Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Parker
Born: 17 September 1866
Died: 16 September 1921
Bio Notes: John Parker was born in Greenock on 17 September 1866. He originally trained as a naval architect with McNicol & Smith, Glasgow, from October 1879 to 1880, but transferred to the office of John Baird the Second, in the latter year. At the end of his articles in February 1883 he emigrated to South Africa and obtained as assistant's post in the office of Charles Freeman, Cape Town. He commenced independent practice in Cape Town in 1890, soon thereafter taking on as senior assistant Alexander Forsyth from the Edinburgh office of Thornton Shiells & Thomson. Parker's practice was extremely successful, designing a number of large city blocks and in 1896 it also recruited the Australian Franklin Kaye Kendall who subsequently transferred to Sir Herbert Baker's office. Forsyth was taken into partnership c.1900 but it was not until 1905 that the firm adopted the style of Parker & Forsyth. Parker was admitted FRIBA on 3 February 1902, his proposers being Arthur Henry Reid, Herbert Baker and George Murray Alexander, all of whom were practising in Cape Town at the time.

During the period of the partnership Parker became the first president of the National Society of Architects and President of the Cape Town Institute of Architects. He also held the post of first Mayor of greater Cape Town for two years. The practice was hugely successful designing a considerable number of office blocks and churches, together with the Tivoli Theatre and a synagogue.

Parker died in Cape Town 16 September 1921: the practice was continued by Forsyth.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 219, Hout Street, Cape Town, South AfricaBusiness1901 *  
Item 2 of 2The Firs, Rosebank, Cape Town (near), South AfricaPrivate1901 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 5McNicol & SmithOctober 18791880Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5John Baird the Second1880February 1883Apprentice 
Item 3 of 5Charles FreemanMarch 1883c. 1887Assistant 
Item 4 of 5Charles Freemanc. 1887January 1890Chief Assistant 
Item 5 of 5Parker & Forsyth19051921Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3Alexander Forsyth1890s1900Senior Assistant 
Item 2 of 3Alexander Forsyth19001905Partner 
Item 3 of 3Donald MacGillivray1901 Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3George Murray Alexander3 February 1902for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3(Sir) Herbert Baker3 February 1902for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Arthur Henry Reid3 February 1902for Fellowship


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2Seymour, D Picton Victorian buildings in South Africa   
Item 2 of Website of artefacts, for the recording of South African buildings 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder25 November 1921v121 p706 - obituary - CHECK for further info
Item 2 of 3Jagger JournalDecember 1983no4  
Item 3 of 3RIBA Journal12 November 1921v29London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp24 - 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 v14 p21 no862 (imcrofilm reel 11)