John Willoughby Williams

Place of Birth
Cape Town South Africa

  • Born      ?
  • Died:     30 September 1944

Employed by Roger Oldham before moving to South Africa

WILLOUGHBY-WILLIAMS' name is also found as John WILLIAMS, as J W WILLIAMS and as J WILLOUGHBY WILLIAMS; it was at the period of his partnership with Runham that the hyphen seems to have been added to the name, certainly he himself signed his name in this fashion on his Institute of South African Architects membership papers (1927).

Williams was born in Bangor, North Wales. He served articles with Grievson & Bellis, after which he worked for Roger Oldham in Manchester. The Anglo-Boer War brought Williams to South Africa. He served in the Life Guards and remained in the country after the war and was employed by TULLY & WATERS in Cape Town, noted in his obituary in the South African Architectural Record (Dec 1944:314-5) as 'Fuller & Waters', before he left to work for the Public Works Department in the Orange River Colony. Here he was employed as a draughtsman in Bloemfontein from 1905. W Rhodes HARRISON mentions one John Williams practising in Bloemfontein around 1912 in his article 'Architects in Bloemfontein around 1915' (cf. WR HARRISON). In the Civil Service List of the Orange River Colony (1907) his name is given as JW Williams, as it was in the South African Building & Trades Manual (1937).

After 1912 he worked in Cape Town as chief architectural assistant to BAKER & FLEMING and was listed in the General Directory of the Union of South Africa (1915) living at 20 Gray Street, Bloemfontein. He was appointed chief architectural assistant of the Bloemfontein Municipality in 1921 but in 1922 left to set up practice on his own account. He transferred his membership from the Cape Provincial Institute of Architects to that of the Free State in 1934. At about this time he entered into partnership with JP RUNHAM (cf WILLOUGHBY-WILLIAMS & RUNHAM). Runham had served in the PWD at the same time as Williams and had also acted as clerk of works during the building of the Bloemfontein Club (1928-1930). Among the buildings designed by Williams in Bloemfontein were the Motor Showroom for Atkinson Oates, the Bloemfontein Club and the New Capitol Hotel. He also designed the Voortrekker Hospital in Kroonstad. He may have retired to the Cape since he died in Somerset West.

ISAA 1927. (Braby's OFS dir 1912; CSL, ORC 1907; SAAR Feb 1934:58-9; SAAR Dec 1944:314-5 obit; SAAR Aug 1965:14-7)


Reference:  Artefacts (