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REID, Harry Austin

Born: 1859
Died: 1934 07 24


'Best remembered as designer of Cape Town's City Hall ... one of the Rand Pioneers ... an alert and vigorous personality which manifested itself in much adaptability and marked capacity' (AB&E Jul 1934:8), HA Reid was the second son of William Henry REID, architect, to whom he was articled in Plymouth, England. He completed his education and pupilage in London. In 1877 (1878 see Men Tvl 1905:308) he came to South Africa with his family and began his career as an architect in the Cape Colony where he remained for eleven years; around 1888 he was working in Kimberley where a drawing for the Masonic Temple in Dutoitspan Road, signed by HA Reid, still exists. He was living in Johannesburg by 1889 and collaborated on a building in about 1890 in Johannesburg with his brother AH REID (cf REID, AH & HA), the only occasion in which HA Reid is mentioned in association with either of his brothers; some sources have attributed work by him to AH Reid. Reid's military activities played an important part in his career, he is mentioned for his participation in the Frontier Wars (1877-1888) and served as a bombadier with the PAOCV Artillery and was then commissioned in the Cape Town Highland Regiment. He also took part in the second Anglo-Boer War as a Captain in the Commander-in-Chief's Bodyguard Regiment attached to Lord Roberts, participating in General French's marches in the Transvaal, Orange Free State and Cape.

Reid was in association with EBJ KNOX (1892) in Johannesburg before entering into partnership with FG GREEN of Cape Town in 1895 (cf REID & GREEN) and winning the competition for the Cape Town city hall (1895-1905). He later entered into correspondence in the South African Architect & Builder , unhappy with the journal's reporting on the city hall: 'the arduous task of deciding on the treatment of the foundations ... together with a considerable proportion of the superstructure, was done solely by myself ... I find no kind of mention or appreciation bestowed on my name through your medium ... during this period my late partner had returned to Australia on private business ... I have been called on to resume my joint office, take the helm ... when matters were approaching a strike on the buildings ... and the good ship 'superintendence' was brought back to its true course' (SAA&B Feb 1905:94).

The Cape Town City Hall is the most enduring work by any of the Reid brothers and, through public appeal, has survived several threats of demolition. The partners were successful in competitions for the Government and Corporation Hospital, Cape Town (the Infectious Diseases Hospital) and the Boksburg Hospital. At some stage (n.d.) Reid worked for Crown Mines in Johannesburg. He was elected a councillor in the first British Johannesburg Municipality in 1903 and again in 1905, was commissioned by the Government as a Justice of the Peace for the Witwatersrand and was a candidate for the first Union Parliament in 1910.

He married in 1890 and was the father of seven children 'born while domiciled in the Transvaal Republic and since British occupation' (SAWW 1927-8). One of his sons, Captain OA Reid, won both the Military Cross and the Victoria Cross.

(AB&E Jul 1934:8 obit; Men Tvl 1905:308; SAAR Jul 1934:192 obit; SAWW 1927-8; The Star July 24 1934 obit; Yuill 1984)

Publ: Cape Town City Hall, a reply to the editor of the South African Architect & Builder by HA Reid (SAA&B Feb 1905:94).

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

City Hall: 1894-1905. Cape Town, Western Cape - Design Architect
Golden City Hotel (later the Gladstone Hotel): 1905. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Hospital: pre-1905. Boksburg, Gauteng - Architect
Masonic Hall: 1888. Kimberley, Northern Cape - Architect
Pavilion - Second Race Track, Prospect: 1888. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing REID

Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pp 32-33

Walker, Michael. 2013. The pioneer architects of Johannesburg and their buildings (1886 - 1899) with postcard illustrations. St James: The Kalk Bay Historical Association. pp 35, 36