An architect's personal account of his life and work in Africa for twenty years then ten
years in the Pacific in Solomon Islands and New Hebrides. A story about places
posted to, lived in and work done there. Includes waspish dryly humorous opinions on
people and situations.
He provides helpful background detail about each country, its geography, history and
politics. He started in Northern Rhodesia in government service, then in private practice in Gold Coast and Nigeria mainly, with Kenya and Sierra Leone included too. He
describes his work on both routine functional and prestige projects, each with tales of
crooked contractors, corrupt politicians, officials and employees, incompetent lazy
dishonest expatriate colleagues and reluctant payers.
He tells of malign foreign influences on governance and describes vividly the coups
and rebellions he personally experienced.
In the Solomons he describes his work on functional projects such as schools,
hospitals and offices and special events work like Royal visits and Independence
celebrations. He includes the hard touring done to inspect sites on widely separated
islands scattered over the ocean. He includes too, work on projects in New Hebrides
when in the WPHC, with comment on its form of administration. He describes the
improvements he made to work practice in the office and solving the demarcation
disputes between engineer and architect. He tells vivid tales from personal experience of
severe cyclones and of a big earthquake collectively testing his designs made for use in
an area of unforgiving climate and volatile geology.
He writes in a clear easy style, well supported by illustrations. He includes a wide
variety and mix of place, people, personality, event, incident and situation. Together they
make an interesting and entertaining story. Furthermore, it contributes to the colonial
historical record by providing insight and understanding of the architects' work in
colonies at the end of Empire.