posted in: Mini Memories 54

Robert Hart wrote in recently:

I too have fond memories of Durban. I was born in Johannesburg in 1972 and remember our annual holiday in Durban. You must appreciate that I was very young and my memories of the holidays spent in Durban are not as vivid and detailed as that of an adult at that time. My parents were relatively poor so we couldn’t live it up in the well to do spots, however as a one-off extravagance we would have tea at Greenacres and I remember well the Indian waiters and the fancy tea pots, and going to the Hub with my mother and watching her go through the bargain bins

Do you have any photos that you can post on the your website of Greenacres? I always remember when Edgars opened seeing the original mosaic in the front entrance.

I also remember eating at the Chuck Wagon Restaurant with it’s wagon wheel decor and staying in the hotel above, unfortunately I can’t remember its name.

I seem to recall seeing a model of a Union Castle ship in the Durban Museum next to the Durban City Hall in the early 1990’s and I also have a memory of once having an opportunity to go on the Vintage Car Ride on Durban Beach Front.

We later moved down to Durban in the mid-1980s when I attended Durban High School and occasionally went to the Press Club in Salisbury Arcade where there was also a wonderful toy and hobby shop on the 2nd floor.

At the time I also spent the weekend at the local Municipal Pool next to the Durban Post Office and well remember ordering the toasted sandwiches from the small restaurant that served the park next door as well.

When the “Workshop” opened up, I used to enjoy eating some of the local Indian food at some of the cheaper restaurants and going to the CNA to read the books & magazines, not to mention looking in “Kings Sports” which I sadly witnessed closing down.

At the time one didn’t appreciate what we had and took it for granted that it was safe to walk anywhere around Durban in relative safety. Sadly when I returned to Durban in 2010 after living abroad for over 10 years I was shocked to see how Durban has declined.

Also, changing the street names is helping to destroy the rich history and culture Durban had and only by people such as yourself recalling your memories, do we prevent the rich history and greatness of Durban from being destroyed. Let’s hope that you continue recalling your memories so that we can continue to preserve the past……it’s much appreciated.


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54 Responses

  1. Allan Jackson
    | Reply

    Thanks for the memories Robert. I also have vivid memories of the cafes at Greenacres (and Payne Brothers too) and I’m told that I once covered the family in shame when, as a toddler, I walked out of the Greenacres’ cafe with the organist’s shoes in my hand….

    I hope someone can chip in with some pictures. They must be out there.

    • Clyde Walton

      I grew up in Durban during the early sixties and can remember going to the fancy tearoom where there was an organist playing – we always had anchovy toast – I thought it was Ansteys but could have been Greenacres – I think Ansteys had the old wooden lift and pneumatic tubes but was modernised and became The Hub ?? – I remember going to their modern self service tearoom/café and we always got a Perks pie there
      Payne Bros was on the other side of West St and then further down West St towards the Post Office was Woolworths which I remember had automatic doors which opened when you stood on the rubber entrance mat and also air conditioning which made the interior sooo cool coming in from sticky Durban heat outside

    • Gilbert

      My great grandfather owned Greenacres.
      They named a street after him. MCDONALD street in Durban. They are about to change the names of many streets to significant figures in the freedom fight. MCDONALD street will go

