Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Leck
Born: c. 1852
Died: 9 September 1907
Bio Notes: William Leck was probably Irish, since he was articled to Francis Stirrat of Belfast in 1870, but was probably related to the Glasgow chartered accountant Henry Leck who had business links with Alexander Thomson and his partner Robert Turnbull. He moved to that firm c.1875 and probably sometime after 1877 transferred to John Burnet & Son. From there he obtained a post in the City of London District Surveyor's Office (Southern Division) under Frederick Wheeler, from which he moved first to William Young's and then to Ernest George & Peto. During his London years he travelled in France, Holland and Belgium and he studied at the Royal Academy schools under Richard Phené Spiers, presumably with a view to the qualifying exam which he either did not take or did not pass.

Leck emigrated to the Transvaal in 1889 and opened an office in Pretoria, moving to Johannesburg and setting up independent practice there later in the same year. In the later 1890s he entered into partnership with Frank Emley (1861-1938) of Newcastle, who had emigrated for health reasons c.1893. The practice was hugely successful, designing the Rand Club, Corner House and the Cullinan Building which had marked Burnetian characteristics in 1902, the National Bank in 1903, and some very grand private houses, notably Highfield in an Ernest Newton-influenced manner in 1905. On the strength of these Leck was admitted FRIBA on 5 December 1904, his proposers being Herbert Baker, John James Burnet and another. He died of pneumonia on 9 September 1907.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3c/o Miss Bell/140, Mains Street West, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivatec. 1881  
Item 2 of 3Pretoria, South AfricaBusiness18891889 
Item 3 of 3Johannesburg, South AfricaBusiness18891907 

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 6Francis ('Frank') Stirrat1870c. 1875Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6A & G Thomson & Turnbull1875After 1877Assistant 
Item 3 of 6Ernest George & PetoAfter 18771889(?)Assistant 
Item 4 of 6John Burnet & SonAfter 1877Before 1889Assistant 
Item 5 of 6City of London District Surveyor's Office (Southern Division)After 1877Before 1889Assistant 
Item 6 of 6William YoungAfter 1877Before 1889Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2(Sir) Herbert Baker5 December 1904for Fellowship
Item 2 of 2(Sir) John James Burnet5 December 1904for Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 1c. 1881Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design entered under then name Alcyone


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 2Chipkin, Clive M Johnannesberg Style   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Builder31 August 1907  Obituary
Item 2 of 2RIBA Journal19 October 1907 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp712 Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v15 p59 (microfilm reel