Architect Personal Details
Leonard, and sons - Ronald and Keith
This entry covers Leonard George Golding (17/9/1884 - 6/7/1967); Ronald (Ron) Leslie Golding (16/12/1910-9/2/1978); and Mortimer Keith (Keith) Golding (26/1/1913 - ?/11/1985)
Leonard Golding and his sons, Ronald and Keith, were three of Adelaide’s lesser-known architects who emerged during the interwar years from hands-on experience of house-building.
An immigrant from Cambridgeshire, England, Reuben Golding (c.1835-1924) settled in the Adelaide Hills in the mid-1850s. Both a deacon of the Mt Lofty Congregational Church and, at one time, a member of Crafers District Council, Reuben worked an orchard and market garden in Stirling East (Martin: 72, 100, 140). Of his 11 children, a number of sons, including Josiah (1860-1945), also owned market gardens. Josiah and Emily (née Gore) gravitated to Kensington Park to run a greengrocery opposite Cowell’s timber yard on Norwood Parade. Leonard George Golding, the only boy among their four children, was born at Mt Lofty. At 23, he married Clara Hounslow, producing four sons: Ken (1909-), Ron (1910-), Geoff and Keith (twins, 1913-). Ron, born at Kent Town, went on to marry Effie Cock in 1934 (Indices: Goldings).
Not keen on horticulture, Leonard tried soldiering before learning carpentry. His skills were broadened under the wing of T.W. Knight, deputy president of the Association of Building Contractors, founded in 1925. Together, they built small bungalows (LTO: Titles) until Leonard found his preferred métier to be drawing. Owing to his background in construction, his designs were found practical in the mid-1920s when Adelaide enjoyed a building boom. Thanks to the Golding network – 34 cousins on his paternal side alone – Leonard gathered commissions across the state from an office on Unley Road, Unley. Like their father, Ken, Ron, Geoff and Keith (all teenagers in 1928) became builders by learning ‘on the job’. Their principal training ground was the family home, Casa Rica, Fullarton, which was recognised to be Adelaide’s most authentic example of the Spanish Mission style (Mail 1929: 12; Persse & Rose: 65). The Golding name had already been made, however, by realising the multi-thousand-pound Concordia College chapel complex and a related Lutheran church at Tanunda.
Ken Golding began managing his own building firm in 1934 while Ron showed a natural talent for design as much as contracting. At the age of just 17, he had a project published in The Advertiser (Adv 1928: 22). A champion of Mediterranean rather than Californian styles, he had his first home built at Beaumont in 1932, the year his father opened an office in the Epworth Building, Pirie Street. Ron joined him there in an informal partnership and the pair was happily successful on the domestic front. After contributing numerous ‘Builders’ Home Plans’ to the trade weekly, Building & Construction, from 1933 onwards, Ron independently launched the Architectural Homes Co. from his and his wife’s address in Somerton (B&C 1935: 15). Maturin Mansions, Glenelg, for a city tailor, immediately established the ‘design-build’ company in serious business. Following an initial flourish, AHC found itself restrained by the Depression. To survive, Ron speculated and extracted penny-pinching contracts from estate agents. Leonard optimistically took his son, Keith, into an official partnership and, in the same year, 1936, declared membership of both the local Royal Society of Arts and the London-based Association of Incorporated Architects. To be of more service, he ‘upskilled’ by studying structural engineering as well. LG & MK Golding scraped by on the strength of work in the Riverland and the far South-East. By 1937, they were able to run a branch office from Naracoorte.
AHC was forced to tender for housing designed by other architects, e.g., Lawson & Cheesman, but a large house prominent in Hazelwood Park given notice in the press late in 1938 (Mail 1938: 30) sparked an upturn in the company’s fortunes. A block of flats in Glenelg was succeeded by a striking maisonette, Beverley, in Everard Park and, next door but one, the much-cherished 14 flats of Everard Court (Mail 1939: 28). Still only 27 when these were designed in a mild Art Déco mode, Ron blossomed, going on to design and build sizeable houses and further groups of flats in Glenelg, Somerton and North Adelaide before World War Two brought restrictions to curtail private building almost entirely. In a bid to keep the company afloat, he secured a government contract to build a pumping station on the Morgan-Whyalla pipeline. But the going got too tough. By early 1942, Ron had let his fabulous, new self-built house in Somerton and taken his young family to Beachport to become a shark fisherman (M&BPG: 2014). Meanwhile, Leonard and Keith - the latter a licentiate of the IAA – expanded the Austral Sheetmetal Works in Thebarton, executed numerous houses, shops and flat-conversions in the suburbs together with sizeable homesteads and commercial buildings around Naracoorte.
Comfortable working in any required style, Leonard favoured no-frills, masonry bungaloid houses with a horizontal emphasis whereas offices, shops and factories bore an Edwardian Baroque lineage. Ron inclined to a blend of Spanish Mission and dilute Art Déco approaches but could turn convincingly to Bauhaus-bred modernity. Both men made repeated use of tiled roofs and rendered walling – either ‘Medusa’ cement or stucco over brickwork. ‘Colour-blend’ brickwork was often featured, with light and dark mortars used to differentiate elements of the construction. Inspiring architects in practice 40 years later, Ron specified alternating courses of standard red and shallow, cream, vermiculated bricks for the public facades of Everard Court.