      Gilbert McDonald

  2. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Robert
    It is good to see people adding to the website with their memories and recollections. Your memory of the Ocean Liner model in the Durban Museum is quite correct. The model, long before you were born, used to stand in the Castle Arcade. This building which was an iconic building in Durban was sadly demolished to make way for the 320 West Street building. The model moved from there to the Durban Museum. I have an idea that the model has now been stored away. The model if I recall was that of the Armadale Castle of the Union Castle Lines which was the first mail steamer to cross the bar in Durban harbour officially. That was in 1904.
    On 23rd August 1984, Edgars opened its doors to the public from the famous Greenacres building we all knew. There had been a scare in 1982 that the building would be demolished but the owners retained the facade altering the interior completely. The Local History Museum in Aliwal Street were selling a small booklet on the history of Harvey, Greenacre & co. The booklet shows a small photo of the mosaic you mention being saved in 1983.
    The “hobby shop” you mention in Salisbury Arcade was Track and Trestle. It was the only worthwhile hobby shop in Durban at the time and the owner was Carl Peters. Carl had started in the toy business whilst still at school at Glenwood High School. He used to work part time for Reg Woodroffe, who had started Regwoods Toys in I think, Hooper Lane. This was in the mid 1970s. Reg also had the Doll’s Hospital where dolls of all sorts were brought in for repair. The original Regwoods had a disastrous fire and thereafter the company was sold. Carl then started Track and Trestle and as far as I remember it was his first outlet. In the 1990s, he opened a branch down in the Checkers Centre in Brickhill Road. His first love was model trains and he was instrumental in starting National Model Train Conventions in the main cities in South Africa. Sadly Carl died at a relatively young age.
    The municipal swimming pool in town was called the Town Baths as opposed to the Beach Baths down at North Beach.
    I remember the Press Club. It was a well known coffee bar / meeting place in Salisbury Arcade, Smith Street end.

  3. Geoff Hunt
    | Reply

    Can anyone help?
    My great aunt emigrated from the UK to South Africa in 1920 and the family elders believe that she lived in Durban and owned a dress shop in Durban. Her name was Eleanor Adie, she died in the rearly 1970s, so this is a real long shot!


    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Geoff,
      Well this is a long shot reply. In the 1938 Directory only one Adie was listed in Durban. This was D. Adie who lived in 401 Buckingham Court which was on the corner of Smith and Farewell Streets. In the 1968 Directory there are two Adie entries. W.L. Adie living at 22 Sherwood which was a block of flats at 219 Davenport Road. Then there was Adie’s Store at 39 Northumberland Place Durban North. Not much to go on but it may be a start.

  4. T.J. van der Rest
    | Reply

    I also have fond memories of Durban. From the age of 12 (in the early fifties) I lived with my family in Pietermaritzburg. And for a good shopping spree we always went to Durban. I remember Greenacres, Payne Brothers and not in the least Stuttafords.
    And yes, tea at Greenacres, the Indian waiters wore gloves when serving! Does anyone remember the Three Monkeys tearoom near Nicols square parking garage? Also a favourite haunt of us and, not to forget, the fantastic cheese lunches at the Royal hotel!
    An absolute must. And then the Playhouse theatre opposite the City Hall, famous for it’s painted ceiling of a star studded night sky. Those were the days that it was safe for anyone to walk the streets of Durban. In the sixties when I got married, my husband and our two daughters used to go to the beachfront often on weekends. And I remember the kids having a great time on the beach as well as on the kiddie rides on the golden mile!
    Who remembers the Crazy Horse saloon in one of the beachfront hotels? We had many fantastic evenings there, enjoying the acts of well known performers from South Africa as well as abroad. Yes, those were the days.
    Since the late seventies we live in Europe, but have been back to R.S.A. on long holidays. The first time we visited Durban again, was in the mid nineties. We were horrified to see the changes. The once beautiful city centre had turned into a squalid third world place where robberies, muggings and worse, were common and would not even be mentioned on the frontpages!
    Shame on all the politicians who let this happen to this once wonderful place.
    We still come to South Africa on holidays, but limit our visits to the Eastern and Western Capes.
    Maybe one day….. (wishfull thinking I suppose).
    Thea and husband.

    • Paul

      Lived in Durban 1970 to end of 71. Can remember playing darts in all of the pubs on the front. My local was The Cumberland near Somtsue Rd – had 2 great barmen Neville and Norman who became friends,
      The Playhouse – actually went to its closing down night was nostalgia in every wall panel. I was told The Lady in White always called in for a drink on her way home. She was a legend. I worked for SARAH and was based on A Shed – Point Crane row. Just to say, once the sands touched the feet that was it.

