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FLEMING, Francis (Frank) Leonard Hodgson

Born: 1875 07 26
Died: 1950 02 07


Senior partner in the well-known firm BAKER & FLEMING in Johannesburg, and a leading South African architect, FLEMING was born in Southsea, Hampshire, England. His father, Thomas Fleming, was an architect and his brother Owen also practised as an architect. Fleming was educated at Denstone College, Staffordshire, before being articled to Beazley & Burrows, Westminster. On completion of articles he remained in London a further six years in the offices of Marshall & Vickers and of Charles Fitzroy Doll. In the latter's office he worked on the designs for the Russell Hotel in Russell Square circa 1898 and on the Imperial Hotel. He left Doll's office to set up practice on his own account in Kent. His brother, Owen Fleming, was (in 1889) Head Architect of the Housing Division of the newly formed London County Council and had been a 'prominent student at the Architectural Association in London, with ardent Socialist convictions' (Service 1979:31).

Frank FLEMING left for South Africa in 1903. According to information supplied by Owen Fleming and now in the RIBA Biographical file, FLEMING's sister encouraged him to come out and help her organise an orphanage at Irene near Pretoria. This request was apparently backed up by the British Government and 'in about a year Irene became a model school' (Owen Fleming, RIBA biog file.) In fact the school was named the Irene Model School, a government-run orphanage. In 1904 Fleming joined Herbert BAKER (BAKER, MASEY & SLOPER) as an assistant and in 1910 became a partner in the firm (cf BAKER & FLEMING). In 1913 he undertook a short trip to Delhi with Baker, returning to manage Johannesburg office until the partnership was dissolved in 1918 when he continued to practise on his own account. In 1918 Fleming was appointed Diocesan Surveyor to both the Diocese of Pretoria and the Diocese of Johannesburg in 1922. In 1923 he was elected president of the Association of Transvaal Architects. He was joined in partnership by his son, Leonard Huxley FLEMING and two others, not yet identified, in 1936, the firm being called FLEMING & PARTNERS and FLEMING himself being semi-retired. He resumed full-time practice during the Second World War when the younger partners enlisted for active service. After the war, when BS COOKE joined the practice in 1946, the firm became known as FLEMING & COOKE. FLEMING died at Constantia Nek, Cape Town. In continuing BAKER's practice in the Transvaal, FLEMING can be considered to have kept alive BAKER's later domestic style making frequent use of BAKER's idioms and had similar energy: his son, LH FLEMING (1985) noted his father was responsible for 'many private houses and eighty-five churches', a number challenging even BAKER's output.

LRIBA 1912; ATA; FRIBA 1926. (AB&E Jul 1921:5; AB&E Sep 1926:19; FRIBA nom papers (1926) 2408; ISAA mem list; Fleming 1985; RIBA Biog File, Owen Fleming; RIBA Jnl Mar 1950:202-3 obit; SAAR Dec 1950:211; SAWW 1927/8; SESA 3:12; The Builder Feb 17 1950:238 obit)

Publ: Two good things, Building Mar 1921:456; Cape Town Reserve Bank competition, SAAR Sep 1926:59-63; George Ness, SAAR Jun 1927: 42-3 (with Lefebvre); Valedictory address of retiring President, Building Mar 1924:6ff.

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

Christ the King Anglican Church: 1932. Sophiatown, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Design Architect
Empire Exhibition: Cape House: 1936. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Foxwood House: 1926. Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect
Reserve Bank: 1927 - 1930. Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Project Architect
Roedean School - Additions: 1926. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Design Architect
St Alban's Church: 1927. Ferreirasdorp, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Design Architect
St George's Anglican Church: 1929. White River, Mpumalanga - Architect
St Wilfred's Anglican Church: n.d.. Hillcrest, Tshwane (Pretoria), Gauteng - Design Architect
William Campbell Museum: 1913. Muckleneuk, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect

Books citing FLEMING

Baker, Herbert. 1944. Architecture & personalities. London: Country Life. pp 56, 57, 143

Chipkin, Clive M. 1993. Johannesburg Style - Architecture & Society 1880s - 1960s. Cape Town: David Phillip. pp 58

Chipkin, Clive M. 2008. Johannesburg Transition - Architecture & Society 1950 - 2000. Johannesburg: STE Publishers. pp 213

Cumming-George, L. 1933. Architecture in South Africa - Volume One. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pp 37

Gray, Alexander Stuart, Breach, Nicholas. 1985. Edwardian architecture: a biographical dictionary. London: Duckworth. pp

Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 107, 140-141, 165, 198

Greig, Doreen. 1970. Herbert Baker in South Africa. Cape Town: PURNELL. pp 208, 215, 271

Gutsche, Thelma. 1970. A Very Smart Medal : the story of the Witwatersrand Agricultural Society. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 132, 150, 164, 168, 212

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 149, 156, 172

van der Waal, Gerhard-Mark. 1987. From Mining Camp to Metropolis - The buildings of Johannesburg 1886-1940. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pp 125, 147, 188, 195, 219