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FITZGERALD, George Edmond

Born: 1882 01 11
Died: 1950 04 11


Year registered: 1927

Reg prob RIBA Lon 1905; Reg student RIBA Lon 1906; ARIBA Cape Town 1909; ATA 1915; FRIBA 1930.

Was born in Dublin, Ireland, and came as a child to South Africa with his parents in 1896. The family settled in Cape Town where Fitzgerald completed his education at the South African College School in Cape Town. On matriculating he was articled to WS LAW in Cape Town with whom he remained from 1898 to 1900, and left to join the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT in Cape Town employed as an architectural assistant. He remained with the PWD from 1901 to 1905, leaving to continue his studies at the Architectural Association in London, his obituary says he attended London University. He graduated in London in 1908. Still in London, he worked in the offices of HD Searles Wood, FRIBA; E Keynes Purchase, FRIBA, and W Gibbings, architect. He sat his RIBA final examination in London, 1909. On his return to South Africa in 1909 he worked for HAWKE & McKINLAY for three years, mainly in Johannesburg on the work for the Johannesburg City Hall building which they had won in competition. In about 1911 Fitzgerald re-entered the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT but in Pretoria where he worked for several years in the building surveying department. By 1915 he was a member of the Association of Transvaal Architects and living in the Transvaal, entering active service during the First World War and serving with the Natal Light Horse. In 1916 he is recorded as being with the Field Artillery in Cape Town from where he was due to proceed to German East Africa (Namibia). After the war he returned to Pretoria and set up independent practice there in 1924. His first major commission was for the Pietersburg Town Hall, a job he won in competition in 1925. A few months later he gained first premium in the competition for Milton High School, Bulawayo. In 1927 he came third in the competition for the South African Mutual Life Assurance Society Building in Pretoria. At some time he served on the Pretoria City Council; he died in Pretoria.

His designs for Pietersburg Town Hall and Milton High School reflect the increasingly fashionable use of Cape architectural features used in a utilitarian manner predating the 1930s move to non-ornamental modernism.

(JNL ATA, 1916 1(1):10; AB&E Nov 1926:15; ARIBA nom papers (1909) 121; FRIBA nom papers (1930); SAAR Dec 1927:91-5; SAAR Jun 1950:146 obit; SAWW 1927/8; TAD MHG 1970/50; UTD 1915)

Submitted and entry for the Competition for the new Prime Minister's Residence - unplaced.

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

Barclays Bank: 1932. Bela-bela (Warmbaths), Limpopo - Architect
City Hall: 1915 : 1937. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect Associated Junior Architect
House M Liebson: 1930. Brooklyn, Pretoria, Gauteng - Architect
House R Weir: 1934. Colbyn, Pretoria, Gauteng - Architect
Town Hall, municipal offices & library: 1926. Polokwane (Pietersburg), Limpopo - Architect

Books citing FITZGERALD

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