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HIME, Sir Albert Henry

Born: 1842 08 29
Died: 1919 09 13


KCMG (1900); CMG (1896); PC (1902); Hon.LLd, Edinburgh and Cambridge.

Born in Kilcool, County Wicklow, Ireland and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Hime became an RMA at Woolwich, England having joined the ROYAL ENGINEERS in 1861. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1874 and made a major in 1881, becoming Honourable Lieutenant Colonel in 1883. In Bermuda from 1869 to 1871 Hime carried out engineering work before being appointed to the post of Colonial Engineer of Natal in 1875, thus replacing Lt-Colonel AW DURNFORD. However, the post of Colonial Engineer having been discarded in 1872, Durnford had been Acting Colonial Engineer only and the post which Hime was the recipient of was as Civil Engineer, Natal. He requested the title to be reverted to that of Colonial Engineer which was agreed. As Colonial Engineer of Natal he carried out ongoing road-building all over Natal as well as supervising the growing Railway system (under the Natal Government Railways) from the coast into the interior of Natal, and was also responsible for the overall harbour planning for the Colony. In spite of opposition from H Escombe he saw to the completion of the North Pier at Durban Harbour and extensive dredging of the Bay. With JE FANNIN he surveyed the Orange Free State-Natal Border between 1884 and 1885. Hime was drawn into politics, being a member of the Natal Executive and Legislative Councils and from then in 1897 being elected to the Natal Legislative Assembly, holding the post of Minister of Lands and Works and Defence until 1899. He was Prime Minister of Natal from 1899 until 1903 when he resigned and left for England where he died. In 1902, while in England for the coronation of King Edward VII, he delivered a speech at the RIBA annual dinner. Hime did not have a high opinion of the quality of architecture generally in Natal but was interested in improving its quality. He was responsible for military buildings in Natal and several major bridges were built while he was Colonial Engineer and Minister of Lands and Works, and Defence. Among the bridges is the bridge over the Umkomaas River on the Richmond Road.

The town of Himeville in the Natal Drakensberg was named in his honour. Kearney (1973:56) attributes the design of the Mounted Police Barracks in Pietermaritzburg to Hime (cf BOMPAS).

(DSAB II:301; SAWW 1909; SESA 5:523)

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

Mounted Police Barracks: 1878-1890. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Engineer

Books citing HIME

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

HSRC. 1972. Dictionary of South African Biography Volume II. Pretoria: Tafelberg for The Human Sciences Research Council. pp 301-302

Kearney, Brian. 1973. Architecture in Natal from 1824 1893. Cape Town: Balkema. pp 55-56

Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1972. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 5 For-Hun. Cape Town: Nasou. pp 523

Raper, PE. 1989. Dictionary of Southern African place names. Johannesburg: Lowry. pp 212