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SKINNER, William

Born: 1828 02 10
Died: 1885 06 15


Was an English mason whom Andries Pretorius called up from Natal to design his house in Pretoria in about 1854. The Pretoria Eeufees-Album (1954:25) states that Skinner was born in Canterbury, Kent in England and Pretoriana (no 87:44-5) adds that the DEVEREUX brothers, EL DEVEREUX and L DEVEREUX came from England with Skinner to settle in Natal. Skinner and the Devereux brothers (cf. DEVEREUX & SKINNER) appear to have planned and built the first Dutch Reformed Church on what is now Church Square, Pretoria in 1854 or 1855. The building, which was destroyed by fire in 1882, is shown to have had a stepped gable with finials on the steps and to have been thatched. Skinner was appointed Landdrost of Pretoria in 1869, succeeding Andre du Toit, the original surveyor of Pretoria; he remained in this post until 1878 and died in Pretoria. Skinner St is named after him. He had two sons, Octavius Pieter SKINNER and Thomas Edward SKINNER, both of whom worked for the ZAR PWD.

(Die Volkstem Oct 1904; Pretoria Eeufees-Album 1954*:18, 19 port; Kesting 1978; Pretoriana no 87, Apr 1985:44-45; Preller 1938: 69; Tvl Almnc & dir 1877)

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.

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With photographs
With notes

Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1854-1855. Pretoria, Gauteng - Project Architect

Books citing SKINNER

Dunston, Lola & Dunston, Tom. 1975. Young Pretoria 1889-1913. Pretoria: Dunston. pp 14

HSRC. 1987. Dictionary of South African Biography Volume V. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pp 712-713