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HARRISON, John Edwin

Born: 1870 08 11
Died: 1945 12 10


JE Harrison, principal in STUCKE & HARRISON, was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, England and educated at the Endowed Middle School in Newcastle; he was then articled to Chapman & Snape, architects and surveyors in Newcastle and later he worked for one Fitzgerald in Bournemouth. Harrison emigrated to South Africa for health reasons in 1893/1894 and went to Hanover in the Cape. Unable to make a living in Hanover he left for Bloemfontein in 1894 and took charge of the South African Mutual Building for WH STUCKE. In 1897 he entered into partnership with Stucke (cf STUCKE & HARRISON) and in the same year married Kate Marchant at Freshford, near Bath in England. On the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War Harrison left Bloemfontein, going first to Oudtshoorn and then to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth where he rejoined Stucke. After the war Harrison returned to Bloemfontein and re-opened the practice there, running it until April 1908 when owing to the Depression, he returned to England but in the same year came back to Bloemfontein where he was employed by the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT from 1908 until 1910 and seems to have been seconded to Pietermaritzburg in 1909 for Department work. In about 1911 he rejoined Stucke in Johannesburg where he remained for the rest of his career, becoming senior partner on Stucke's death in April 1931. He was joined in practice by his son GM HARRISON in 1932, they continued the practice under the same style. Among Harrison's works is a small memorial plaque in the Standard Bank, Commissioner St, Johannesburg for Standard Bank employees killed during the First World War. Harrison was also a member of the Chapter of Quantity Surveyors and carried out a great deal of quantity surveying for the firm. He retired from practice December 1936 and from the RIBA in 1942 and died in Frere Hospital in East London where he owned a house in Vincent Gardens; he also had a house in Illovo, Johannesburg. Harrison was a keen painter and owned a number of paintings by artists such as E Roworth and several by Wellesley C BAILEY, a fellow architect. Schoeman (1980:194) says that Harrison was one of the first people in Bloemfontein to own a motor car (the others including the lieutenant-governor Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams, Jan Steyn and Dr Bidwell).

MCQS; LRIBA Jhb 1911. (Harrison 1972; LRIBA nom papers (1911) 1320 no detail; Men Tvl 1905; Museum News Apr 1987:14-15; SAAR Jan 1946:27-8 obit; SAWW 1908; SAWW 1946)

Publ: The University of the Witwatersrand School of architecture annual exhibition and prize giving, SAAR Jun 1926:39-41

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

Bank of Africa: n.d.. Kroonstad, Free State - Architect
Grand Hotel: c1905. Bloemfontein, Free State - Design Architect
House: n.d.. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
House GA Hill: 1905. Bloemfontein, Free State - Design Architect
National Bank: n.d.. Bethlehem, Free State - Architect
National Bank: n.d.. Fauriesburg, Free State - Architect
National Bank: n.d.. Ficksburg, Free State - Architect
National Bank: n.d.. Kroonstad, Free State - Architect
National Bank: n.d.. Lindley, Free State - Architect
Office GA Hill: n.d.. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Own residence, Freshford: 1897. Bloemfontein, Free State - Architect
Russell Hotel: c1907. Bloemfontein, Free State - Design Architect
St James's Anglican Chapel: c1896. Ladybrand, Free State - Architect
Standard Bank Memorial plaque to fallen staff in the First World War: c1924. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing HARRISON

Benjamin, Arnold. 1979. Lost Johannesburg. Johannesburg: Macmillan South Africa (Publishers) (Pty) Ltd. pp

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 124

Schoeman, Karel. 1980. Bloemfontein: die ontstaan van 'n stad. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau. pp 121, 194, 307

Schoeman, Karel. 1982. Vrystaatse erfenis : Bouwerk en geboue in die 19de eeu. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau. pp 105, 106 ill, 107

Walker, Michael. 2013. The pioneer architects of Johannesburg and their buildings (1886 - 1899) with postcard illustrations. St James: The Kalk Bay Historical Association. pp 37, 44, 45