I've got a number of things. First, there's a picture of the
Imperial Airways flying boat Canopus being built. See the
pic on the main
flying boat page here.
have some postcards from Wade Kidwell. They include the Marine
Parade, South Beach and the Grey Street Mosque. I've tacked
them onto the bottom his postcard
got a picture of the Kenilworth Amusement arcade sent in Barbara
Maude-Stone. I have added it to the multi-purpose entertainment
some pictures from an e-mail that's currently doing the rounds.
I've added some of the pics from that to an album
I 've got quite a bit of new stuff from my 1960s correspondent
Dodo, including a picture of someone being served outside
the Cuban Hat resaurant. In the same vein, I 've also added
two pictures of the Cuban Hat from Allen Shultz. The new additions
are both linked from the general purpose Entertainment Page
on the links and scroll down till you get to the new bits
a walk on the beachfront here in Durban this morning and got
quite a shock when I realised that the Lido building had been
demolished while I wasn't looking. I've put up a page with
a couple of pictures here.
neglectful of the site lately but there is a lot more coming
in the next few days including more vintage beachfront pictures,
whaling memories and lots more besides.
Verdict on the beachfront after having arrived around
6:30am. It was much cleaner than I've seen it but I
feel that more could be done in that direction. Plenty of
people were round and about and, although cleaners were
also much in evidence, I reckon that the cleaning should
start earlier so as to be complete before people start arriving.
Maintenance is also an issue with many items of beach furniture
and food outlets crying out for renovation, a lick of paint,
and for faded signs and awnings to be replaced. If those
few measures were taken
and some effort made to sort out the grassy areas and tatty
plants, our Golden Mile could be
a cracker again. Very
encouraging was the heavy
security in place even at that relatively early
hour. There were private security guards, Metro police and
SAPS members in such numbers that I doubt that you have
thrown a stone and not hit one of them.
checked the site stats and it seems that, with the exception
of September 2007 when the site was unavailable for 10 days
and I didn't realise it, we seem to be averaging about 8000
unique visitors a month. Here's the latest graph.
to view enlargement.
was an interesting development on the local history scene
late year. It seems that things are moving with regard to
the collection and storage of historical info about the city.
The Municipal Libraries and Museums, in cooperation with the
city's South Durban Basin: Area Based Management body, have
begun the process of trying to contact people who participated
in the whaling industry in Durban. The aim is to collect stories
and reminiscences and to store these online so that they are
available to all.
began with a meeting of interested people late in November
at the Chicken Shack, 41 Old Mission Road, on the Bluff. We
were treated to a broad outline of the scheme, some background
on the whaling industry from John McDonald, and a trip to
the whaling station itself. I'll keep you posted when I hear
more but I must say that it does sound exciting, especially
as I believe that the scheme will be extended to other areas
of our history.
Shack is an eatery specialising in chicken dishes from around
the world but it is especially interesting as owner Dave Neilson
has established a mini whaling museum there. He is also one
of the movers behind the organisation of tours to the whaling
station. The Chicken Shack serves a selection of great Ethiopian
coffees; the Rasta Roast being my favourite.
Malcolm Wesson sent in the following about a memorable character
from his school days.
her book 'Frankie & Stankie' Barbara Trapido mentions
'Ralph' who 'was at Daffy School' and also in the local
Berea Scouts as a cub. In fact he was very much older
than the rest of his pack and stood head and shoulders
Trapido's book describes 'growing-up' on the Berea in
Durban in the immediate post-war years and her experiences
and mine intersect. I too remember Ralph but find he being
described as 'daffy' somewhat insensitive. It's also ironic
because she leaves no doubt as to her opposition to the
injustices and abuses of human rights in South Africa
at the time, but sees no harm in being dismissive about
an unfortunate person such as Ralph
first became aware of Ralph when I ran the Junior Cross-Country
race at Glenwood High School in 1956. In those days it
was a short road race using a route up McDonald Road,
Princess Alice Avenue, Lamont Road and back down to the
School via Manning Road.
