William Skinner

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William Skinner

Birthdate: (57)
Birthplace: Canterbury, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Death: June 15, 1885 (57)
Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa (Longontsteking)
Place of Burial: Pretoria, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Skinner and Anne EDMEADS
Husband of Charlotte Ann Skinner, x and Debora Wilhelmina Skinner, xx
Father of Charlotte Anne Skinner; Debora Jacoba Zeiler; Marthinus Jacobus Wessel Skinner; Thomas Edmond Edward Skinner; William Roland Skinner and 16 others

Occupation: Particulier
Managed by: Charlene Irene Viljoen
Last Updated:

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

Emigrated to South Africa in 1850. Sailed on the Emily from England on 31/7/1850 arriving on 10/10/1850 in South Africa.

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William Skinner's Timeline

February 10, 1828
Canterbury, Kent, England, United Kingdom
February 12, 1852
Age 24
October 26, 1858
Age 30
November 21, 1860
Age 32
Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
March 22, 1862
Age 34
Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
June 10, 1863
Age 35
November 25, 1865
Age 37
Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
April 12, 1866
Age 38