Info requests

posted in: InfoRequests | 35

Nooky Him wrote asking if anyone remembers what hotel stood on the site of this picture:

hotel

William Paterson  wrote:

Hello again Allan

Can anyone shed any light on the Oriana Singers? They were a small group (5 or 6 people max) who sang hymns on SABC’s quarter hour morning service broadcast from Durban in about 1956. I think they were coordinated by a Noel McAdam. One of the singers was Janet Drew who was studying “Screech and Trauma” at University of Natal, Durban? Not to be confused with the ‘massed choirs’ which sang at major religious events.
William

Michael Blizzard wrote:

Family research has thrown up the name of Capt Henry Ballard as my wife’s grandfather. Capt Henry Ballard (1840 – ?) was born in Southampton UK.  At the age of 13 after a rudimentary education he joined the crew of the ‘Jason’ as ‘Officers’ Servant’. In 1860 he joined the Union Steamship Company. Many voyages aboard many vessels followed, with him moving up the chain of command. Many of his trips were to South Africa and along the African coast.

He was captain of the ‘Durban’  (Reg No 76838) which was built in Sunderland in 1877. He became master in 1882. He later became the master of the ‘Mexican’ which operated between Southampton, Cape Town and Durban. In February 1884, after 25 years with the Union Steamship Company he retired to take up the position of Port Captain of Durban. He retired in 1903 after 20 years as Port Captain.

Much of the above information was gleaned from the book ‘An Old Sea Dogs Story’ by Henry Ballard and presented to my wife Stella Pithey in 1964 by Frank Ballard, her great uncle.

I would be interested in receiving any addition information on Henry Ballard which anyone has to offer particularly regarding the time that he spent in Durban.

Ariel Rudolph wrote:

Hi Allan
There was a post on the Facebook “Bluff Reunited” the other day which made mention of a “fact” (which no-one could substantiate) that the end of the Bluff near the Portnet control tower once was under the jurisdiction of Pinetown. In fact the poster included an undated photograph which included a signboard which was purportedly photographed close the end of the Bluff stating “You are exiting Durban”

This claim further went on to state that there was another signboard that stated that one was now entering Pinetown!!  Given the geographical distance from Pinetown – this sounds really far-fetched. Have you any information / evidence which might be able to substantiate this “fact”?
Regards
Ariel
Ex Durbanite, Bluffite and colleague of Gerald Buttegieg

Kerry Anne Hogg wrote:

Hi Allan

What a great site you have; brought back so many memories.  Thought you might be interested to know that my Gran, Gladys Herbst, was the PRO & Manager of several Durban cinemas back in the day. She worked at The Embassy, Kine600, Ocean City & The Broadway. When The Embassy closed she was given the red velvet curtains. As an art student in my teens, I once made a dress from some of the fabric.
My Gran still resides in Durban and is an inspiration to all our family.
Kind regards,
Kerry Anne

Des Ramsay wrote:

Hi
I am looking for some information about the early history of the Umgeni Heights area. The area I am interesting in researching is Buttery Road and Mount Argus Road, as well as Brown’s Drift itself, not Brown’s Drift Road.

With regard to Buttery, I am trying to establish if this refers to a surname, or an actual farm and dairy.  It appears from the layout of Mount Argus Road that a small farm or enterprise may have existed there.

If anyone has any information I would love to hear it.  I know in one of my History Books I have read some anecdotes about Brown’s Drift – it was either in “History of Old Durban” (George Russell) or “Father of a City – the life and works of George Christopher Cato” (Eric Goetzsche) – I will have to search a bit, because the former is not indexed at all.
Kind regards
Des Ramsay
7th generation descendant of John Ramsay who arrived in 1858.

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35 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Nooky
    I checked the 1938 Durban Lawrie’s Directory and the Hotel’s name is the Windsor. Alexandra St is the diagonal street that links West and Smith Streets. The hotel also appears to be still standing in 1968 as it is listed in that year’s directory. In the distance the old building which gratefully has been saved is on the corner of Smith and Park Street. I have no idea when the hotel stopped operating. Whereas the photo shows a virtually rehabilitated Alexander Street, the Triangle Service Station has been a landmark in that area as along as I can remember.

