Colonial Architect Frederick Strouts’ Commissions in Canterbury, New Zealand: From the Diaries of P.S. Richards: 1881–87

By Gay Sweely.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 24, 2016 $US5.00

Prominent 19th-century colonial architect Frederick Strouts arrived in Canterbury, New Zealand, with impeccable credentials in 1859, as reported by his biographer, Jonathan Mane’-Wheoki. In 1868, Strouts was elected as an Associate Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). In the early 1870s, he and three other seminal architects founded the Canterbury Association of Architects—the first such body in colonial New Zealand. In Strouts’ employ from the 1870s to the 1880s were Thomas Searell, Percival Selwyn Richards, and Robert Ballantyne, along with Richards’ childhood friend William Allen Tombs, articled to Tomas Stoddart Lambert in early 1880. All four men, Searell, Richards, Ballantyne, and Tombs, sailed for Australia during the 1887 NZ depression, and all became successful Australasian architects. P. S. Richards is recorded as one of the most important Australian Federation-era architects of the early 20th century in Victoria and the Western District. Only recently discovered were his personal diaries from 1881–87 while he was in Strouts’ architectural firm in Christchurch. These hitherto unknown diaries offer vital information concerning Strouts’ major architectural commissions during that period. Richards’ diaries present a rare personal insight into Strouts’ architectural practice, his apprentices, and records from over a century ago in colonial Australasia.

Keywords: Frederick Strouts, Colonial New Zealand Architects, Australian Federation-Era Architects, Australasian Architecture, P. S. Richards in Ballarat, Australia

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 7, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.43-55. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 24, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 604.532KB)).

Dr. Gay Sweely

Associate Professor, Department of Art and Design (Art History), Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky, USA