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HESSE, Folkert Wilko

Born: 1855 11 01
Died: 1923 12 17


Hesse was born and educated in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the son of Francois Hesse and Elizabeth Dekker. He received his elementary education in the Netherlands. He attended the Art School in Amsterdam where he studied architecture. In addition to this theoretical work, his father, who was a manufacturer, insisted on his acquiring a thorough practical knowledge of the trades of carpenter and mason. He therefore served three years in a carpenter's shop and a further four months as a stonemason.

Following this he went as a pupil to one G Springer in Amsterdam, who was regarded for his design, where he remained for six years. He then transferred to one JH Schmitz, where he worked a further four years. His first appointment was as draughtsman. Hereafter he was appointed as an assistant architect in the railway department, where he served for six years.

In 1885 he married Anne (Antje) Groenewald by whom he had two children, Elisabeth and Francois (see Family Search). In the same year he set up practice on his own account in Amsterdam, his work being chiefly the designs of residences. After carrying out his practice for some seven years he set out for South Africa in 1902.

In South Africa he settled in Cape Town where he practiced between 1902 and 1923. He built many churches for the Dutch Reformed Church community, the mainstay of his practice. He advertised in 1906 that he was skilled in the design of schools, being familiar with the requirements of the Department of Public Works and Department of Education, which would suggest that he had been responsible for the design of schools around the Cape (yet unidentified). On several occasions he worked in collaboration with RM ROBERTSON. In 1909 he and his son Francois HESSE entered into partnership as HESSE & HESSE, and by 1915 he was working from an address at the Dutch Reform Chambers in Cape Town. In about 1917 he was responsible for the initial design of the Dutch Reformed Church at Warden in the Orange Free State, but it appears that in 1922 he was replaced on this job by GLP MOERDYK , presumably because of being incapacitated, who completed the building. Hesse was a member of the Association of Transvaal Architects by 1915 and a Fellow of the Cape Institute of Architects. 1915/1916.

(RIBA Kal 1915/16; SAWW 1908, 1910, 1916; Uitenhage P&P 1904; UTD 1915; ; Men of the Times, 1906:213.)

Publ: School buildings, SAAE&S Jnl Jul 1907:183

*[The Dutch Reformed church in Lady Grey for which he claimed authorship was in fact designed by CH SMITH, it is possible that HESSE may have been approached and designed something but when Smith appeared on the scene with the design of the School the community engaged him for the church as well.]

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

Bloemhof Girls' School – Stellenbosch University Museum: 1907. Stellenbosch, Western Cape - Architect
Bloemhof Seminary (Theological College) alterations: 1905. Stellenbosch, Western Cape - Architect
Double-storeyed house for FW Hesse: 1912. Muizenberg, Western Cape - Architect *
House for JW Cason: 1907. Sea Point, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect *
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1830-1842 : 1904. George, Western Cape - Architect 1904
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1903. Kuilsrivier, Western Cape - Architect
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1904. McGregor, Western Cape - Architect
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1906. Steytlerville, Eastern Cape - Architect
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: 1884 : 1908. Uniondale, Western Cape - Architect
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk - Murray Church: 1908. De Doorns, Western Cape - Architect
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Pastorie: 1903-1904. Kuilsrivier, Western Cape - Architect
Stellenbosch Boys' High School - Paul Roos Gimnasium: c1896. Stellenbosch, Western Cape - Architect
Theological Seminary - Kweekskool: c1900. Stellenbosch, Western Cape - Architect
Villa for B Bosman: 1906. Oranjezicht, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect

Books citing HESSE

Dreyer, Andries. 1907. Historisch album van de Nederduitsche Gereformeerde Kerk in Zuid- Afrika. No. 1, De Ring van Kaapstad. Kaapstad: Cape Times. pp Advertisement

Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pp 39, 342, 457, 522, 567

Johnson, Brian Andrew. 1987. Domestic architecture at the Cape, 1892-1912 : Herbert Baker, his associates and his contemporaries. Cape Town: Unpublished Thesis UNISA. pp 373

Kesting, DP. 1978. Afrikaans Protestantse kerkbou : erfenis en uitdaging. Port Elizabeth: Unpublished PhD. pp

Menache, Philippe & David, Darryl Earl. 2012. A Platteland Pilgrimage : 102 country churches of South Africa . South Africa: Booktown Richmond Press. pp 12

Menache, Philippe & Wolff, Helmut. 2021. die NG Kerk, ons erfenis : 'n fotoversameling van die argitektoniese skatte van 139 NG kerke in SA. Not identified: Not identified. pp 35, 46, 47, 65, 95, 104, 107, 118

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pp 135, 136 ill

Richardson, Deirdré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pp 22

Transvaal Publishing Co. 1906. Men of the Times : Old Colonists of the Cape Colony and Orange River Colony. Johannesburg, Cape Town and London: The Transvaal Publishing Co. pp 213