    Hi Michael,
    Remembering that there was a Ballard Street in the Point area, I looked up my Origin of Durban Street Names book (written by Late John McIntyre 1956) and he writes the following: Ballard Street: Runs between Timeball Street and Wellington Road at the Point ..named after Capt. H. Ballard C.M.G. Port Captain from 1884 to 1903. Was awarded the CMG during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (afterwards King George the Fifth and Queen Mary) in 1901.

    Hi Ariel,
    Your work colleague here! That sounds very far fetched as you say. It could have been a troopie’s prank in that C Company of 5 SAI was based on the Bluff in the 1960’s and it would be quite apt to state that you are exiting Durban as you entered the rather restrictive access of the military base. I spent a week there and recall that access was very restricted to that end of the Bluff in those days. Still in Israel?

    Hi William,
    Oriana Singers, the name does ring a bell but as to the actual people nix. Why does the name Edgar Cree come to mind?

    Hi Des,
    Not much help but Buttery Road (again from above book) Umgeni Heights north bank of the Umgeni River … takes its name from the well known family who lived there for many years.

    Brown’s Drift Road runs off Riverside Road on the north bank of the Umgeni. Originally gave access to Brown’s Drift one of the early river crossings in Durban’s early days.

    Mount Argus Road.. took its name from the home of the well known Clarkson family who lived in that area. In 1938 Directory is listed: Clarkson W.A. 80 Mount Argus Road and the property is called “Tandalla”.

    Des do a search for Dairies of Durban on FAD. There was some discussion some time ago about all the dairies in Durban that once existed. Remember that up to the time of WW2, Durban strictly speaking was still regarded as the area between the Umgeni and the Umbilo Rivers, North Ridge Road and the sea. Anything outlying was regarded as Durban Districts and this would have included such places as Mayville, Durban North and Rossburgh and all the others beyond. I would have to do some research as to when all the outlying areas were incorporated into the City of Durban and I think it may have been round about 1949 at a guess.

    • Tim Conroy
      | Reply

      Edgar Cree was for many years a music conductor with the SABC, as was Edward Dunn. Now going back to the Golden Hind: it is she! Compare scans 20 and 30. In the first head-on pic there is a ship above the port wingtip with its anchor half lowered. Now look at the surface view of the starboard side of GH… Behind the tail is a ship with its anchor in the same place! QED!

      GB: the white car is not a Bentley: no handbrake outside the cockpit.

    • Allan Hannah
      | Reply

      Hi Gerald
      So much info on dairies! May I please whizz off on a tangent and ask you whether anyone has mentioned the old soft drink companies that were located in and around Durbs! W Daly comes to mind and I seem to recall Cooee, or some name like that! Could be an interesting topic! .. burp!
      Regards
      AllanH

      • Gerald Buttigieg
        | Reply

        Hi Allan,
        I am not too sure whether it was in the 50s 0r the 60s that soft drinks were more commonly known as minerals. I do recall W. Daly being near the racecourse and my late father in law used to go and pick up a case of minerals every month. Dalys had a connection with Anglo Belfast. Daly’s produced Hubbly Bubbly and Royal Crown Cola. Hubbly Bubbly came in various flavours and the bottle was distinctive in that it was quite dimpled. Coo-ee was a not too common soft drink which came in a sort of oval shaped bottle with ribbing. All the minerals in those days were “bottle tops” (metal caps) which were supplied by a factory in Mobeni called Crown Cork. Leicester Road if I remember. I remember this from my PABX days as several firms in that road had PABX units. There was of course Pepsi Cola in Umbilo Road where they had a bottling plant. They also bottled Canada Dry which had Ginger Ale, Tonic Water, and Lemonade. Bottles of Canada Dry were in brown, green and clear glass. Pepsi also produced Mountain Dew and Mirinda. Coca Cola, office, bottling and distribution centre was in Edwin Swales Drive and I may be wrong but I think the site is either a market now or the fire station. Not sure. Coca Cola had a PABX and I recall the switchboard operator was a Mrs Caries. Coca Cola also produced Krest Ginger Ale, Fanta only orange originally and then came Grape in purple and Sprite. I cannot recall when cans come onto the market but in the early 60s all minerals were bottled. Having written these memories I referred to the 1968 Directory and there were a couple of others that I missed. One I forgot was Suncrush which was bottled in Canada Road in Umbilo. There was also Schweppes which had a plant in Mobeni. They made drink mixers mainly. Coo-ee’s plant was in Balfour Road Jacobs. There are some vague bottlers mentioned amongst them MacPherson Minerals 20 Carlisle Street (near Albert Street), Durban Electric Mineral Water Works 21-23 May Street, Durban Soft Drink Company 20 Canada Road, Gold Top (Starlite Products) 296 Quarry Road, Seven Up Bottling Co. 131 Acutt Ave Durban North. Any bottle collectors out there with examples of these “mineral” bottles?

