Hotel name

Bob Gooderson asks if anyone can remember the name of a hotel that has slipped his mind. He wote:

Does anybody remember the name of the hotel which stood on the site where Marine Parade Post office is now sited?

In 1957 when my Dad family purchased our first hotel, the Lonsdale, I was installed as manager. We had Jack Bartram playing the organ in the ‘Lonsdale Lounge’ and Cashel Kelly was the singer.

On nights when it seemed quiet I used to walk round and check on how many people were in the Palmerston and then up the road to the [other] hotel where the owner or manager played the piano and his wife sang with him. I seem to remember that she was a soprano. Neither my brother Alan nor I can remember the name of the hotel, who does?

Bob also sent in this picture of the beachfront which, he says, has the following inscription ‘Photograph by D.John Lucey Studio, 22 Albany Grove, Durban.’ and the reference number 61-6  52-A. He surmises that the picture was taken in 1961.

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10 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Bob,
    Your question of what was on the site where the Marine Parade and Telephone Exchange complex now stands left me with egg on my face. In 1974 I was transferred to the then incomplete building to act as liaison officer with the building contractors, Silvermine Construction to oversee the handover of the building to the Dept. of Post and Telecommunications. Thereafter I was to act as Installation Liaison Officer to the staff of Siemens AG of Munich, Germany who were installing the first exchange project to go into the new building complex, being the Beach 37 telephone exchange. The Beach 37 exchange was a full 10 000 line local subscriber exchange which was to serve the Beachfront and parts of the central CBD. I seem to recall at the time being told of what had existed on the site but it had completely escaped my memory. However not to be defeated I started questioning a couple of my work colleagues and one has come up with the name Connaught Hotel. He says he obtained the name from a 1952 Braby’s Durban Directory. As I have not acquired the information first hand I am passing on what he told me. Does the name ring a bell?

  2. Bob Gooderson
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald
    Thank you for the info. The name so completely escapes me so I think Connaught must be right especially as it came from the 1952 Brabys.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Bob,
      I have just been back to Durban for a fleeting visit and was able to visit the Durban Reference Library which is on the 10th Floor of what I knew as The BP Centre on the corner of the former Aliwal and Pine Streets. I wanted some information regarding a place in Durban I lived in 1960. I asked for a 1960 Durban Braby’s Directory and this was drawn for me from the Don Library Archives. Those directories were amazingly informative and going street by street you could identify names of people who lived in your street. Having time, I looked up Sea View Street to confirm the name of the hotel that stood on the now Marine Parade Post Office site. And correct as my friend stated, 19 Sea View Street was the Connaught Hotel, 23-27 Willsborough Mansions (still existing), 39-41 Park View Hotel (still there but not sure if it is still a hotel) , 45 Bakers Biscuits Factory (this was on the corner of Seaview Street and Brickhill Road. The biscuit factory was demolished to make way for the Checkers (?) Centre now on the site. The Bakers bakery extended from the corner of Seaview Street to West Street corner and occupied the whole block.
      So confirmed the Connaught Hotel was on that site.

  3. Alastair Currie
    | Reply

    I can confirm it was the Connaught Hotel as I have a pastel artwork sent by a Miss Jenni Wilson from that address costing 14 guinees

    • Alastair Currie

      Sorry it was Jessie Wilson

    • Robert Currie

      Alastair, are you the son of Douglas and Nancy?

  4. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Alastair,
    Thanks for the confirmation. Is the artwork of the actual building? That would be nice to post here as I very much doubt there would be a postcard / picture of the building.

  5. Neil Hazell
    | Reply

    It is so intriguing to read the messages posted here! The Connaught Hotel was owned by Mr Bertie Lewin who was the President of the South African Magical Society during the 1950’s. And it is correct that his wife, Madame de Bois, was an opera singer! The Society used to hold its meetings once a month at the Connaught Hotel. I have this information as it was written by the late Peter Canham who was a member of the Society at that time. I am presently the Secretary of the Society and I am always on the look out for any information on the Society from the past! Any assistance in this regard would be very much appreciated!

  6. Mike Ettmayr
    | Reply

    Well I am cleaning stuff from the past and came across the Registration Certificate booklet number 34766 issued to my grandmother 18 May 1940. My grandmother was Austrian but German by annexation. The book records that she left Pinetown 13 February 1946 heading for the Connaught Hotel. The next Alien Registration stamp was on 14 February 1946 which records that she arrived at the Connaught Hotel.

  7. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Mike
    Thanks for that bit of information. I was not aware that Aliens had to register their movements but being just post war the law must have required that.

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