  5. desmond savage
    | Reply

    we lived in durban for 2 years during the seventies, when i had a contract with a large printing company. we loved the place, we lived on madelaine road off florida road. in those days durban seemed to be a very atmospheric place with a very lively social life. greyville race track was a regular for us and the beach at marine parade beside blue waters hotel. my whole 2 years there i was very concious of the political situation and thought things would change eventually. i found south africans to be the most hospitable people and i developed a real affection for them and their country.
    2 years ago we went back for a nostalgia visit and found such a change, i agree that the centre of the city is now a wreck, shocking and dangerous. this time we stayed in florida gardens hotel on florida road and i got the impression that it was an oasis out of the city, the bad situation in the city centre will gradually engulf the whole place. i hope all the young people get out before it is too late

  6. David Chamberss
    | Reply

    I lived in Durban 1975/6 for a year and a half having arrived on a ship of the Union castle line via southampton Madeira LasPalmas CapeTown P.E EasstLondon Durban. Working briefly for Safmarine then SA Railways finaly the best days of my life in Durban Fire service and Ambulance service too as both tasks are carried by fireman back in day. I WAS ALWAYS SO VERY TAKEN by how friendly Durban people were and of how beautiful Durban city was particularly its rich Colonial architecture appeared every one looked. News of its decline saddens me. To answer one man’s enquiry as to the name of the hotelabove the Chuckwagon – it was the Plaza. I even recall the name of the LOVELY bar maid Carole Dewit. The moment I disembarked from the Windsor castle I knew Durban was for me. Late nights at the plaza bar and the Crazy horse saloon and all in such splendid sunshine and an environment long gone now will live long in my heart and mind. I think of Durban often and the wonderful friends I had , Wish you were here. Dave Chambers.

  7. Andrew Jackson
    | Reply

    Hi Allan
    I was very interested to read the comments from your earlier contributers to FAD. I lived and worked in Durban between 1982 and 85 and although I never had the opportunity to make use of the operating retail or tea room facilities , worked as one of the the project architects on the rehabilitating of the Harvey Greenacre Building. Regretably it wasn’t feasible to save the building interiors and structure (as these were structurally not viable for modern retailing and a fire hazard) we did manage to save, renovate and integrate the Victorian fascade into the then new Edgars and Checkers retail and supermarket chain outlets: This was as part of the Durban Municipality planning conditions and building owners design brief. I am currently preparing a case study on the Greenacre building for my RIBA Conservation accreditation and do have some old (early 20th Century) and post renovation, photographs of the exterior and interior, which I would be happy to post onto your site if you consider this useful? Any further details about the early use and significance of this lovely old building to the citizens of Durban would be much appreciated . Many thanks.
    Kind Regards
    Andrew Jackson
    Previously of SKM Architects Durban , now living in the UK

    • Tracey Vieira

      Hi Andrew I would love to see the pictures of the interior of the Greenacres building. My gran used to work there and I would love to take a trip down memory lane! Thank you Tracey

  8. Sandy Raubenheimer
    | Reply

    It is wonderful reading all the above about the glorious old Durban days. I grew up in Eshowe and every 6 months or so my mother would take my sister and I on a shopping spree to Durban. We always started off with a sandwich at the Three Monkeys. This was in the late 60’s. Then endless shopping … Durban was vibrant, glamorous and safe.
    The streets were spotless and not a street vendor in sight!
    Lunch was either at Stuttafords or Payne Bros. My older sister would normally stomp off if a huff as she could never find anything so I would troop off with mum and set a time to meet “under the Stuttafords clock”. That is all that is recognizable today .
    Beautiful models parading on the ramp in the Payne Bros or was it Garlicks lunch restaurant . Real silverware. Powder rooms…elegance ..
    My daughter recently worked at a well known bank in the middle of town and I would fetch her at least once a week for lunch I would say “let me get you out of Nigeria for an hour!” Durban city centre is a disgrace. It has degenerated into the most horrendous and filthy, crime ridden , taxi infested , squalid city imaginable.
    Shame on the government and city municipality !

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Sandy,
      Any relation to the Raubenheimers that owned Shotover Tearoom in Hospital Road near the beachfront? And Helena Streek from Eshowe who went to school at Oakford Priory?
      The pavements in Durban were clean because they were hosed down regularly in the dead of night. If you revelled late into the night you would see the teams scrubbing the pavements with brooms with water fed from the fire hydrants.
      I think I am right in saying there was no Garlicks in Durban in the 60s. Are you not thinking of Greenacres which also had models parading new fashions in their tea lounge? Stuttafords became Garlicks in the 70s when the main shops started being taken over by the mega groups, such as Greatermans. I recall Anstey’s shop becoming an extension of Paynes .
      Those days are gone for ever. Be glad you were there to enjoy them when you did.

  9. clare blatchford
    | Reply

    I grew up in Maritzburg, but from adolescence onward I found Durban a more challenging city, and finally lived there for 20 years from the late ’50s. Its flowering trees and tropical vegetation make it a delight, and its mixture of Indian, Zulu and Western cultures add to its diversity and colourfulness. What about the Botanical Gardens, with the Orchid House and the beautiful Lotus lilies – heads above the pond with its bird-life and fish. These things largely remain, even if the character of the town itself has changed. (After all, Durban is still Africa, though we parochial white Durbanites didn’t always know it.) I was at the university there in the ’70s, and a Canadian friend who was also teaching at the university said that the politics of the university in its opposition to Apartheid, made it the most interesting university in the world. It was focus of the government’s attention. Does anyone remember Rick Turner, for instance, who was shot dead, presumably by BOSS representatives?

  10. Jimmy Street
    | Reply

    My recollections of Durban in the early eighties are fond ones, the London Town Pub, the Navy Club, the Belgica, the Smugglers, the Diamond Circle, the Killarney, the One Rander and so on and so forth. I worked in Maydon Wharf at Armadah Shipyards with a large contingent of Ulstermen headed by Bill Sinclair. Many an afternoon was spent lying in the Rachel Findlayson Swimming Pool. The ladies were very special too!

  11. maureen
    | Reply

    I grew up in Durban in the 60’s and 70’s I also worked at the Mayfair hairdressing salon on the 3rd floor of Payne brothers. Yes those were the days of glamour and opulence, woman coming in having their hair done then leaving looking gorgeous. I remember the wooden escalators in Payne brothers and the hub, how excited I was going up them as a young girl especially when I got a “lucky dip”. Gloria was the receptionist of the hair salon, my memories of her was she would always be immaculate with thick red hair placed high on her head and a perfect manicure, with the manicurist being Lynn. Does anyone remember this salon?

    • Wendy

      I think that you used to do my hair way back in those days.

  12. Brenton Boshoff
    | Reply

    Track and Trestle – Salisbury Arcade in Durban

    Hi there!

    In the late eighties & throughout the nineties I use to frequently visit the Track and Trestle Hobby Shop in Salisbury Arcade, Durban. It use to be a wonderful place and I use to spend hours in there looking through all the amazing models they had. It was a hobbyist paradise – then one day I heard the shop’s owner, Carl, passed away and Track and Trestle was no more. It was such a shock! Thereafter I never saw Salisbury Arcade again until about two years ago when I had to go into the Durban CBD for a meeting. I took the opportunity to walk through Salisbury Arcade after all these years. Salisbury Arcade had nothing left of its former glory, but I could still make out the ‘Track and Trestle’ words now embossed in the paint on the wall, below the shop’s window. At that moment, I felt such a heavy feeling of sadness and nostalgia overcome me. My thoughts went out to Carl again and I wondered what ever happened to him. I mean, I know he passed away, but how did he die? What happened to him? It has always troubled me, because he was always the picture of health and then one day I hear he is dead. Track and Trestle, along with the memory of Carl always busy in his shop, makes up some of my happiest memories I had as a teenager right up to my young adulthood. I don’t want to forget about Track and Trestle or Carl and I guess many more can testify of the happy memories in Carl’s hobby shop; so for me to get some ‘closure’, I would really like to know what happened to Carl.

    Can someone maybe shed some light on the subject for me? I would really like to know…

    Many thanks!

    Brenton Boshoff

    • Bruce Ritch

      Hi Brenton, I knew Carl when we both had worked at Redgwoods Toyland in Hooper lane. When he passed away, his wife told me that he had taken his own life. Very sad. He must have been terribly depressed. God bless him and his family.

  13. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Brenton I have emailed you personally.

  14. Marc Prange
    | Reply

    Hi Uncle Gerald..I was having a moment thinking of the wonderful Durban I once knew, which led me to this site. It’s a shame that they are just memories. I’ll pop in for a visit one Saturday.

  15. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Marc,
    I will be waiting for you!! Yes your Mom and Dad and I grew up in a different Durban to what it is today. By and large it has modernised and changed in many respects but there is no doubt it was a different Durban in our time. Just one small example. As you know your Mom and Gran could not drive but they quite happily got on with life getting about using the efficient bus system that existed then. Why your Mom even had a bus stop outside her house! I wonder how many other families depended on the bus service on a daily basis? That does not exist today.
    I hope you enjoy reading FAD as it is really worthwhile to record the past for others to read in the future.

  16. Ron Sealey
    | Reply

    Hi lived and worked in Durban from 67 till 76 was compare in the Crazy Horse and the Red Garter clubs both owned by the Gooderson family also the Drakensberg Gardens Hotel a great period to live there, the Crazy Horse was in the Beach hotel end the Red Garter upstairs in the Lonsdale Hotel also used to appear in the Blue Waters Hotel Durban was great in those days

    • Marius Venter

      Hi Ron . Do you remember a young woman doing an Eastern Dance at the Lonsdale in 1972. Her stage name was Elisheba . She was Paddy Lambert and stayed at the Lonsdale. Danced mostly at ‘The Red Garter’ , occasionally at ‘The Crazy horse’. She was a young divorced mother with a 4 year old little boy.
      Apparently she was quite a sensation at the time with her Eastern dance at The Lonsdale and also did a show at Pool Deck after Sunday lunch. She Danced at the Lonsdale for quite a few months ,starting in February 1972. If you remember her, I will let you know why the interest. Marius Venter. Port Elizabeth. 13/02/2018.(There was quite a big write-up on her in the Sunday Tribune towards the end of February 1972).

    • Marius Pieter Venter

      Hi Ron . If this reply of mine gets to you I would really like a response. I will explain: Paddy (Elisheba) apparently caused a sensation with her Eastern Dance. Adverts like : “The fantastic Elisheba, demonstrating the Eastern Dance” . Towards the end of February 1972, there was a big article in the Sunday Tribune: “Now the ‘non-strip’ comes dancing into fashion. And dancer Sheba shows less than those beach bikini girls.” She ends each performance that she does in a full bra and bikini pants. (also a picture in her bikini – sexy for sure, but a bikini nevertheless.)

      Well she continued her cabaret work for the whole of 1972 and 1973 and Early 1974 when she did a show with Richard Loring at Smugglers. Each with their own show obviously. Advertised as: Cabaret 1974 . Dancer Elisheba & Man of Stage and screen, Richard Loring..

      Shortly afterwards she had to stop the cabaret work as her son started school and she needed to work different hours She worked right through 1974 at a dolphin show at the beachfront which moved to Cape Town end of 1974.

      In 1975 she became a Ballroom and Latin American dance Teacher at Arthurs Murray’s in Durban quickly getting her teachers diploma and Advanced teachers diploma with honours. In 1976 she and her professional dance partner became the “Arthur Murray’s professional dancers and teachers champions of South Africa. I met her in 1976, it was a lighting and magnetic attraction between the 2 of us and we were married on 12/02/1977 in a beautiful small Church in Durban. I adopted her son. She was now Mrs Paddy Venter for the rest of her life and her son also took my surname – he became like my own son and we had a daughter later. We stayed on in Durban and Paddy stayed in the dancing business and I worked also (I am a medical doctor) until we moved to Port Elizabeth in January 1979, where I worked as a General practitioner and Paddy ‘retired’ being mostly involved with the children. Sadly Paddy suddenly became ill in late 2017 and passed away (aged 68 and a half) almost to the day of our 41st Wedding Anniversary.(Passed away 10/02/2018, 2 days before our 41st anniversary.

      We had a wonderful marriage – we collected antiques, travelled all over South Africa, and went on several overseas holidays and danced socially very regularly until well into our sixties and just in general had a wonderful 41 years together. I have actually decided to write a book on our life story, so Any info regarding Paddy’s early days would really be helpful for me .

      So ,at the time : Paddy Lambert (ELISHEBA), eastern dancer who danced mostly at the Red Garter During February, March & April 1972 (Perhaps a bit into May too).

      Kind Regards – Dr Marius Venter (0789150997) and

    • Allan Jackson

      Hi Marius
      I’d recommend you post your question on our Facebook page as well. There are a lot of members and you might learn something there:

  17. Andrew Ogilvie
    | Reply

    Cry the beloved city…

  18. Nicky Haskell
    | Reply

    I was born in Johannesburg and moved to Durban in the early 80’s. Can anyone tell me where the roller rink was and I vividly remember watching Ghostbusters at a cinema, not too far from the sea which also had an ice rink at the back of the premises. Very fond memories. Thanks

    • Dale Mann

      That cinema was the Ocean City. It was huge!

  19. Glynis
    | Reply

    I remember in the seventies we use to go to all these club there was Port ‘o Call. Fathers Moustache, Cat’s Whiskers, Elcastillen, in Mayfair Hotel there was the band side and disco side there was Sneaky Pete’s, Swingles there was The Plaza Hotel in Russell Street, Millionaires at the top of beach front Hotel Maharani that used to stay open till 4 in the morning. Then afterwards off to the Nest and Cuban Hat to have something to eat.

  20. Sue
    | Reply

    Oh my! Does anybody remember the clock with the wooden figures that would appear out of the doors on the hour?? As a child, I assumed they would come out just for me. I think it was the Green Acres building, or just along from it. Wondered if it was original to the building or when it was added. Can anybody else recall this feature?



  21. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Sue,
    Quite correct. It was the Greenacres Building West Street side, and a wooden figure would come out on the hour from two shutter doors which opened and the figure emerged. If I recall it was a single figure and trying to recall whether it was a man in some military uniform. Naval perhaps. There was no clock face attached to this feature as in my time there was a big circular double faced clock on a wrought iron bracket attached to the pavement roofing and it could be seen from the road or the pavement. I recall my mother would always say “Meet me at the Greenacres clock” if I had to meet her in town. Original to the building? No idea nor when it was initiated.

  22. Graham Lonsdale
    | Reply

    Henry Diffenthal (1925-2016)
    I was a script writer for Henry Diffenthal, of Olympia Recording and Film Studios in Broad Street, Durban, during the 1970s and early 1980s. Henry produced a wide variety of programmes for Springbok Radio.
    Over the intervening years I had been in occasional telephone contact with him but had not seen him for over 30-years. I heard recently that he had died in Durban at the age of 91.
    It was always a pleasure to discuss projects with him, in the knowledge that he was a consummate professional in producing radio plays, series and serials. I had the pleasure of writing hundreds of scripts for him, including two serials (The Inheritors, and The Omen of Ravens) and substantial contributions to his High Adventure series, as well as various other radio shows he produced including Radio Theatre, Lux Radio Theatre, Radio Playhouse (he also produced episodes of Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday Theatres) and Suspense. Before my time with Olympia I believe Henry was involved with Herrick Merrill Studios in productions of Address Unknown, Pick a Box, and No Place to Hide.
    It was always a rewarding experience to be associated with Henry the director, and with Yoland D’Hotman who produced many of his programmes. Henry was not only meticulous in his production endeavours but was also scrupulous in his business dealings with me.
    In respect to Henry’s exacting standards for sound effects, I recall an occasion when he and his wife, Suzanne Atwill, who was an actress and singer, were searching for just the right sound to accompany a film Henry was producing which involved a certain beetle eating or perhaps cutting a particular leaf. Among the methods they tried was the careful, patient crunching of a potato crisp. I don’t know if that was eventually the sound used but it demonstrated the imaginative lengths to which Henry would go to make something sound right. In addition to his professional skills he was, I thought, a walking encyclopaedia of the Springbok Radio community and productions in Durban. On more than one occasion I was astounded by his overall detailed recall of the radio industry’s characters and events.
    There was a very high level of professionalism in Henry’s stable of actors, all of whom I believe were Durban based. Sometimes there was a comparatively large cast in a serial. There were altogether15 actors in The Inheritors (set at “Abenzanzi” in the misty hills of Natal) who brought the story to life each week day for 168 episodes.
    They were (alphabetically): Bella Mariani, Caroline Smart, Don Ridgeway, Greta Simons, Harold Freed, John Simpson, Lorna Cowel, Margaret Milner-Smythe, Maureen Adair, Roger Service, Stephen Barden, Stuart Parker, Suzanne Atwill, Tim Sutcliffe, and Tom Read. Others in the cast, who played incidental voices from time to time, included: Deon van Zyl, John Kingley, Lilian da Silva, Michael Swinton, Midge Doherty, Pamela Perry, Roy Holshausen, Stephen Gurney and Reg Richards.
    As far as I am aware, further radio actors who appeared for Olympia Recording and Film Studios included (I apologise for any names I may have omitted): Anne Freed, Cecil Northcote, Dacia Charlsty, David Smith, Frank Graham, Glynn Day, Ian Calder, Ivor Kisson, James Irwin, Jill Fenson, John Hayter, Ken Baker, Merle Wayne, Mervin Johns, Mike McGovern, and Peter Lee Hunt.
    These exceptional radio actors belonged to a profession that was lost when Springbok Radio was discontinued in 1985. During a golden age of radio comedy and drama they had performed with a polished expertise, successfully interpreting diverse characters by using only their voices. I feel sure that they, and the inimitable Henry Diffenthal, are fondly remembered by a wide but now aging former radio audience.
    -Graham Lonsdale

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Graham
      Your post was interesting and I was not aware that Olympia Recording and Film Studios were based in Broad Street. The names you mention all reminded me of when radio was really entertaining. Springbok Radio did not have that long a life starting on 1st May 1950 and ending in 1985. Lux Radio Theatre if I recall was on Wednesday evenings at 8 pm and sponsored by Lever Brothers (now Unilever) the makers of LUX toilet soap. The name Henry Diffenthal was often mentioned as was Yolande D’Hotman. I have a commemorative brochure with lots of pictures which was compiled to celebrate Spring Radio’s 21st birthday in 1971. Henry Diffenthal is amongst them. I will scan the page and add it to this post in due course. In the mean time this photo may be of interest taken from the book.
      Men from the Ministry

  23. Fiona Tucker
    | Reply

    I love reading all these posts, a nice nostalgic trip. Who remembers Shirleen Gilbert’s record shop in the top end of West St ( I think ), up a flight of stairs? I bought all my classical LP’s there. And the Amon Bilmark violin shop in Albany Grove? He sold me my first guitar which was handmade! Stupid me sold it some years later for a Yamaha…when I think of it now? Pure madness of youth. We all played folk music in the 60’s and now when I ask students if they play a instrument they look at me as if I’m bonkers…sigh, the good old days!