        • Allan Hannah
          | Reply

          Hi Gerald
          Mineral waters! What a thriving industry!Hard to believe that there were so many companies around.
          I seem to remember that there was “deposit” that could be claimed if the empty bottle was returned, providing it was in good condition!
          In fact, I think that we used to collect these and take them to the local “tea room” to get a few pennies in return which h we promptly exchanged for panned peanuts or Wilsons toffees!
          In them thar days a tickey could buy a veritable cartload of sweets and the suchlike! I also remember a small shop in Verulam that produced ” sweet meats”, I think the array of goodies that were available and on display would rival the “cake tables” in the supermarkets of today! Once we had a few pennies together we would make a bee line for the Kohinoor shop to lash out on really sweet stuff!
          But we were discussi9n minerals!!
          Regards
          AllanH

          • Cassim Parak
            |

            Hi Mr Allan Hannah
            I was pleasantly surprised to find a reference to Kohinoor sweetmeats in Verulam, while undertaking a search. Yes, the store belonged to my late grandfather. I remember spending some of my childhood holidays at the store sampling everything from sweetmeats to spicy nuts! And my mum and aunt have continued to date in the tradition of selling sweetmeats, although not from the same store and not in Verulam. The store has since been owned and run by my uncle, who sells some of the most delicious take-aways in KZNatal, but sadly no sweetmeats.

        • Rodney Leak
          | Reply

          Gerald the first soft drinks canned in SA were by SA Breweries in Johannesburg – Groovy, in a range of flavours. Groovy is mentioned elsewhere in FAD. The best of Durban’s “minerals” was surely Palm, both the ginger beer and mango (both with real ingredients). Seven Up was the forerunner to Pepsi in South Africa. Incidentally South Africa was second to Rhodesia in getting canned beer. Who remembers using the spanner to open the crowns? At one time, in another life, I worked for Metal box who became a Nampak division and have a box of can history somewhere, somewhere.

          • claudette
            |

            My dad used the spanner many a time,I still drink a lot of pepsi here where I am in Canada,I remember standing outside Pepsi building when in Umbilo and watching the bottles go around and around

  2. Ariel Rudolph
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald! Good to know that the old (not too much emphasis on the old 🙂 ) colleague is still as informative as ever. Yep! Still in Israel…
    Yeah that there might have been a sign declaring that one was leaving Durban may very well have been but entering Pinetown….. No way!!
    Keep well!

  3. Ariel Rudolph
    | Reply

    Gerald, that “gracefully retained” building on the corner of Park and Smith streets used to be the home of Kahn’s antiques (or Kahn’s furniture). Right next door (in Park street) was a bicycle shop…
    Keep on smiling!!

  4. William Paterson
    | Reply

    Des, I spent my childhood in a wonderful old homestead called ‘Chelmsford’ in Mount Argus Road, Umgeni Heights, previously owned by a Mrs Buttery. I was told that when her family purchased their first petrol driven motor car, Mrs Buttery ordered the ceremonial burial of their old horse-drawn carriage in one of the extensive front gardens. Among others, a photograph of Chelmsford’s old stables framed between two huge old trees is on the wall above my desk in County Wexford, Ireland. I seem to remember that the Butterys owned another house further towards Buttery Road (on the seaward side) from which Mount Argus Road branches. Mr and Mrs Buckle had a house on the curve of Mount Argus Road near a very old fig tree called The Mission Tree. Mr Buckle was the manager of Henwoods. They had two children Verna and Derrick. Verna (very beautiful) married a (very Scottish. A fine man) Bill Cameron, Manager of Esse Stoves and they built a house on the Buckle’s estate. Paul Henwood became the Manager of The Chairman’s Fund, Anglo American Corporation. Further up Buttery Road lived a Mr Macaline McAlpine Rind. And even further up the same road was a small corrugated iron building used by the ‘Blourokkies’ for their services. You are welcome to make contact with me via email but I cannot guarantee the correctness of any information I might impart, however! William