were urged on by a man clad in brown shorts, long stocks
and wearing a sports jacket keeping pace with us on a
bicycle. He was then (I think) in his forties and I soon
learnt that Ralph's mental development had been arrested
by either injury or something like encephalitis. The poor
chap had a ten year old brain in an adult and aging body.
had been part of the Berea Park mob and thus was a supporter
of Durban High School (DHS) but if they had no sports
fixture on or were not playing against Glenwood, then
he would be our man on the touch-line.
mentioned earlier, Ralph was a keen member of the Cubs.
He was very proud of this but even more so when he eventually
passed all his tests and became a Scout. He arrived at
a match at Glenwood decked out in his full uniform very
proudly wearing all his badges to show his enhanced status.
dear harmless Ralph! You are a part of the collective
memory of hundreds of DHS and Glenwood boys who remember
you with fondness. Oh how your parents must have worried
and suffered anguish over you.
was eventually knocked off his bicycle by a motor car
in Essenwood Road and killed. He was lucky, in some ways,
never to leave the carefree days of childhood.
knowing any more details about Ralph is welcome to contact
very kindly sent me a picture of a Catalina flying boat landing
on Durban bay and I have put it up on my military flying boat
Some time ago, Jeff contributed articles on the flying boats
and you can read them here
love about doing this site are the sometimes incredible coincidences
that come about through people finding the site. Within the
space of a week or two last year, I received a picture and
a set of memoirs from two Durban students who had spent time
aboard the whaling factory ship Abraham Larsen.
taken by Myron Schultz in 1955/56, came from Henry Beitz and
the memoirs came from Rein Pirn. All three were aboard the
Abraham Larsen during her last season in the Antarctic for
the Union Whaling Company in 1956/7. I have put up Rein's
memoirs and the picture on their own page which is linked
from the top of the main
this month we are due to host an A1 street race for the third
time. I was aware that there had been street races held here
in the past, over some of the same course as the modern ones
have been. I'm very grateful to Marius Mathee for permission
to reprint his story about the 1948 Fairfield Handicap held
here. I've put up a page for the race here.
previous diary page, see
here, I have a mention of Durban resident Mike Hutchons
who competed in the race in 1949.
I've got a really huge page for you. It consists of all the
text and some of the maps and pictures from a booklet put
out in 1930 or 1931 by the Durban Corporation, The Durban
Publicity Association and the SA Railways and Harbours Administration.
Called Industrial Durban, the purpose was to attract new industries
is a fair amount of waffle in the book but it does provide
a great snapshot of the town at the time. There are many details
about the industries already existing in Durban and about
the facilities and raw materials available to the industrialist
considering setting up here. Included are all the things that
such people would have wanted to know, including the cost
of water, electricity and land.
the Great Depression was on at the time, there is a thread
running through the book that great things were on their way
for Durban. The borough was quite small at the time and only
comprised the area between the Umbilo and Umgeni Rivers and
inland as far as Ridge Road. Plans were afoot to incorporate
other areas such as Mayville (see
here for more detail), and it was expected that
Durban would soon be linked to the rest of the world by an
airship service. Reflected in the book is the belief that
there simply wasn't a finer place than Durban to start a new
it does, in some places, reflect the prevailing racial and
paternalistic attitudes of the time. The other content of
the book is valuable so I decided to include it uncensored
on the site as an historical document. View
the page here.
know where one can find old Durban promotional and travel
film and video footage? I'm thinking it would nice to have
a library of it on the web.
been a slight update to Rose
Enstrom's page of memories. My informant Hans-Dieter Winkens
has a few details about her and husband Aubrey's first car.
soon: A write-up on the great storm of 1905, which is
quite appropriate when you consider that we had a storm this
week which has been described as a 1 in 50 or 100 year event.
added a weblog section to this site which I will use to note
news stories about Durban which catch my eye. Residents will
probably know most of what I put there but it will hopefully
be more interesting for the many expatriates who visit this
the blog pages here.
past while I have been receiving a lot of information on various
subjects. I'll start today with a page on a tragic aircrash
in 1943, in which eight out of nine crew were killed when
their Catalina flying boat crashed on take-off from Lake St.
four of them were buried in Stellawood Cemetery. Included
on the page are pictures from the funeral of Sgt. RT Cork,
who is just one of the many foreign military personnel buried
in the city. View
the page here.
