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ADAMSON, William M

Born: 1868?
Died: ?


An architect working in Cape Town from about 1890 until at least 1914, according to Johnson (1987:360). Adamson was educated at Gainford Academy, Durham, England and worked in a contractor's firm as a pupil in carpentry and joinery from 1883 to 1885. From 1885 until 1889 he served with William Livesay, architect in Raby Castle, Darlington in Yorkshire. During 1889-1890 he undertook a sketching tour of Europe. On his arrival in South Africa in 1890 he obtained the post of chief architectural assistant in the Table Bay Harbour Works, Cape Colony. During his tenure of this post he was permitted to have private work. In 1897 he resigned his position at the Harbour Works, but continued to practise in Cape Town where he was listed in partnership with AW ACKERMANN from 1898 until 1903 (cf. ACKERMANN & ADAMSON). Adamson makes no mention this partnership in his FRIBA nomination papers (1906) and from 1903 he practised independently in Cape Town, the elaborate 'Free Renaissance' style house for RF Bertram being an example of his work. According to Johnson (1987:360), Adamson was a founder member of the Engineering and Architectural Association of South Africa in Cape Town in 1884 and was an active member of the South African Association of Architects (SASA), elected to its Committee in 1902 when it was renamed the Cape Institute of Architects.

SASA 1901; FRIBA 1906; MSI. (Picton-Seymour 1977; Radford 1979; Rennie 1983; FRIBA nom papers (1906); RIBA Kal 1907-8; SAA&B Apr 1905:145-7) Publ: 'Extras, architects' responsibilities', Afr Archt Jul 1911:33.

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

House HJ Sonnenberg: Many Gables: 1903. Kenilworth, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
House Prince, Trenant Villa: 1893. Constantia, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect
House RF Bertram: Great Oaks (Schoenstatt): 1902/3. Constantia, Western Cape - Architect
House Swainton : The Boltons: 1894. Rosebank, Cape Town, Western Cape - Architect

Books citing ADAMSON

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 Johannesburg: Unpublished dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand.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

Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pp 149

Johnson, Brian Andrew. 1987. Domestic architecture at the Cape, 1892-1912 : Herbert Baker, his associates and his contemporaries. Cape Town: Unpublished Thesis UNISA. pp

Johnson, Brian Andrew. 1979. An art historical study of the architecture of the Southern Cape Peninsula, 1880-1913 : houses and small business premises. : Unpublished Thesis UNISA. pp

Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pp 61-65

Walker, Michael. 2015. Old hotels of Cape Town (1890-1911), The : A history long forgotten, seldom told. St James: Published Privately. pp 16