    • Moira
      | Reply

      Hi William,

      I attended Rosehill Infants School which fronted onto Buttery Road from 1961 to 1963. It was nearby Woodlawn Crescent and Chicks Drive. It was a very small school back in those days. Just three classrooms – one for Class 1, one for Class 2 and one Standard One classroom. The school was known once upon a time as the smallest school in the southern hemisphere. Don’t know if that is still the case. There was a stunning view from all the classrooms looking over the beachfront area, out to sea, the Bluff and parts of the city. Close by the school also on Buttery Road was a general trading store which was owned by an Indian family. We used to called it “Bob Naidoo’s”. I have a vague memory of a corrugated iron house in Buttery Road which burnt down.

      • Moira
        | Reply

        I have a photo of Rosehill Infants and one of the Durban Beachfront that I would like to post on the site. How do I go about this?

        • Gerald Buttigieg
          | Reply

          Hi Moira,
          Go to Contact Us on the Home Page and send the photos to Allan Jackson. He will post it for you.
          Gerald

  5. William Paterson
    | Reply

    Umgeni Heights: More info: I forgot to mention that the entrance to the drive leading up to the Clarksons’ house was on the right of Buttery Road where Mount Argus Road started and led off to the left. Mount Argus Road rose gently to level off at the crest of Umgeni Heights. The Clarkson children were John (the first born). Owen and Betty. Their mother was Edna but I can’t recall the father’s first name. He owned Clarkson’s Quarries at the foot of Buttery Road where it sprung from Riverside Road. Clarkson’s brother was Senator Clarkson. The Hirsts’ property (complete with non-working windmill and tarred tennis court) was adjacent to the Buckles (all big properties), Bill Hirst was an architect (Hirst & Franklin) who, I think, designed the fine Howard College, Dome and all – well before it was marred by the tall eyesore to the right of the original building erected fairly soon after the Second World War.

    Two sisters, Dorothy and Ethel Kerkin (piano teacher) built a house in front of the Hirsts (they might have purchased some of the Hirst’s land).

    • Rodney
      | Reply

      I agree that the original Howard College building is a fine building. As to whether or not the adjacent Memorial Tower Building (MTB) is an eyesore, I suppose that is a matter of opinion. It is not widely known that a duplicate of the MTB was supposed to be erected on the other side of the Howard College building, but instead the uninspired engineering and chemistry buildings were erected there. Incidentally, I recall being told that during Freshers Week at the start of each academic year that new first years were shown the statue of King George V (?) in front of Howard College and being told that it was a statue of King Howard. I wonder if the statue is still there, or if it has been politically correct to remove it to make more space for staff car parking.

  6. Bob Gooderson
    | Reply

    One name missing from the mineral water firms is that of Palm in Pinetown. Their speciality was Ginger Beer. If memory serves correctly it was a brewed ginger beer not a flavoured gas injected product.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      | Reply

      Hi Bob
      Yes forgot Palm. They also had distinctive bottling in a brown stubby bottle with a Palm tree as a logo and the inscription in white. I looked them up in the old directory: Palm Industries 46 Kings Road Pinetown. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Moira
    | Reply

    Hi Bob,
    Does anyone remember a soft drink from the early 70’s called “Groovy”? Came from a bottling plant in the Pinetown/Marianhill area. There was a large “Groovy” sign on the factory roof.

    • Allan Jackson
      | Reply

      I remember Groovy! I have an idea it was the first cooldrink in cans that I ever saw. I clearly remember people referring to other canned drinks as Groovies as in: “Gimme a Groovy Coke”.

    • Bianca Lawrence
      | Reply

      I do remember the Groovy cooldrinks. One came in a lime-green can (I think it may even have been a lime flavour) and one was in a purple can (tasting a bit like fanta grape). They were out at the same time as a bright purple ice cream called “Purple Fink”.

  8. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    Hi Rodney Leak,

    My father Eddie Friend worked at Metal Box in Mobeni between 1956 and 1973 in the tin plate printing part of the factory, initially as a lithographer and later as a foreman. As a small child I sometimes went to work with him on a Saturday morning and watched the sheets of metal going into one end of the printing machine and coming out at the other end printed, baked and ready to be cut into individual pieces and made into cans. My father spent the following 10 years working in Cape Town as a superintendant of the Metal Box training factory before retiring in 1983. He died here in England 2 years ago a few months short of his 92nd birthday, having given the pension fund a good run for their money. My mother who is now 92 still continues to receive two thirds of his pension from the pension fund; it’s been a really good pension scheme. Regards.

