Contact Artefacts
please if you have any comments or more information regarding this record.

List of Projects


Born: c1820
Died: c1872


Was an Englishman from Lancashire, who worked as an architect in Cape Town from around 1845, the only architect working in Cape Town in the 1840s. He may have learnt his profession through service with the ROYAL ENGINEERS since he was first mentioned in the Cape as Foreman of Works in the Royal Engineers. In 1854 he submitted a design in 'perpendicular Gothic' for the proposed Congregational Church, Caledon Square. The church was suspected by Bell, the Surveyor-General, to be not quite correct in its style, and the building committee accepted a plan by W KOHLER instead. Nothing daunted, Penketh produced a further design which was accepted instead of Kohler's and this later design is suspected to be the one to which the church was built. The design of the Free Church of Scotland on Greenmarket Square (1847 but unfinished and demolished in 1874) is attributed to Penketh on its resemblance to the Church of St Martini. St Peter's Church, Mowbray (c1852) is also attributed to Penketh on its similarity to St Mary's Church, Stellenbosch (1853) by Penketh (a building about which Sophia Gray had reservations). By 1850 Penketh had been appointed a clerk of works, Ordnance Department of the Royal Engineers and at about this time built his own house, Kloof Lodge, above Kloof Road in Cape Town. He submitted two designs for the South African public library and museum competition in 1851 but was unsuccessful. By 1852 he had been appointed clerk of works or supervising architect at Woodlands to the architect W WHITE, buildings which were to form the foundation structures of the Diocesan College. In 1853 or 1854 Penketh entered into brief partnership with J CALVERT (cf PENKETH & CALVERT) but by 1855 was working on his own again. In 1855 his was the only complete tender submitted for the building the (new) Roeland St Gaol. He was appointed city engineer in 1858, a post he held until 1872. According to Radford (1979:126), Penketh was given a rise in salary in the early 1860s to encourage his commitment to his post and relinquish his private practice. In 1863 he submitted a design for the enlargement of the Dutch Reformed Church in Stellenbosch and in 1872 retired from the post of city engineer, returning to Lancashire.

(Gutsche 1970; McIntyre 1950; Radford 1979)

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

Bishops Diocesan College: c1853. Rondebosch, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
Congregational Church: 1857. Central, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
Diocesan College, Founder's House: 1853. Rondebosch, Cape Town, Western Cape - Project Architect
Evangelisch-Lutherische St. Martini Kirche - St Martini Evangelical Lutheran Church: 1851. Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
Free Church of Scotland: 1847/8. Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
House Penketh, Kloof Lodge: 1855. Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
New Church: 1852-1853. Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape - Architect
New Market: 1864. Paarl, Western Cape - Architect
St Mary's Church: 1853. Die Braak, Stellenbosch, Western Cape - Architect
St Peter's Church: c1852. Mowbray, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
Western Province Bank: 1858. Paarl, Western Cape - Architect

Books citing PENKETH

Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pp 44, 64, 68, 107, 177, 357

Gutsche, Thelma. 1970. The Bishop's Lady. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 133, 138

Martin, Desmond. 2007. Walking Long Street. Cape Town: Struik. pp 22, 109