Fonds BC1196 - B Cowper Smith Papers

Reference code



B Cowper Smith Papers


  • 1912-1995 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Ca. 50 items

Name of creator

Biographical history

Cowper Smith (BCS) was born in Pretoria in 1917. He was the son of Benjamin Smith of London, a well-known sculptor, and Mamie Putterill, of Harrismith. Benjamin Smith undertook several important commissions in the early part of the last century, including the decoration of the Union Buildings (Pretoria) and the Law Courts (Bloemfontein). Cowper Smith matriculated in 1936 and became articled to a firm of Chartered Accountants, Close and Company, in Cape Town, the following year. It was at this time that he began keeping a detailed record of income and expenditure, a practice that he continued, without interruption, until 1994, the year before he died. He served in the Royal Navy for the duration of the war, spending several years in Britain on MTBs. He also spent some time in what was then Ceylon and in India. The end of the war saw him as part of the naval force preparing for the invasion of Singapore. When the war ended he returned to Close and Company. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1956 and he remained with Close and Company until his retirement in 1975. He married Georgina Barbara Martin (GBS), of Leicester, in 1948. She had come out to South Africa from England in 1944 to teach at an agricultural college in Harrismith, where Cowper had grown up and where his family still resided. Cowper and Georgina lived in Fish Hoek until 1975 and then moved to a smallholding in Noordhoek. They returned to Fish Hoek in 1987. They had four children. Leonard Cowper (LCS) born 1950, Ethel Jacqueline (EJS and EJF) born 1952, Barbara Elizabeth (BES and BEM) born 1958 and Jennifer Diana (JDS and JDR) born 1961.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Scope and content

Detailed personal financial records (kept from 1937 to 1994) of B Cowper Smith, a chartered accountant in Cape Town. Includes some financial records of his father, Benjamin Smith, a well-known sculptor.


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Conditions governing access

No restrictions apply

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Language of material

  • English

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  • English



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