Dateline Durban blog
for news on developments at Durban Transport. Otherwise, I
have a new page on
the big storm we had on 11 March 2008, which was described
at the time, as a a once-in-100-year event. By some strange
quirk of coincidence, Durban experienced an epic storm just
over 100 years earlier and there's some stuff on that too.
John Taylor has contributed some of his memories of growing
up in Durban in the early 1960s. Filed under the heading of
Beaches, the Bioscope and milkshakes, you can read them here.
And, if you haven't been there yet, why not try our big page
of Durban memories here.
are now a couple more entries on the Dateline
Durban blog attached to the site. I've been making notes
of some current developments here in Durban.
sent some info on the sinking of the Nova Scotia to Tullio
Mascellari in Italy. He has now produced book on the subject
and you can get more details on from his website.
reminds me that I did promise to collect all the bits and
pieces on the Nova Scotia from various locations on the site
and put them together on a page and so, here
we have an evocative
piece from Dave Baird about Durban eateries he was fond
of, 1976-1993. Let me know
if you have favorites he hasn't mentioned.
There was a server disater and all the records of visits to
this site between November 2007 and June 2008 were lost. I
only found out thanks to timely reminder from Gerald Buttigieg
otherwise even more might have lost. The only envouraging
thing is that the figures for June were not far off the all-time
monthly record. In that month there were 11592 visitors to
the site who viewed a total of 21044 pages. Check out the
forget that I've started a blog on current issues to do with
Durban which catch my eye. Check
it out here and don't forget that, if you can cope with
site feeds, you can arrange to be notified every time there
is an update on the blog.
are also additions to the Nova
Scotia page with some details from Tullio Mascellari about
his nook on the subject. There is also news of a new book
on the subject by my correspondent Valeria Isacchini.
we have some wonderful memories of some of John Taylor's favourite
watering holes. He mentions the Cumberland Hotel in whose
action bar, the Jolly Roger, my circle of friends also passed
a lot of time. I dimly seem to remember an entertainer called
Les Hanslo who introduced us to songs such as Dinah show
us a leg and The hairs on her dicky dido. This
knowlege was to prove to be very useful to me during my stint
in the army. Read
the article here.
been thinking about this site quite a lot in the past few
months and have concluded that I could do so much more on
it if I could persuade you all to help with an occasional
As I explain
on the donations page, there is no idea ever to charge
for access to the site but some support would be most welcome.
I have put up a donations page and links to it will start
appearing on other pages throughout the site. Just click on
a link and you will be taken to the donation page which has
support this site.
I have a page for you that I've been meaning to put up for
some time. It's a write-up on an informational leaflet which
was produced for the benefit of troops stopping off here during
War II. It's a period in our history that fascinates me because
of the city's extreme strategic importance to the Allied war
effort. We provided a safe haven where battle-damaged ships
could be repaired, casualties nursed back to health and where
troops could rest and relax en-route to and from the battlefields.
Durban page here.
has been busy adding to his postcard collection and has been
kind enough to share them with us. There are a lot of vintage
beachfront pictures from the (60s and 70s ??) that are bound
to bring back memories. I'd be very grateful if anyone can
help information to the captions and especially the dates.
Read the page here.
also been keeping a Dateline
Durban blog on contemporary issues and events in Durban.
Today I'm very pleased to welcome guest blogger Niki Moore
with some of her thoughts on the street renaming.
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