  9. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Trevor,
    What ever happened to Metal Box? I remember the factory being quite a large spread in Mobeni. My wife’s uncle, the late Christopher Gazley Mack was also a manager/foreman
    at Metal Box retiring in the late 70s. Maybe the name rings a bell?

  10. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald,

    At some point when foreign companies began to divest themselves of their interests in SA, the Metal Box company sold their SA organisation to the Barlows Group. I don’t know what happened after that but the factory complex is still there in Mobeni although it now seems to be occupied by another organisation.

    According to wikipedia the Metal Box Company in the UK was later renamed MB Group before merging to become MB-Caradon, then just Caradon, then Novar and finally taken over by Honeywell. During this time the nature of the business also seemed to change from packaging and tinning to building security and controls.

    I don’t recall the name Christopher Gazley Mack but the few names that spring to mind are, Ken Craig (used to run in the Comrades marathon), Eric Henderson, Bernie Albrecht & Terry McChrystal.

    Regards.

  11. graem
    | Reply

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Meta Box were bought out by Nampak some time ago. !!!
    Regards

  12. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    Hi Graem,

    Some of the company history stuff on the web indicates that Nampak were bought by Reed Corp and then sold to Barlow Rand in the 1970’s. So it appears that it was the Nampac part of the Barlow’s group that bought Metal Box (SA) in the 1980’s, which makes sense as they were a packaging company.

    Regards.

    • Rodney Leak
      | Reply

      Hi Trevor. I have the word out whether any of the names you mention as ex-Metal Boxers are remembered. I joined Metal Box in July 1983 as a sales rep for the closure division and then went to marketing of beverage cans until retrenched in 1999. It was in 1988 that Nampak completed the take over of Metal Box South Africa and each division was prefixed by Nampak, viz. Nampak Bevcan, Nampak Flexible, etc. (MB started operating in SA in the 30′ with most if not all technical staff coming from the UK). In my spell at the Epping, Cape Town plant many employees celebrated 40+ years service, and one local guy in the printing department 50 years service. Somewhere in my archive I should have a book published to commemorate 50 years in South Africa. Of course I may have burnt it when I was retrenched!!!

  13. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    Hi Rodney,

    My dad retired at the end of the tax year about 4 months before you joined and probably just before the start of the Barlow’s/Nampak takeover. A couple of other names that have come back to me are Lawrence Nielsen and Archie Williams but like the others that I have mentioned, with the possible exception of Ken Craig, they were probably before your time at MB. I saw Ken Craig about 4 years ago and he still runs to keep fit but not in Comrades any more as he is now in his late 70’s; most of the others I’ve named have passed away.

    Regards.

    • Rodney Leak
      | Reply

      Trevor I have received the following reply from an ex Metal Boxer (a couple of years my senior):- “Good to hear from you. I worked with Eddie Friend at Epping 2 when we came to Cape Town he was a great guy. Ken Craig worked at M.B. 3 in Durban and I was at Main Tin Durban. I did meet him a few times but can’t say I knew him well.”

  14. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    Thanks Rodney, it’s good to hear that there are a few MB old timers still around.
    Regards.

  15. Marianne Wardd
    | Reply

    I had a rotted wood floor which is being removed and have retrieved from the void a few Palm ginger beer bottles ….and two coke bottles …Also a fresh cream container By Natal Combined dairies with. Quarter Pint measurement…I would love to know perhaps the year we converted to the metric measurements …Also when Palm industries perhaps stopped trading …Immensely enjoyed reading all comments …

  16. tony
    | Reply

    Does anyone remember the soft drinks goldtop and hubbly bubbly and who were the manufacturers

    • Allan Jackson
      | Reply

      I remember Hubbly Bubbly but have no idea who made them. W Daly perhaps?

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      | Reply

      Hi Tony
      See my comment above dated 14th July 2013: You’ll have to scroll up a bit.

  17. Mike
    | Reply

    A link to Hubbly Bubbly in SA………………

    http://www.doyouremember.co.uk/memory/hubbly-bubbly

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