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CANNING, Francis Lennox

Born: 1856
Died: 1895 09 17


'his monuments in stone and lime remain eloquent of the efforts and success of a genius' (The Friend 20 Sep 1895 - obituary). Canning was born, educated and trained in London. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1874, while articled to Mr Worthington of Buckingham St. He subsequently held appointments in the offices of Professor Hayter Lewis, FSA and was leading assistant with Perry and Reed. When he was elected an associate member of the RIBA (1881) he was managing assistant to Joseph Clarke, FSA one of the architects to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He had some working experience in Scotland since he was a Fellow of the Society of Architects, Scotland.

Canning arrived in South Africa about 1882 where he was first associated with Sydney STENT, architect to the Cape Government in Queenstown and supervised the erection of the Queenstown Town Hall in about 1882. In 1883, during his time in Stent's office he won the competition for the new presidential residence at Bloemfontein, the Presidency. It was at this point (1884) that he entered into partnership with Frederick GOAD (cf CANNING & GOAD) who had witnessed Canning's marriage in Queenstown in 1884.

By 1885 Canning was living in Bloemfontein, supervising the building of the Presidency, and by 1889 was recorded living at the Clarendon House Boarding House in Church Street West in Pretoria. A few years later, around 1892, Canning made 'a holiday trip to the old country' and returned to work in South Africa about a year before he died. In a letter dated 27 May 1894 he wrote to the Landdrost of Johannesburg referring to the building of a parsonage for the Dutch Reformed Church (1888) by his 'late firm, Lennox Canning and Goad', (Goad had died a sudden death.) In 1894 he stopped his membership of the RIBA but was reinstated in the same year. Canning died of pneumonia, aged thirty-nine, while living in Doornfontein, Johannesburg. His ARIBA nomination papers have gone astray.

Francis Lennox CANNING died in Johannesburg on 17 Septemer 1895 and was buried in Braamfontein cemetery, grave number 4161 in the English Church section (Anglican). There is no headstone.

ARIBA 1881; Fellow of Society of Architects, Scotland. (Afr Notes & News vol 30 No 4 Dec 1992:154-7; Barnes Tvl almnc & dir 1889:110; Oberholster 1972:205, 207; OFSPIA Newsletter 1985:12-14; Restorica 11 Jul 1982:41-2; The Friend 20 Sep 1895 obit; TAD MHG 10460; Letter May 27, 1894 (HSRC doc). Publ: South African Dwellings, RIBA Jnl Feb 1886/7 (?):183

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

Raadsaal - Fourth: 1893. Bloemfontein, Free State - Design Architect

Books citing CANNING

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 126, 127

Walker, Michael. 2013. The pioneer architects of Johannesburg and their buildings (1886 - 1899) with postcard illustrations. St James: The Kalk Bay Historical Association. pp 13, 31