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McINTOSH, Frank Gordon

Died: 1926 10 05


Was the son of the architect John McIntosh of Keith, Banffshire and educated at Keith Grammar School; Gordon's College (Robert Gordon's Academy?), Aberdeen and Glasgow Technical College. He emigrated to South Africa in 1889 joining RM CAMPBELL's office in Pretoria before commencing practice on his own account in Pretoria in 1892. He designed a number of important buildings throughout the Transvaal and other parts of the Union. In 1894 he entered into partnership with A CARTER (cf CARTER & McINTOSH) with offices in Pretoria and Johannesburg with McINTOSH in charge in Pretoria. After CARTER's death, the firm's name changed to McINTOSH & MOFFAT in about 1902/3 (cf McINTOSH & MOFFAT), John Abraham MOFFAT having become a partner in 1896. The practice flourished until its dissolution in 1908 after which McIntosh continued to practice on his own account in Pretoria. In 1910 he collaborated with Joseph Lockwood HALL on a design for the Johannesburg City Hall competition in which they were placed fifth (Leonard STOKES was the assessor.) He was successful in a number of competitions, coming third in the competition for Boksburg Town Hall in 1912 and winning the 1920 competition for the 1820 Settlers' Memorial Campanile, Port Elizabeth; the latter was not built to his designs, allegedly on the grounds of being too expensive (cf WJ McWILLIAMS). In about 1925 he won the competition for the headquarters of the Uganda Railways in Nairobi and the new offices in Uganda (SAAR Jun 1925:33; SAB Sep 1925:23). In 1926 MCINTOSH in collaboration with Joseph Lockwood HALL won the competition for the Pretoria City Hall (assessor of the competition being E Vincent HARRIS). HALL executed the job almost alone since McINTOSH died a few months later at his home Whitecrook in Schoeman Street, Pretoria shortly after the results of the competition were announced. McINTOSH had practised for thirty-five years in Pretoria. Among his hobbies was photography; a small number of photographs, possibly by him, survive in the WG McINTOSH Papers. McINTOSH was the father of the well-known Pretoria architect WG McINTOSH.

HALL wrote McINTOSH's obituary. In a letter from Herbert BAKER to JA HOOGTERP, Baker commented on the death of FG McINTOSH: 'Poor fellow, it was hard to die after these two successes' (Hoogterp Papers, Nov 1926). BAKER was referring to McINTOSH's winning the competitions (1925 and 1926) for the Uganda Railways Headquarters in Nairobi and for Pretoria Town Hall. Dying under such conditions was something that Baker evidently sympathised deeply.

HALL's best-known work is probably Pretoria City Hall and indeed, FG McINTOSH's role in the competition is not generally mentioned; contemporary criticism of the completed building expressed disappointment with the result although there were also aspects which received favourable comment, such as the main hall where 'a classical theme of the Renaissance period has been treated ... with freedom and modernity'.

See also Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

(AB&E Dec 1937:18).

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

6 Shops for M Liebman: 1924. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Bourke Trust Building: 1926?. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
City Hall: 1926 - 1935. Central, Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Entabini, Additional Block: 1925. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Flour Mill: 1926. Pretoria West, Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Gresham Buildings: 1924. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Presbyterian Hall: 1923. Hatfield, Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
United Building Society: 1926. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect