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STUCKE, William Henry

Born: 1865 03 06
Died: 1931 04 11


Year registered: 1927

ARIBA Jhb 1889; FRIBA Jhb 1910; MSI

Was a pioneer architect in Johannesburg and founder of one of the largest and oldest practices in South Africa, STUCKE & HARRISON. Born in Cheltenham, England, William Stucke was the son of HJ Stucke and was educated at Cheltenham and Sydenham. From March 1881 he was articled for four and a half years to John Middleton, Prothero & Phillpott, Cheltenham and Westminster, the architects for the Diocese of Gloucester; Stucke apparently spent three of his apprenticeship years as an assistant master at the Cheltenham School of Art. On completion of his articles (c1886) he was employed consecutively in the London offices of Emerson in Westminster, Sawyer in Chancery Lane and Marshall in Bedford Square, and applied for Associate membership of the RIBA in 1888 while in Cheltenham. In 1889 he left for South Africa where he completed his RIBA nomination papers, giving two addresses, both post office box numbers, one in Johannesburg and one in Bloemfontein. Although Stucke's obituary said that Stucke went straight to Johannesburg, his FRIBA nomination papers (1910) said that he first went to Bloemfontein. According to Men of the Times, Transvaal (1905:326), Stucke was employed by ALEXANDER & GRADON in Johannesburg in 1889; before June 1890 Stucke also worked for JD Larson, AMICE, MIME, CE, the manager of the Johannesburg City & Suburban Tramway Co. Stucke set up practice on his own account around June 1890 in Bloemfontein (the RIBA Kalender lists him first in Bloemfontein in 1895/1896). In 1893 Stucke won his first competition, for the South African Mutual Life Assurance Society Building in Johannesburg. He moved to Johannesburg in 1894 and about this time employed JE HARRISON who came to South Africa 1893/1894 to look after the Bloemfontein office. Stucke settled in Johannesburg and became a member of the Rand Club in 1894; he executed the Durban office of the South African Mutual Life Assurance Society in 1896. Stucke admitted Harrison into partnership in 1897 (cf. STUCKE & HARRISON), Harrison remaining in Bloemfontein. Stucke's business in Johannesburg grew. Among architects employed by him was Orlando MIDDLETON, whom Stucke sent to Port Elizabeth in 1898 to supervise the erection of the Mutual Arcade Building. On the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899, Stucke also moved to Port Elizabeth where he was joined by WE BANNISTER. Stucke and Bannister entered into partnership in 1901 (cf. STUCKE & BANNISTER). Harrison eventually joined Stucke in Port Elizabeth, having left Bloemfontein, first going to Oudtshoorn, then to Cape Town before arriving in Port Elizabeth. Between 1902 and 1905 he designed a few buildings in Durban. Several buildings were executed during the war, both in Port Elizabeth and in Cape Town, under the name of Stucke & Bannister, but the buildings carried out by the firm in Port Elizabeth were all designed by Stucke: 'Mr Stucke alone was responsible for the designs' (SAB Sep 1925:23). After the war Stucke returned to Johannesburg, together with Bannister. Stucke was elected a Rand Pioneer in June 1907, his business continuing to flourish. In 1908 Bannister returned to Britain and the firm became known as Stucke & Harrison. In 1910 Stucke was elected a Fellow of the RIBA, his papers being signed by DICKSON, REID and EMLEY, and was elected president of the Association of Transvaal Architects in 1913. He was an eminent member of the profession in the Transvaal and on a number of occasions was invited to act as assessor of architectural competitions; on at least one of these occasions (the competition for the Pretoria Post Office 1908-1909), he was proposed by H BAKER as a co-assessor. Stucke was selected as one of the three adjudicators of the Baker Scholarship in 1911, and until at least 1918 Baker's offices were in Exploration Buildings, which had been designed by Stucke in 1897.

As late as 1918 Morrie HARRIS wrote praising Stucke's design for the Cuthbert's store in Johannesburg (1903-1904) commending its contribution to street architecture; it remains one of his most memorable buildings and a landmark in Johannesburg. In 1917 he became Member of the Provincial Council for the Von Brandis constituency, a post he held for six years. Stucke married in 1924 and undertook a nine-month tour of Europe before returning to his practice in Johannesburg. On the occasion of Sir Herbert Baker's visit to South Africa in 1927, Stucke gave the address and toast at a dinner in Baker's honour held in Johannesburg. Stucke died at his home at 115 Derby Road, Judith's Paarl, Johannesburg. He had three children and still owned several properties in Cheltenham, England. Harrison continued to run the firm under the same style after Stucke's death (cf. STUCKE & HARRISON, STUCKE, HARRISON & SMAIL), the firm continues today.

