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List of Projects

COOK, James Charles

Born: 1878 04 25
Died: 1955 03 31


ARIBA Bloemfontein (1905); ISAA (1927).

A pioneer architect in the Benoni-Boksburg area circa 1908 and co-founder of the Johannesburg firm of COOK and COWEN. James Charles Cook served his articles with Ross and Macbeth of Inverness from 1892, attending classes at Inverness Burgh Technical School. On completing his apprenticeship in October 1897 he moved to London as assistant to John Belcher, subsequently working briefly as assistant to Wimperis and Best in early 1901 before emigrating to South Africa to join MILNE and SLADDIN of Cape Town in May that year. He passed the qualifying exam in 1904, enabling him to be admitted ARIBA on 4 December 1905, his proposers being Alexander Ross, William Laidlaw Carruthers and John Slater. His nomination papers state that he had travelled in Italy from January to April of the previous year, but had returned to South Africa thereafter (extracted from Dictionary of Scottish Architects).

He was in South Africa by 1905 when he was elected an Associate member of the RIBA, living in Bloemfontein, and had apparently lived in Cape Town in about 1904. His first recorded work was a submission for the Pretoria Post Office competition in December 1908 for which he gained honourable mention (1909). He was at the time still resident in Bloemfontein but the same year moved to the Transvaal where he entered into partnership with JF MacKENZIE in Boksburg (cf COOK and MacKENZIE). The Cape Times (March 1911) noted that the Pretoria Post Office was executed according to the elevations of COOK and MacKENZIE and to the ground plans of TULLY, WATERS and CLELAND. COOK and JF McKENZIE were listed at separate box numbers in Boksburg in the United Transvaal Directory of both 1915 and 1917. COOK was elected a member of the Council of Association of Transvaal Architects in 1914 and in about 1915 appears to have entered into partnership with WJ SLOAN with offices in Boksburg, Benoni and Johannesburg (cf COOK & SLOAN). Sloan left this partnership in about 1917 and Cook continued to practise in Boksburg, in 1917 being elected to represent the Association of Transvaal Architects' practice committee in Boksburg. In 1918 Cook entered into partnership with J RALSTON of Pretoria (cf COOK and RALSTON), practising in Johannesburg until about 1923 when the partnership was dissolved, both partners remaining in Johannesburg. He was also a member of Boksburg Municipal Council. He practised on his own account from about 1923 until 1927. His most important building of this period of independent practice was probably the design of Boksburg Town Hall in 1926. During this time he was commissioned to design a number of apartment blocks, a type of work which became the core of the practice with Maurice COWEN with whom he entered into partnership in 1927 (cf COOK and COWEN). He maintained his Boksburg links after he moved to Johannesburg, being requested to design several buildings of importance in there until at least 1939. Cook lived latterly at 3 Central Street in Lower Houghton and died in Johannesburg.

This listing, with additional referencing, appears in Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

(AB&E Apr 1926:12; Afr Archt Feb 1914:314; ISAA mem list; PWD 122/3253; RIBA Kal 1905/6; SAAR May 1955:47 death notice; SAWW 1919-20; TAD MHG 2075/55; UTD 1909:401, 413)

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

Ashton House, add third storey: 1927. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Bradlows Building: 1925. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Building for DP Roberts: 1925. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Building for Progress Investment Co: 1928. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Convent, Pietersburg: 1926. Polokwane (Pietersburg), Limpopo - Architect
Cumberland House (Mansions): 1927. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Factory/shops, Stand 1342, for Tvl Confectionery Co ltd: 1926. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Flats for Mr Levey: 1928. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Hepworth's Bldg: 1928. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
House Hart: 1928. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
House McPherson, add, Highlands: 1927. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
House Morris Green, stand 1247: 1927. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Irol Mansions: 1927. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Karp and Fisher warehouse: 1927. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
National Party Club: 1925. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
New Kempsey Building: c1920s. Marshalltown, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Penry Roberts Mansions: 1927. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Shop/Auction Mart/Offices for Klass: 1923. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
St Dominic's Convent: c1920. Boksburg, Gauteng - Architect
St Patrick's Mansions: 1922. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Town Hall: 1926. Boksburg, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing COOK

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp C12b

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