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BEVAN, William Henry

Born: 1865
Died: 1945


ARIBA (1902); FRIBA (1905)

'Bevan commenced articles with his father, John Bevan, architect in Bristol, England in 1882. He also studied and attended lectures at the University College, Bristol. He left Bristol in March 1888 to work for the Hull Corporation. In 1892 he commenced his own practice in Cardiff from where he moved first to Croydon and later to London. His address in 1902 was 'Rock', Whitehall Rd, Thornton Heath, Surrey. He travelled in the Netherlands for a few months in 1892. Between 1896 and 1902 Bevan worked in the War Office, barrack design branch. In 1902 he sat the special RIBA examination and came out to South Africa in that year, having been appointed chief government architect for the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, Transvaal Colony, on 1 November 1902 by the Crown Agents for the Colonies, at the unprecedented and unrepeated salary of £1500 a year.

Bevan was perhaps first stationed in Johannesburg with the Public Works Department as his address was Johannesburg when he became an Associate member of the RIBA in 1902.

According to his account in his FRIBA nomination papers (submitted in 1905 when still chief government architect), and in his account to the Transvaal Government in 1905, Bevan had gained this appointment on the recommendation of Aston Webb and Ingress Bell, for whom he had acted as assistant on occasions. Bevan remarked that he was interviewed by Aston Webb and Ingress Bell who had been entrusted by the Crown Agents with interviewing for the Transvaal appointments in 1902. The appointment was made for three years subject to all conditions being fulfilled. When asked to retire in 1905 he was upset: 'I might mention that I gave up a permanent appointment at home to accept the Post of Government Architect here and I have a large and young family dependent on me' (TAD CS 3592/3350). He left South Africa about 1906 [Praagh (1906:458) refers to Bevan as 'late of the PWD' - so he may have left in c1905] and was subsequently listed in the RIBA Kalenders in London in 1907/8 and in Canada in 1908/9.

As Chief Government Architect he was responsible for a number of schools in the Transvaal. If there was a stylistic preference it was for Queen Anne Style. A number of public buildings, such as Jeppe Boys' High School (1905), appear to have been given out to competition during this period. It was also a relatively quiet era for building, although not enough is yet known of the years from 1901 to 1910 of the PWD in the Transvaal Colony. P EAGLE served under Bevan and subsequent to Bevan's forced resignation was appointed chief architect, although the civil and public service lists did not use the title of chief architect again until the late 1930s. No chief architect after Bevan and before 1940 ever had a salary as large as £1500 a year again.

He is later recorded as an architect to the Government of Jamaica [Catholic Register (Toronto), 11 March 1909, 2]. In 1911 he joined with Herbert E. Moore, who had just opened his own office in Toronto. Bevan left Toronto in 1912 and returned to England (inf. R.I.B.A., Directory of British Architects, 1993, 79).

[There is a brief entry for this practitioner on the Dictionary of Architects in Canada from which this entry has been expanded.

(ARIBA nom papers (1902); FRIBA nom papers (1905); Praagh 1906; TAD CS 3592/3550; RIBA Kal 1907/8, 1908/9)

These notes were last edited on 2020 08 03

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.

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Jeppe High School for Boys: 1906. Jeppestown, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing BEVAN

Bakker, Karel A, Clarke, Nicholas J. 2014. Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens : A shared Dutch built heritage in South Africa. Pretoria: Visual Books. pp 88

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