Eighteen months older than his brother Edwin, Wilfred was educated at Queen's College, Taunton, England. He was articled in Durban to W STREET-WILSON from March 1894 for three years together with his brother and from Street-Wilson's office proceeded to London where he enrolled at the Architectural Association and attended classes for two sessions, joining in 1897. He spent five years in all in London, working in various architects' offices. In June 1900 he went on a sketching tour of the West of England; this was followed by a similar tour of eight days in Rouen and its surrounding district. In August 1901 he sketched in Rutland and Yorkshire. He passed the RIBA final examination in June 1902.
His brother, Edwin Osman, was in England at the same time but they worked in different offices and visited different places during this
time. Payne returned to South Africa in 1902, entering partnership with his brother EO PAYNE in Durban in 1903 (cf PAYNE & PAYNE). The partnership worked well. After his brother's death in 1927 (in November of which year WS was visiting England), Payne continued to work as Payne & Payne in Durban with a wide and varied practice including several hospitals, among which were the McCord Zulu Hospital and the Maternity Ward, Addington Hospital. From 1929 to 1931 he was in partnership with Kenneth Edward Frederick GARDINER (cf PAYNE & GARDINER). He and EM POWERS represented the NIA on the Port Elizabeth building collapse case in 1931 (cf BROWNLEE), as witnesses for the defence in the case of Messrs McClelland and F Owen EATON.
He practised in Durban for about fifty years and was also a sportsman, being particularly dedicated to soccer as a young man. He is said to have had a great deal of energy and a keen sense of humour.
He was elected MPC for Gardens, Durban in 1934 and re-elected in 1937.
He served on the Committee of Durban Girls' College for forty years and was Chairman for twenty years and was also Chairman of the Durban Branch of the SA Permanent Building Society from July 1944 until 1949. He died
at his home, Redlands, Kloof.
Council Member of the NIA 1925-6; Vice-President of the ISAA 1931-2; President-in-Chief ISAA 1932-3; President NPIA 1931, 1940, 1941. ARIBA 1902; ISAA 1927; MPC (ARIBA nom papers (1902); NAD MSCE 1979/58; NWW 1933; SAAR Mar 1925:27-8; SAAR
Jun 1926:53-4; SAAR Mar 1933:66; SAAR May 1953:19; SAAR May 1959:39, obit; SA Archt May 1940:64, 65, portr; SESA 1:531, article by R Lewcock)
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.