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EAGLE, Piercy James (Patrick)

Born: 1875
Died: 1932 09 19


Was chief architect of the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, Transvaal Colony between 1907 and 1910 and became chief architect of the Public Works Department of the Union of South Africa from 1910 until 1920. He was born in London where he trained in the office of 'a well-known architect' whose identity is as yet unknown. He was subsequently employed as an assistant to other architects of whom the only one identified by Eagle was 'Mr Ferguson of Carlisle'. He married in Carlisle (n.d.).

Eagle was appointed to the staff of the War Office architectural department in London in about 1899, among his colleagues was William BEVAN who was appointed chief architect of the Transvaal Colony in 1902; at the time, Eagle was living at 41 Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath in Surrey and was Bevan's neighbour.

He left for South Africa in 1903 on the Gascon, accompanied by S WHITMORE; they arrived in Cape Town in December 1903. Both had been strongly recommended for their posts by Bevan who was already in the Transvaal and Eagle took up his duties as a draughtsman in the Public Works Department in Pretoria on 18 December 1903. He was promoted to the post of assistant architect in July 1904, under Bevan and succeeded Bevan as chief architect in 1907.

In April 1912 Eagle, previously acting chief architect of the Union was officially appointed chief architect of the Public Works Department, Union of South Africa on the re-organisation of the Civil Service into the Public Service after Union. As chief architect Eagle was the assessor of several competitions and was appointed one of the assessors for the BAKER Scholarship in 1913, his co-assessors being Herbert BAKER himself and WH STUCKE.

A number of public buildings executed in the Transvaal during Eagle's active period of office (1907-1912) were distinguished in their design, reflecting the Arts and Crafts and Queen Anne Revival movements and the influence of Herbert Baker.

On the outbreak of the First World War Eagle was appointed Director of Works in the expropriated German South West Africa with the rank of major. He joined the ranks of the South African Heavy Brigade in 1916 and served in France. He returned to his post in the Department in 1920 but, after only a few months, resigned in September 1920.

Following his resignation Eagle was appointed to the Housing Board and served on it from 1920 to 1927 while in private practice in Pretoria: together with HLG PILKINGTON and H McQUEEN, he entered and won the competition for the Durban War Memorial in 1921; the commission was completed by Pilkington in 1926 and Eagle's contribution to the design remains unclear. His late works include the plinth for the war memorial in Burgers Park and the Polley's Hotel in Pretoria. His last recorded buildings were a series of tobacco warehouses north of Pretoria. He lived latterly in Lewis & Marks flats, Pretoria and died in Pretoria General Hospital, comparatively young. His christian name can be found given either as Patrick (he was known as 'Pat Eagle') or as Percy but Piercy is correct.

Mem ATA; ISAA 1927. (AB&E Aug 1919:2; AB&E Sep 1920:3, 5 port; AB&E Dec 1921:i-iii; Afr Archt Feb 1912:175 ill; Afr Archt Oct 1913:266; Afr Archt Nov 1913:281; Building Sep 1920:394; Building Dec 1921:531; Greig 1971; ISAA mem list; Jnl ATA Mar 1917:57; Picton-Seymour 1977; PSL 1905; PWD ar 1915, 1918, 1920; PWD 210*; PWD 189*; Restorica Oct 1983:37; SAAR Oct 1932:273 obit by Harry BELL-JOHN; SAAR May 1935:132; TAD MHG 79999)

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

Barnato Park High School for Girls: n.d.. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Design Architect
Central SAR Park Station, admin block: n.d.. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Ditsong National Museum of Natural History: 1910 : c1997. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Design Architect
Jeppe High School for Boys: 1906. Jeppestown, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
King Edward VII High School for Boys: 1908-1911. Houghton, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Design Architect
Law Courts: 1910. Central, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Design Architect
Normal College, new bldgs: 1909. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Old Arts Building - University of Pretoria: 1911. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Design Architect
Onderstepoort Veterinary Sciences Research Station: 1908. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Design Architect
Ou Lettere gebou - University of Pretoria: 1911. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Design Architect
Polytechnic and Normal College: 1914. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Potchefstroom Boys' High School: 1904-1905. Potchefstroom, North West - Design Architect
Pretoria Boys' High School: 1909. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Chief Architect PWD
Prison: c1907. Krugersdorp, Gauteng - Design Architect
Scottish War Memorial, Burgers' Park: 1926. Central, Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect
Tobacco warehouse/office: 1927. Brits, North West - Architect
Tobacco warehouse/office: 1927. Magaliesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Tobacco warehouse/office: 1927. Modimolle (Nylstroom), Limpopo - Architect
Tobacco warehouse/office: 1927. Rustenburg, North West - Architect
University of Pretoria Transvaal University College Building (Ou Lettere Gebou / Old Arts Building): 1911. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Design Architect
Uplands: 1923. White River, Mpumalanga - Architect
Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital: 1892 : 1907. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Architect Supervisor 1907

Books citing EAGLE

Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 133, 136, 166

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp E1a

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 151

Walker, Michael. 2013. The pioneer architects of Johannesburg and their buildings (1886 - 1899) with postcard illustrations. St James: The Kalk Bay Historical Association. pp 20