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FALLON, Walter Adolphus Ritchie

Born: 1885
Died: 1962 03 03


Reg No: 33
Year registered: 1927

Also referred to as RITCHIE-FALLON, WA.

Was a senior partner in REID, DELBRIDGE & FALLON, later DELBRIDGE & FALLON, of Cape Town and played a significant role in the development of architectural education in South Africa. He was born in Bristol, England and came to the Cape in 1897 as a child with his family. For three years from February 1901 he was a pupil with E SIMPKIN, architect and surveyor, Cape Town. He left Simpkin's office in 1904, receiving a small commission on his own account in 1905. In January 1906 he left for England where he worked for an architect, A Dixon, from March 1906 until December 1907. It is uncertain where Dixon worked, but as Fallon's papers for Associate membership of the RIBA were signed by the well-known Bristol-based architect, GH Oatley, he may have been in Bristol. During his vacations Fallon sketched the principal cathedral cities and and universities in England. He sat for the RIBA examination in November 1907, returning to South Africa in 1910 where he settled in Cape Town and opened practice. In 1912 he won first premium in a public competition for the Municipal Abattoirs, Maitland, and entered into partnership with John LYON in Cape Town (cf. LYON & FALLON). The partnership lasted until 1923.

By 1914 Fallon was an associate member of the Cape Institute of Architects and was elected president for 1922 to 1923. He was chairman of the Federal Council on Architectural Education from 1924 to 1925. In November 1923 he joined the Cape Town office of REID & DELBRIDGE as a partner (cf. REID, DELBRIDGE & FALLON), AH REID having died in 1922. Fallon remained a partner until he commenced independent practice around 1939.

In 1923 he had a house at Pinelands which he may have designed himself, illustrated in the Architect, Builder and Engineer (Mar 1923:13), a thatched double-storey cottage. At some stage he married a French woman who had been a circus wrestler, according to someone who knew them. He was working with L LUBYNSKI and I LEEB around 1947 and then with NM NOALL and WERTHMALLE in 1955. In 1959 he was a partner in LUBYNSKI, LEEB, RITCHIE-FALLON & NOALL. According to an editorial in the Architect, Builder & Engineer, Fallon was 'known among his confreres as a capable, earnest, hardworking practitioner of unflinching honesty of purpose and no little organising ability' (AB&E Jun 1922:3). He is portrayed in Character Sketches as 'a near relative of Captain Cuttle' (AB&E Aug 1924:7), the character in Dickens's Dombey and Son renowned for his goodwill. Fallon's name was spelt Ritchie-Fallon in his ARIBA nom papers, 1908.)

ARIBA London 1908; ISAA 1927. (AB&E Nov 1921:7; AB&E Jun 1922:3; AB&E Aug 1924:7 port, notes; Afr Archt May 1914:339; ARIBA nom papers (1908); Building Mar 1924:29; ISAA mem list; SAWW 1962 obit list)

Publ: Standard conditions of contract: Tenders in endorsed envelopes, specified schedules of quantities, SAAR Dec 1928:195-208;

He was Vice-President-in-Chief of the Institute of South African Architects from 1928 to 1930.

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

High School, new assembly hall: 1939. Clanwilliam, Western Cape - Architect
House Keyzer - Nieuport: 1950. Kalk Bay, Western Cape - Architect
St George's Hotel: 1878 : 1902 : 1910 : 1911. Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect 1911 upgrades *

Books citing FALLON

Brown, SM. 1969. Architects and others: an annotated list of people of South African interest appearing in the RIBA Journal 1880-1925. Johannesburg: Unpublished dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand. pp

ISAA. 1959. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1958-1959 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1958-1959. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 96, 210

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp F2

Malan, Christoph & McInerney, Patrick. 2003. Building an African Icon : The Northern Cape Provincial Government Complex. Johannesburg: MPTS Architectural Library. pp 96, 210

Reps, John W. 1997. Canberra 1912 : Plans and planners of the Australian capital competition. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp 353

Walker, Michael. 2010. A Statement In Stone. Cape Town: Privately published by Michael Walker. pp 85-86