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EAST, Hubert Springford

Born: 1868 06 09
Died: 1947 10 16


The following information was sent to us by Barney Reynolds of Launceston, Tasmania who is doing research for a biography of HS East. Much of the information comes from Jim Hart of Melbourne, Victoria, and Monty Springford East of Hobart, Tasmania. Both architects and grandsons of HS East.

East was born on 9th of June 1868 in Launceston, Tasmania and died there on 16th October 1947 being buried in the Carr Villa Cemetery. He married Ellen Augusta Mercer, born 1873. She died in Finchley, London UK in 1916 and was buried in England. Their first child, Lesley Springford East, died aged one. They went on to have three more children: Millicent, Molly and Martin Springford East. Molly married a Hart and amongst others had Jim Hart (mentioned above). Martin married and had amongst others Montague Springford East (mentioned above). East returned to Tasmania in 1921.

East was educated at Perth Primary School just outside Launceston, performing exceedingly well. His senior education was at Launceston Church Grammar School beginning 1880. Whilst at LCGS he was in a class of boys 4 years his senior, East being that "bright".

Barney Reynolds also sent the photograph of EAST in later life.


East was in partnership with AH REID and W REID from 1905 to 1910. (cf REID & EAST).

His contribution to Part III of Volume VI of 'Modern Buildings. Their Planning, Construction and Equipment (Middleton, G, (Ed.) s.a. [1909]) designates him as A.R.I.B.A., Soane medallist and Aldwinkle student.' From this article it can be deduced that he practiced in his own right under the name H. S. East A.R.I.B.A. Architect, doing the design of residential buildings. His own design contributions record his practice as being located in Mansion House Chambers, Cape Town.

Source. East, HS. s.a. [1909]. South African Planning and Construction, in Middleton, G, (Ed.). Modern Buildings. Their Planning, Construction and Equipment. (in six volumes). London: Caxton. Pp.157-195.

Design of a house for a 40 foot [12m] wide plot (p. 158, Fig. 282)
Design of a house for a 100 X 50 foot [30m x 15m] plot (pp. 159 + 160, Fig. 283 and 284)
Design of a house for a 40 X 80 foot [12m x 24m] plot (p. 161, Fig. 285)

"The houses illustrated in Figs. 282, 283, and 284 have been designed for restricted sites, and are all one-storey houses, and serve as types to illustrate the foregoing. That shown in Fig. 282 was designed for a site of a not altogether unusual size, namely, a plot and a half, the original plots being 40 feet wide (12,19m). It was designed under instructions that the dining and drawing-rooms must face the front street (there being a street also at rear), a stoep on three sides of the house, and bedroom and other windows as far as possible not overlooking the neighbouring houses. The separation of the living rooms from the kitchen, by means of a wide and straight ventilating corridor, is noticeable, as is also the departmentalising of the bedrooms and the distinct bedroom accommodation for the coloured (sic) servant, - this last to the detriment of the kitchen, which, if not top lighted, would be dark and lack ventilation. The foundation walls are of red brick, the walls above being rough-casted, with plain cement whitewashed verandah piers and walls. There is a slated roof with silver grey ridge and hip tiles. The half-timber work in gables is executed in jarrah.

The house shown generally in Fig. 283 (a large detail of the front being given in Fig. 284) was designed to fit the regulation 100 (30,48m) by 50 (15,24m) feet plot. The plan, although not altogether free from defects, -is an improvement upon the type of house usually erected under such conditions. It was intended to be built of ordinary bricks with rough-cast tinted brown, and smooth plaster of a very light cream tint, and on a local hard roughly squared stone foundation. The stoep was to be paved with 3 inch local fine axed granite slabs, the. half-timber work being of jarrah and the front door teak, with red English plain tiles for the roof covering.

Fig. 285 shows the plan of a house of a very usual size (mostly arranged semi-detached) on a plot of ground 40 (12,19m) by 80 (24,38m) feet, about the smallest subdivision made. In a house of this size and accommodation part of the passage-way is generally thrown into the dining-room, with access from the kitchen, etc., to the entrance door through it. This is strongly to be condemned, being a most inconvenient and uncomfortable arrangement, the extra space thrown into dining-room not compensating for the drawbacks. At the same time, neither is the ill lit and worse ventilated central passage way much to be commended; yet, as in Australia, it seems to be inevitable.

This is perhaps the smallest type of house the architect is called upon to design.

Owing to the scanty supply of good labour in the past, added to its expensiveness, and the lack of good material of almost every sort, the use of stock materials, such as doors, windows, architraves, skirtings, mouldings, etc., has become general, greatly to the hindrance of architectural development and style. In the past few years, however, a great improvement has taken place, and a more satisfactory standard attained, the result of more knowledge and better workmanship and materials; and consequently, particularly in the better class of houses, the architect's ideas are usually more satisfactorily and successfully carried out."

House at Sea Point, Cape Town (p. 165)
Block of Offices, Cape Town (p. 173 + 174).

The following is an entry transcribed from Men of the Times - Old Colonists of the Cape Colony and Orange River Colony; The Transvaal Publishing Co, Johannesburg, Cape Town and London; 1906.

"Mr. H. S. East, A.R.I.B.A., was born and educated in Tasmania, and served his articles with Messrs. L. G. Corrie and Alexander North, architects, of Launceston, the northern city of the Colony. In 1889 he went to Melbourne for a year, then to London, where he entered the offices of Messrs. J.T.T. Wimperis and Arber. In 1891 he passed the qualifying examination for the Royal Institute of British Architects, and was elected an associate member in the following year. In 1895 he won the Soane Medallion with £100 for continental travel, and in 1896 he secured the Aldwinckle Studentship.

He was the first Australian to win the Soane Medallion, and in competition his design was the first of twenty competitors. On returning from the Continent Mr. East commenced private practice in London, and in 1898 entered into partnership with Mr. Edmund Walter Wimperis, of Conduit Street, London. During his residence in England this firm carried out several important buildings, including Thurston's business premises in Leicester Square, Lawrie & Co's Picture Galleries, Bond Street and numerous other business premises and private houses.

Towards the end of 1902 Mr. East came to Cape Town, and after successfully practicing alone for some time joined the firm of Arthur and Walter Reid at the beginning of 1905."

Entry and photograph sent to us by William MARTINSON

Books citing EAST

Walker, Michael. 2013. The pioneer architects of Johannesburg and their buildings (1886 - 1899) with postcard illustrations. St James: The Kalk Bay Historical Association. pp 14

Entries in books by EAST

East, HS. South African Planning and Construction. In Modern Buildings, their planning, construction and equipment. vols 1-7. 1907-10. 1907. Caxton