William Skinner (1828 - 1885)

‹ Back to Skinner surname

Is your surname Skinner?

Research the Skinner family

William Skinner's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Birthplace: Canterbury, Kent, UK
Death: Died in Pretoria
Occupation: Particulier
Managed by: Charlene Irene Viljoen
Last Updated:
view all 18

Immediate Family

About William Skinner

SKINNER William word op 11 Desember 1867 die vyfde Landdros van Pretoria

Pioneer resident of Pretoria, artisan and magistrate. William Skinner was trained as an artisan in the building industry and had some knowledge of architecture and surveying.

At the age of twenty two he arrived by ship in Port Natal in 1850, among a group of immigrants which included the brothers Louis Edward and Lionel Devereux.

In May 1852 Skinner and the Devereux brothers met Commandant-General Andries Pretorius in Pietermaritzburg and he persuaded them to settle in the Transvaal to assist the building industry. They moved to Pretorius's farm Grootplaas to build a homestead for him.


The first important assignment was to construct the first church building on the church farm Elandspoort. The work was commenced towards the end of June 1854 and the survey of the square (Church Square in Pretoria) was done with the aid of Jan Visagie. The first stands round the square and the two access streets (Market and Church Street) were also measured off at the same time.

Skinner was responsible for the following: first school, which started in 1859, the first prison, on the corner of Visagie and Bosman Streets; in conjunction with Louis Devereux, the Transvaal's first Raadsaal (council chamber) in 1864, which was sold to the government for six hundred and eighty pound.

In 1867 he was on the committee which selected the site of the present 'Ou Kerkhof' (west of Church Square) as a cemetery, and the same year was appointed the first English-speaking magistrate of Pretoria, holding the post until 1878.


In 1872 he, JR Uys, M de Vries and JC Preller were nominated to investigate the establishment of a municipality for Pretoria, and when municipal status was eventually granted in 1880, Skinner was elected a town councilor the same year.

He had an easy way with people. As a magistrate he was highly respected and was known as a 'makgemaakte Engelsman' (who understood local people and conditions). He could count on the support of Boer and Briton alike.

At first he lived in 'The Bungalow' in Market Street (Paul Kruger Street), but in 1860 he moved to the farm Skinner Court on the banks of Skinner Spruit. Skinner Street in Pretoria is named after him. Source: Dictionary of South African Biography Vol 4 page 946 and 947

view all 19

William Skinner's Timeline

1828
February 10, 1828
Canterbury, Kent, UK
1850
1850
Age 21
Canterbury, Kent, UK
1858
January 9, 1858
Age 29
Pietermaritzburg
1862
March 22, 1862
Age 34
Pretoria
1863
June 10, 1863
Age 35
1865
November 25, 1865
Age 37
1866
April 12, 1866
Age 38
1869
July 30, 1869
Age 41
Pretoria