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SHANKS, William

Born: 1860
Died: 1915 10 05


Practised in South Africa from 1899 until his death in 1915. The son of a timber merchant, he was born in Airdrie in Scotland and was educated in Airdrie and Glasgow. He was apprenticed to McKinach & WG Rowan, FRIBA, in Glasgow and attended the Glasgow School of Art from 1882 to 1886. He was a member of the Glasgow Architectural Association and a winner of a measured drawings competition. After completion of articles he entered the office of James Chalmers in Glasgow as a draughtsman before opening a practice on his own account. He formed a partnership with one Mitchell in Glasgow in 1889. The firm, Shanks & Mitchell, practised in Glasgow until 1894, when Shanks left to work privately until 1899; he had offices in Airdrie and in Glasgow. Among his works in Scotland were the Baptist Church, Airdrie; over forty tenement blocks in Glasgow for the Paulville Township, Bathgate and a number of paper works and iron works. In 1899 he enlisted for service in the Anglo-Boer War and came to South Africa. He joined the Cape Colony forces and was decorated. After the war he remained in South Africa, and was first employed as a draughtsman by EBJ KNOX in Cape Town in 1903. He left for the Transvaal in 1904 as architect to Barnato Bros and joined the staff of the East Rand Proprietary Mines Ltd in 1905. About this time or a little later, Shand joined the PWD, Transvaal where he remained for two-and-a-quarter years before opening his own practice in Johannesburg and in Pretoria. He was principal for six years. Shanks was devoted to his own profession and was also a fine flautist. He died of pernicious anaemia at the Kensington Sanatorium in Johannesburg.

There is also a listing of this practitioner on the Dictionary of Scottish Architects.

LRIBA Johannesburg 1912; MSA; ATA. (Jnl ATA Feb 1916:7 obit; LRIBA papers (1912) 2090; RIBA Jnl 1915-16:56 death notice)

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

Loretto Convent, annexe: pre-1912. Pretoria, Gauteng - Architect
St Alphonsus Monastery and Priests' House: n.d.. Pretoria, Gauteng - Architect
St Patrick's Church: pre-1912. La Rochelle, Pretoria, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing SHANKS

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