Excerpt from SA Who's Who of 1923-24 "STUCKE, William Henry. F.B.I.B.A., .M.San.I., P.A.S.I., Architect; b. 1865. at Cheltenham; s. of late H. J. Stucke. Educ. Cheltenham and Sydenham. Articled to John Middleton & Son. Cheltenham. Came to South Africa 1889. The following were erected from his designs. The Standard Bank Buildings. Johannesburg; The S African Mutual Buildings at Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, and Grahamstown; The Bank of Africa Buildings at Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth; The Exploration Buildings, Permanent Buildings, and Cuthberts Buildings, New Pavilion to the Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg, and the First Grey College, Bloemfontein. Senior Partner in the firm Stucke & Harrison, Architects. Johannesburg. Elected Member of the Provincial Council in 1917, for the Von Brandis Division, in the Unionist Party interest. Member of the Rand Club, Johannesburg; City Club, Cape Town; and Bloemfontein Club. Add.. S.A. Mutual Buildings, Johannesburg, Transvaal."

(Afr Archt Jun 1911:21; Afr Archt Aug 1911:64; Afr Archt Apr 1912:197; Afr Archt Sep 1912:48; Afr Archt Oct 1913:266; Afr Archt Feb 1914:314; ARIBA nom papers (1889); Building May 1918:130-136; Building Mar 1924:34; Building Dec 1918:206-9; FRIBA nom papers (1910) 1440; HARRISON 1970, 1971; Longlands Tvl & Rhod dir 1903:523; Men Tvl 1905; RDM 13.4.31:10 col 8 obit; SAAR Jun 1924:36; SAAR Jun 1926:39-41; SAAR Sep 1927 59-60; SAAR Jan 1936:30; SAAR Mar 1931:32 obit; SAAR Sep 1931:78; SAB Apr 1931:47; SAWW 1908, 1910, 1916, 1927-8; Stucke Exhib Cat (RAU) Nov 1977; TAD MHG 74882; UNSAL)

Publ: Hagia Sophia, Jnl ATA Dec 1916:39-41

The photograph is from the SA Who's Who of 1923-24 and with the excerpt was sent to us by William MARTINSON.

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

Bank of Africa: 1903. Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape - Design Architect
Bank of Africa - Second: 1897. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Barsdorf Bldg: 1895. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Bloemfontein Club: 1891-1892. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Collegiate School for Girls: 1900. Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape - Design Architect 1904
CW Champion Building: c1930. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Exploration Building: 1897. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Design Architect
Express, offices: n.d.. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Farrar bldg (Clewer House): 1897. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Fordsburg Market: 1896. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Grey College - First: 1893. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
House Barlow: Kelvedon House: c1891. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
House FW Beyers: 1896. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
House T Creivar: 1896. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Lennon's Bldg: 1897. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Loewenstein Bldg: 1897. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Old Mutual: 1892. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Old Mutual: 1896. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect
Old Mutual: c1898-1900. Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape - Architect
Old Mutual: 1894. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Old Mutual: c1902. Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape - Architect
Paramount Building: n.d.. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Permanent Building (Victory House): 1896. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Power station: n.d.. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Rosenberg Bldg: c1896. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
SA Mutual Life Assurance Society Building: 1902. Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
Steytler Bldg: 1896. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Store Bros Building - Second: 1897. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Sytner Bros building - Birmingham House: c1900. Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape - Architect
Ziman Bldg: 1895. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing STUCKE

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 48

SAWW & Donaldson, K. 1926. South African Who's Who (Social and Business) 1925-1926 . Cape Town: Ken Donaldson. pp 262

SAWW & Donaldson, K (Ed.). 1920. South African Who's Who (Social, Business & Farming) 1919-1920 . Cape Town: Ken Donaldson. pp 197

Schoeman, Karel. 1980. Bloemfontein: die ontstaan van 'n stad. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau. pp

Schoeman, Karel. 1982. Vrystaatse erfenis : Bouwerk en geboue in die 19de eeu. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau. pp 57

Schoeman, Karel. 1985. Boukunsskatte van die Vrystaat / Free State Heritage. Roodepoort: CUM Boeke vir Stigting NALM. pp

Simons, Phillida Brooke. 1995. Old Mutual, 1845-1995. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau. pp 73, 77, 83

van der Waal, Gerhard-Mark. 1987. From Mining Camp to Metropolis - The buildings of Johannesburg 1886-1940. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pp

Walker, Michael. 2013. The pioneer architects of Johannesburg and their buildings (1886 - 1899) with postcard illustrations. St James: The Kalk Bay Historical Association. pp 36-44