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List of Projects

LORNE, Francis

Born: 1889 03 30
Died: 1963


Year registered: 1937

ARIBA (1913); FRIBA (1930); TPIA (1937); ISAA (1937).

Articled to Thomas Copeland, an architect of Falkirk, for five years, Lorne spent half the day in the office and half the day at the Falkirk School of Art. He was tutored privately for the RIBA exams by Douglas Watt, ARIBA and then studied for a year at day classes as a special student at the Glasgow School of Art and at the Technical College in Glasgow.

During 1913-1914 he spent six months in Italy and southern Spain, France (Paris), the United States of America and Canada. During the First World War he served in the Canadian Army overseas in the Engineers, and later entered into partnership with Grosvenor Goodhue Associates, New York. He was directly responsible for the design of St Bartholomew's Church, New York and for the Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York, 'both of very high architectural value' (Tait in Lorne's FRIBA nom papers). Tait had met Lorne in 1919 when Lorne spent a year and a half in Sir John Burnet's office in London, after which time (c1922) Lorne left to work in Montreal, Canada, with Fred Garfield Robb, executing the New England Building at McGill University in Montreal, offices and a warehouse for Drummond, McCall & Co in Montreal (1922) as well as several buildings at St Lawrence University (1924, 1925).

Some time after 1930 Lorne returned to England and to the office of Burnet & Tait, entering into partnership (cf BURNET, TAIT & LORNE). In April/May 1937, Lorne came to South Africa 'to take charge of erecting the new headquarters in Main St, Ferreiras Town, of the Anglo American Corporation of South Africa ... architect of Adelaide House, the Daily Telegraph Building in Fleet St, Unilever House at Blackfriars, Mount Royal, Oxford St, Lloyds' Bank headquarters, Cornhill; Royal Masonic Hospital, Ravenscourt Park' (SAB May 1937:39).

Lorne's offices in Johannesburg were in Anmercosa House; he was assisted in his work by KEF GARDINER. While in South Africa Lorne visited Cape Town and was critical of the foreshore plan noting 'two rather glaring faults', one was that the fore-shore plan did not seem to have the mark of a good architect; the other that the proposed new railway lines and goods yard would cut off a part of the city and turn Adderley Street into a bottleneck which would 'evoke bad language from citizens in fifty years time' (AB&E Dec 1937:3). In about 1938 Lorne returned to Britain where he spent the duration of the Second World War. In March 1947 when Oppenheimer commissioned Lorne to design new technical head offices for the Anglo-American Corporation at 45 Main Street, Johannesburg, immediately adjacent to number 44. Very early in the project Lorne told Oppenheimer that he and his wife intended to settle in South Africa: he had become intolerant of the frustrations of building licences under Attlee's government. Sometime thereafter Lorne withdrew from his partnership with Tait and recommenced practice in Johannesburg in partnership with Kenneth BIRCH (cf LORNE & BIRCH). From 1948 LORNE & BIRCH were responsible for twelve large integrated mining communities comprising the industrial plant, housing, hospitals and welfare and recreation buildings. Lorne's appointment as consultant lasted until the programme was complete in 1954. In 1953 he was listed as living at Tarlton, Transvaal, apparently retired.

At the request of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, Lorne came out of retirement to design buildings for the new mining town of Welkom in the Orange Free State. After this job he again retired but was requested by Lord Robbins and Sir Ernest to move to Salisbury (Harare), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in about 1955) to design Charter House, the joint headquarters of the British South African Company and the Anglo American Corporation. Lorne's junior partner on this project was Aubrey A PITT. Lorne settled in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), designing Charter House in Bulawayo and Arundel School, Pearl Assurance House, Founders Building Society Head-quarters and the main branch of Barclays Bank (now Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd). He also designed his own house in Greendale, Salisbury (Harare). This house, 'reminiscent of the Beau Geste era' according to his former partner, Roy DENSEM, was apparently equalled in character by the farmhouse in the Eastern Districts of the country where after about 1957 Lorne and his wife spent most of their time. Densem also noted Lorne's debt to LUTYENS in many of his buildings, saying that Lorne was 'a Lutyens disciple'. Lorne resigned from the RIBA in 1961 and died two years later in Salisbury (Harare).

(FRIBA nom papers (1930) 2818; Densem 1985; Pitt 1986; Stamp 1985; SAB Dec 1936:60)

Publ: Architectural office administration, 1921 (publisher?); A standard of values for architecture today, a series of three articles for the SAAR Nov 1935:346-7; SAAR Dec 1935:377-80; SAAR Feb 1936:66-8

LORNE is also listed in the Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

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

Anglo American Corporation Head Offices: 1947. Central, Johannesburg, Gauteng - Design Architect

Books citing LORNE

Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pp 153