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PILKINGTON, George (Captain)

Born: 1784 03
Died: 1858 07 03


A Colonial Civil Engineer at the Cape (1848-58), Pilkington was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He obtained a commission in the ROYAL ENGINEERS in 1804, attaining the rank of Captain. He left the service in 1814 after he had brought a superior officer to a court martial on a charge of peculation which he proved. Pilkington then became Chief Civil Engineer on the West Coast of Africa in 1817, but left in 1819 for health reasons. He spent some time in Trinidad and joined the Governor's Staff in 1821, he was appointed Chief Engineer by the Governor in 1828, which appointment was unconfirmed and he left for England. 'He was strongly religious and opposed all warfare for many years he was an itinerant preacher for the anti-slavery movement, universal peace and evangelical Christianity, but does not seem to have belonged to any church. He followed this calling for seven years before resuming his profession, serving with the Central of Spain (sic) Railways' (A&B Jul 1918:429). In 1848 he came to the Cape where he replaced CC MICHELL in the post of Colonial Civil Engineer. About 1855 he submitted designs for the Parliament Buildings, Cape Town. He surveyed Bain's Kloof Road, on which Pilkington Bridge is named after him. He surveyed the route over Du Toit's Pass in 1858 (Du Toitskloof). The road was built much later. He remained in Cape Town, dying there in 1858. He was succeeded by John SCOTT TUCKER.

(A&B Jul 1918:429-34; Webb 1985; Langham-Carter MS UCT)

Publ: The doctrine of particular providence, s.a.

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

Grey Hospital: 1859. Qonce (King William's Town), Eastern Cape - Architect
Lighthouse, Cape Recife: 1851. Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape - Engineer
Sir George Grey School, later Grey College: 1856. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect

Books citing PILKINGTON

HSRC. 1987. Dictionary of South African Biography Volume V. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pp 591

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pp

Schoeman, Karel. 1982. Vrystaatse erfenis : Bouwerk en geboue in die 19de eeu. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau. pp