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RITCHIE, Allan McGregor

Born: 1870 05 26
Died: ?


Allan McGregor Ritchie was actually born George Allan Ritchie on 26 May 1870 at Browne Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of John Ritchie, journeyman joiner, and his wife Alice Allan. They had married in Prestonpans in 1865. In the 1881 Census John Ritchie was described as a master joiner and employed 4 men and a boy. The family lived at 13 Calton Hill. George A is 6 years old and was a scholar, like his sister Mary who was two years older. By 1891 the family had moved to 45 South Frederick Street (good address in the New Town). George Allan is now called Allan and like his father is a joiner. At this stage the father is described as a journeyman joiner.

Ritchie trained in the office of Hippolyte Blanc, Edinburgh; this is inferred from a letter in which CW METHVEN mentioned he had a Scots assistant in his office who had trained with H Blanc, Ritchie was at the time assistant in Methven's office. Ritchie married in Keswick in Northumberland, England in 1894 and the same year left with his wife for Natal where he worked first for Methven in Durban. They entered into partnership for a short time (cf. METHVEN & RITCHIE) and designed amongst other buildings the Memorial Garrison Church, Pietermaritzburg and Pechey's Mill, West St, Durban. In late 1898 Ritchie entered into partnership with W Elton GALLIERS (cf. RITCHIE & GALLIERS). During the Anglo-Boer War he served as an adjutant in the Natal Field Artillery, returning to the partnership after the war. From 1906 to 1909 he practised on his own account designing the All Saints' Siege Memorial Chapel in Ladysmith, the Natal Land & Colonization Company building and Kehrmann's Stores in Durban. At the end of 1909 Ritchie moved to Pretoria where he possibly worked for the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT. Here he and HG VEALE ('of Pretoria') collaborated in presenting 'a beautiful design for the Ornamentation of Church Square' (Pta News Oct 7, 1910, suppl) which received as much admiration as did the winning design by REES-POOLE & BARBOURE. While in Pretoria he obtained a job in Cape Town (1913) which was to design a bioscope. Ritchie enlisted for active service during the First World War. His career from this point is obscure.

Founder member NIA 1901; Hon Sec & Treas NIA, 1903-5; Vice-Pres NIA 1907-9. (Afr Archt Nov 1913: xi; Hillebrand 1975:199; Hillebrand 1986:473-4; Jnl ATA Mar 1917:59; NWW 1906; UTD 1915; Early history supplied by Yvonne Hillyard - Dictionary of Scottish Architects Manager)

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

All Saints' Siege Memorial Chapel: c1906. uMnambithi (Ladysmith), KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Bioscope: 1913. Kenilworth, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
Kehrmann's Stores: c1906. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Natal Land & Colonization Company building: c1906. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect

Books citing RITCHIE

Hillebrand, Melanie. 1975. Aspects of architecture in Natal, 1880 1914. Pietermaritzburg: Unpublished MA. Dept Fine Art and History of Art, University of Natal. pp 199

Hillebrand, Melanie. 1986. Art and architecture in Natal, 1910-1940. Pietermaritzburg: Unpublished Ph.D. Dept Fine Art and History of Art, University of Natal. pp 473-4