATON mentioned that Nelson was in Leith's office and the only other draughtsman there in 1924 when Eaton first joined the office.) In 1924 Nelson published an article Spanish Mission architecture in the periodical Building (Sept 1924), possibly reflecting Leith's interest in the style, and was among the finalists for the Baker Scholarship in 1930. By 1933, when he applied for Associate membership of the RIBA, he had moved to Bulawayo in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where he worked for W D'Arcy CATHCART and for JD ROBERTSON in Bulawayo before he left Bulawayo for Salisbury (Harare) where he entered partnership with one ADAMS, practising as NELSON & ADAMS.

(ARIBA nom papers (1933) 4281; ISAA mem list; RIBA biog file; SAAR Sep 1929:105,106; SAAR Feb 1934:62; SAAR May 1965:47

Publ: Spanish Mission Architecture, Building Sep 1924:75-7, signed JPN; Two recent buildings in Johannesburg, SAAR Jun 1927:46-9; Dhlul-imiti, Parktown, SAAR Sept 1927:65 plan, ill.

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 NELSON

Herbert, Gilbert. 1975. Martienssen & the international style: The modern movement in South African architecture. Cape Town - Rotterdam: AA Balkema. pp 30

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp N1