According to the Natal Who's Who (1906), Kirkby was born in Griqualand West (he does not mention being born in South Africa in either of his RIBA nomination papers nor does he mention his partnership with CH STOTT (1904-1908)). Kirkby's father was a Weslyan minister so if he was born in South Africa his father must have been stationed there. Kirkby was educated at Kingswood School, Bath, England, a Wesleyan foundation that offered reduced fees to ministers' sons. In June 1891 was articled to a civil engineer, Thomas Arnold Hime, AMICE, in Llanelly, Wales where his father was then living. On completion of articles he was employed by Uttey & Grey in Halifax as an Improver and became assistant to W Cobbett in November 1894 and to J Bower (T Bowen?) of Nantwich in February 1896, where he prepared plans for Biddulph Grange. He then entered the office of JM Lockwood & Sons, FRIBA of Chester. He moved to the North East to work for George Thomas Brown in Darlington (although there is no record of Brown having an office in Darlington) where he stayed for more than four years and was Head of Building at Darlington Technical College. While in England he made drawings for the Municipal Buildings at South Shields, a perspective of which was published in Academy Architecture in 1901. He practised in his own right in Sunderland 1900-1902 and was elected MSA as well as ARIBA in this period. He married Victoria Slade of Sunderland in 1902. He designed the Wesleyan Chapel in 1901-2 in Castletown, Sunderland. It was a small brick chapel much like many others in the town which was a Methodist stronghold. The drawing of South Shields Town Hall was an unsuccessful entry in the competition won by EE Fetch of London.
He came to South Africa and settled in Natal and entered into partnership with CH STOTT in about 1902 (cf STOTT & KIRKBY). Almost immediately the partners designed the King's House in Durban (1902), in conjunction with the Colonial Engineer (in reality the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT cf AE DAINTON). The building is similar to the Sir Leige Hulett's house in Nuttall Gardens (1905).
Kirby joined the Natal Institute of Architects and served on the Council of the NIA around 1907. He delivered a number of papers on architectural topics to various societies and exhibited drawings for public buildings at the Royal Academy Exhibition in London in 1906. In 1906/1907 he was appointed Honorary Examiner for Practise Contracts. The practice in Pietermaritzburg was vigorous and Kirby himself was considered sufficiently noteworthy to be included in Twentieth century Impressions of Natal (1906). Among the buildings attributed to Kirby in Pietermaritzburg is one of his earliest commissions, Harwin's Arcade (1902-1904). In 1907 the partnership with Stott ceased and in 1908 Kirkby returned to England to be architectural assistant at Glamorgan County Council. After failing to win the job of City Architect for Sheffield he was appointed City Architect for Bradford, Yorkshire. At Bradford he became known as an advocate of open air schools and published papers on their design in the Journal of the Society of Architects, October 1910 and in Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, 1910. In 1910 he joined the Inland Revenue as a land valuer based in Newcastle. In 1911 he was elected a Fellow of the RIBA. He may have served in WWI as he was lieutenant in the Royal Engineers Territorial Volunteer Reserve in 1920. He must have resumed private practice in Newcastle as he joined the Northern Architectural Association in 1931 and was still a member in 1956. He is listed in Newcastle directories in 1947 and he designed offices for the London Electrical Wiring Co in Blandford Street, Newcastle in 1950-1.
Following his father's example he was a Methodist Local Preacher.
Mem SA Assn for Advancement of Science; Council NIA; local secretary for the Society of Architects (S.A. branch), Pietermaritzburg.
ARIBA Sunderland 1902; FRIBA Huddersfield 1911; MRSI; FSI; FLSE. (Acad Arch 1901 (2):21; ARIBA nom papers (1902); FRIBA nom papers (1911) 1447; Hillebrand 1975:183-84; NWW 1906; SAAE&S Jnl Jan 1907:74; SAMBF Jnl Jul 1906:35-36; SAMBF Jnl Jul/Aug 1907; SAWW 1908; The Architect 13 Mar 1908:174; Twentieth century impressions of Natal 1906)
Publ: The teaching of architecture, British Assn, South Africa Education section) Contribution to education in South Africa; pp.77-81, addresses delivered and papers read at the meeting held at Johannesburg (28 Aug - 1 Sep) at the Transvaal Technical Institute, Johannesburg in 1905; Domestic interior decoration, SAMBF Jnl Feb 1906:23-29; SA Assn for the advancement of science, annual report 1907:86); Architecture, mother of arts, (Natal Witness 21.9.1905:6); The house beautiful, (Natal Witness 11.11.1905:16); English cathedral architecture, (2 pts) SAMBF Jnl Jul 1907:21-57, SAMBF Jnl Aug 1907:15-18; The education of the public in Architecture (2 pts), SAMBF Jnl Sep/Oct 1907. Additional information sent by Graham Potts, March 2011. Sources: Who's Who in Architecture, 1914; Private correspondence with the late David James, Bradford City Archivist.
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
|Congregational Church, (now the Christian Science Church): 1903. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|Harwin's Arcade: 1902. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect |
|Hilton College: 1904. Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect |
|House CG Smith, The Manor House: 1904. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|House P Davis: pre-1908. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|Kearsney Manor Church: 1904. Kearsney, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|National Bank: 1906. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|Public Hall: 1904. Zwaartkop Valley, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|Seventh Day Adventist Church: 1905. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|Standard Bank, new roof and interior: 1906. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|Telephone Exchange: 1904. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Design Architect |
|Wesleyan Church: c1907. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |
|YMCA: 1902. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - Architect |