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Biographical Notes


Author:EATON, Norman
In:Pretoriana No. 52, December
Pages:pp. 53-54

Biographical Notes compiled by Mr. Norman Eaton on special request of the Old Pretoria Society in 1961.

BORN in Pretoria, Transvaal on 11th October, 1902.

FATHER was the late H. R. R. Eaton. Former Commissioner of Customs for the Union Government who was born on his father's farm "Drooge Vlei" near D'Urbanville, Cape, where his grandfather Eaton had also farmed. Grandmother Eaton was formerly Miss Henrietta Musgrave, niece of Sir Benjamin D'Urban, one time Governor of the Cape. Great great grandmother Eaton was formerly Sarah Norman Ebden. These last two account of the family names Norman Musgrave.

M0THER was the late Maria Brand, born on farm "Zandvliet" near Faure, Cape, niece of Christoffel Brand, Speaker of the Old Cape House, and therefore also closely related to John Brand, one time President of the Free State. Grandmother Brand was Aletta Cloete, born on the farm "Klapmuts" near Stellenbosch and a direct descendant of the original Hendrik Cloete of Groot Constantia, Cape, - the old Simon van der Stel farm.

At an early age deep impressions were gained on old farms of mother's relations and from the 18th century buildings in and around Stellenbosch, Worcester and Cape Town of the harmonious and humanistic qualities of this great period of "Cape-Dutch" architecture.

EDUCATION. Kindergarden, Pretoria. Diocesan College, Rondebosch, Cape 1915-1921. Witwatersrand University School of Architecture, 1923-1928 under Professor G. E. PEARCE and at the same time articled to the architect Mr. (now Dr.) Gordon LEITH M.I.A., F.R.I.B.A. of Johannesburg, opening a branch office for him in Pretoria as a 2nd year student in 1925.

British School at Rome as "Herbert Baker" Scholar, 1930-32 during which time study travels covered most parts of Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, England, Holland and Middle Europe generally."

Most lasting influences arose from a discovery of the significant qualities, such as scale, discipline and poise, which underlay the classic work of Egypt, Greece, Italy and the East.

PRIVATE PRACTICE. Started in Pretoria after return from Europe in 1933 and carried on continuously there to present day. Friendships with the sculptor Anton van Wouw - (designing and having built for him his last home and studio in Brooklyn, Pretoria, in 1936) - and the painter Hendrik Pierneef were strong influences in appreciation of the interpretive powers of Art - particularly, in their case, those revealing the special character of the Transvaal and its people.

STUDY VISITS. To South and North America for the S.A. Government in 1945 as architect for £3 million Ministry of Transport Building in Pretoria, designed and ready for construction in 1949 when it was stopped by change of Government. By road, rail, river, lake and air to most countries on African Continent on own behalf at different times from 1936 to present day. The traditional arts, crafts and buildings of ancient Africa have had subtle influences on own contemporary architectural thought and expression.

SOME EARLY WORKS include buildings for the S.A. Landbank in Potchefstroom, Kroonstad and Pietermaritzburg and Anton van Wouw's house in Pretoria.

SOME MORE RECENT WORKS include New Netherlands Bank, Pretoria, completed in 1953; Wachthuis (Polley's Arcade) Pretoria, completed in 1959. Restoration, as Hon. Architect, of the Historic Monument "Die Oude Pastorie", Graaff Reinet - (specially associated with the original Rev. Andrew Murray who lived there from 1822-1866) – completed in 1956. Larger private houses in Pretoria which gave scope for own special approach to design were for Dr. F. G. Anderson (Chief Govt. Horticulturist) and for Mrs. N. E. Greenwood - both near "The Willows" outside Pretoria and completed about 1951. Also a house for Dr. B. Holsboer (General Manager of the Netherlands Bank of S.A.) at Waterkloof, Pretoria, completed 1956. In another category is the new Art Centre Theatre, Pretoria - which is expected to be completed about July, 1961.

MEMBERSHIPS. S.A. Institute of Architects: Royal Institute of British Architects: S.A. Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, - (receiving its Gold Medal Award (1957 to 1960) for services to Architecture in S.A. - S.A. Association of Arts: Pretoria Music Society: Afrikaanse Musiekklub van Pretoria: Simon van der Stel Foundation: Pretoria Club: Old Pretoria Society (Vice-Chairman. 1961/2 — Ed)