Although nominally ‘L G & M K Golding’, it was Keith alone who became closely linked to the Congregational King’s College, designing many of its buildings in the period 1945-65 (M&BPG: 2014). Leonard, essentially a maverick, eventually sought and was rewarded by the status of associateship of the SAIA in 1946. Between them, the father and his sons completed dozens of projects during the interwar years and well beyond. Although AHC’s virtual swansong was the construction of Bruceden Court, Westbourne Park (Mail 1941: 26), under Gordon Beaumont Smith (1941), the firm was revived after the war and operated modestly post-1950. Ron then established the wholly profitable Paringa Pressed (concrete) Brick Co. at North Brighton, taking advantage of a state-wide shortage of clay bricks. A similar plant was opened at Whyalla. American franchisees who ran Hollostone's new modular concrete block factory at Pooraka lured Ron onto their board but in 1961 he resigned to manage Golding Industries, an investment vehicle which grew to specialise in road transport. Finding retirement unappealing, Ron kept busy; at a relatively young age he would die in harness while building a second grand seaside house at Encounter Bay (M&BPG: 2015). Subsequently, Ron Golding's name has been somewhat obscured by the once-popular 'Homes Co.', itself in danger of being forgotten as time passes.
Walkley, Giles, 'Golding, Leonard George and sons’, Architecture Museum, University of South Australia, 2014, Architects of South Australia: [http://www.architectsdatabase.unisa.edu.au/arch_full.asp?Arch_ID=131]
Architectural works in South AustraliaTop
Firms or Professional Partnerships
|Name ||Dates Worked |
|L G Golding ||1925-1950 |
|L G & R L Golding ||1933-1935 |
|Architectural Homes Co. ||1935-1941 |
|Architectural Homes Co. ||1948-1978 |
|L G & M K Golding ||1936-1970 |
|LG & MK Golding (Naracoorte offfice) ||1937- |
Martin, Robert (1987, 1996) Under Mt Lofty, Stirling Council, Adelaide, pp. 72, 100, 140
Persse, J N & Rose, D M (1981) House Styles in Adelaide, AIV Inc., Adelaide, pp. 65, 79
Rate Assessment Books (Unley), State Records of South Australia
Sands & McDougall Directories, State Library of South Australia (‘SLSA’)
Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885, SAG&HSociety, 1986, SLSA
Indices of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1842-1972, SAG&HSociety, 1997-2006, SLSA
Adelaide’s Supreme Flats, Spirit of Progress, Melbourne X
Building & Construction/The Builder (weekly), 1925-60, passim.
Builders’ Home Plan Series, ibid., 2.3.1933, pp. 10, 11 and subsequently
Very Busy Architects, ibid., 3.5.1934, p. 13
Architectural Homes Co. Formed, ibid., 8.8.1935, p. 15
Unley District: To be built, ibid., 9.3.1939, p. 19
Obituary, The Advertiser, 30.6.1924, p. 11
Homes and Houses, The Advertiser, 24.10.1928, p. 22
Beauty and Utility Combined in New Spanish Home, The Mail, 19.10.1929, p. 12
Public Notices, The Advertiser, 22.10.1932, p. 3
Tenders & Contracts, The Advertiser, 14.9.1935, p. 8
Real Estate, The Advertiser, 12.2.1938, p. 5
Two-Storey Modern Home at Hazelwood Park, The Mail, 27.8.1938, p. 30
Underdale Home, The Advertiser, 20.5.1939, p. 16
Artistic Modern Home at Somerton, The Mail, 18.11.1939, p. 24
Architectural Homes Co. Erect Modern Flats, The Mail, 9.12.1939, p. 28
Seaside Residence, The Advertiser, 3.1.1940, p. 7
Comfort, Charm, Homeliness Given, The Mail, 31.5.1941, p. 26
Real Estate, The Advertiser, 7.7.1950, p. 17
Persons Wanted, The Advertiser, 8.11.1950, p. 15
J.D. Cheesman Collection, S327/9, Architecture Museum, School of Art, Architecture &
Design, University of South Australia (‘AM’)
Plan, Felicitas, Hurren Langman James Collection, S247, AM
Harold Griggs Collection, S167/475, AM
Conversation: B. Golding, 10.12.2014
Correspondence: M. and B.P. Golding (M&BPG), 14, 19.12.2014, 1-12.2015
Meet the Goldings, illustrated Ms with gazetteer, 2015, AM
Lands Titles Office, Adelaide – Certificates of Title online, www.sailis.sa.gov.au
Directories and Guides, www.guides.slsa.sa.gov.au/directories
State Library of SA, Pictorial Collection
Centennial Park Cemetery records https://www.centennialpark.org/memorial-search/mortimer-keith-golding-56795/
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