  24. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Fiona,
    I had never known that there was a violin maker here in Durban. Quite an art. I looked up the 1938 Durban Directory to see if Mr Bilmark was in Durban then. He was. Listed as violin maker and repairs but then had his business in Cuthberts Building 365 West St. Whereas I knew Albany Grove as being the “arts centre” in the 50s and 60s, Cuthberts Building was the arts centre then as a lot of syncopation and pianoforte teachers were based there as well elocution, violin and singing. I note Mis Mavis Wayne worked in the building later moving to Albany Grove. Amon Bilmark was on the second floor of what appears to have been a 4 storey building. Amon lived in Shirley Road then which is a short road off Muthaiga Place which is off Manning Road opposite Bulwer Park. Interesting.

    • Paul

      Hello Gerald. Only just found this site and loving it. Lived in Durban 1970 to end of 1971 and worked for SARAH on the docks at A Shed – POINT (opposite the Smuggies). Anyway just seen ‘The Men from the Ministry’ photo – Roger Service. I don’t know if you were aware but he owned the very low budget ‘Berea Lido’ in the hills and he also owned The Oceanic near The Cumberland.

  25. Mike
    | Reply

    We thought this comment by Mike was worthy of it’s own post. [Editor] It has been moved to:

  26. Sean Powell
    | Reply

    My mom worked as a beautician at Greenacres for many years. As a young boy my biggest treat was to have the ice cream served in a ‘silver’ bowl by my favorite waiter Morgan. My mom would add a little coffee for me. I loved growing up in Durban 1963 to 1984 were wonderful times.

  27. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Arthur Gammage has been involved with trying to establish where the location of the Electric Theatre was, one of Durban’s firsts which was located at the bottom end of West Street. Its location appears to be where the present Beach Hotel is and as far as can be ascertained stood where a ladies Boutique shop called ZUT was situated in the 1970s. Arthur has sent me two photos of two advertising display panels. Dennis and Co was a man’s clothing shop with its main branch in West Street in the CBD. I seem to vaguely recall that the owner of Zut was tragically murdered in the shop in the early 1990s. Can anyone recall this sad incident?
    In the picture in the background is the entrance to the old Aquarium now demolished. I also seem to recall that the Dennis shop had a stairway leading down to a downstairs extension of the shop. In later years this corner was redeveloped with the Dennis shop becoming a pub with above it being an open air verandah.

    Zut Boutique Sign
    Dennis Beach Branch

    • Allan Jackson

      Didn’t the downstairs area of Dennis become the Cockney Pride?

  28. Stuart Currie
    | Reply

    Hi to all.
    I’m going to find and upload some Durban pictures from 1970.
    My frather worked for global marine oil company. I attended addington primary school
    When it was on the beach front i was 10 years old. Durban was a great place to live , i was there 1970 to 1971. Love to here from anyone.

    Best regards

    • Allan Jackson

      I have mailed Stu and asked him to send me the pictures and I’ll upload them on their own page.

  29. Bev welsh
    | Reply

    Anyone remember the disco under the beach hotel the interior was all glass and had phone on the tables around 70 s

  30. Ella
    | Reply

    I visited Durban in the late 70s when I was a young child. I remember seeing a metal roller coaster on the seafront, which weaved through an amusement park. I was intrigued by it because I hadn’t seen anything like it before.

    It was a small roller coaster and the trains were perhaps just one or two cars joined together, but it looked scary nonetheless. My parents wouldn’t let me ride it.

    It’s quite frustrating. I can’t find any photos of it on the Internet.

  31. Graham Walker
    | Reply

    Gosh a trip down memory lane…I attended high school on the Bluff in Durban and Varsity at Howard College. I remember going to the tempting fountain, the first Wimpy in Durban where your burger and chips were served on separate plates. Having a coke float as well for under 3s. The unlimited dinner at the Royal Hotel and wine at less than R1 per bottle. Of course as articled clerks we did not earn very much but R4.64 filled the tank of my car then. The Edenroc hotel (now an old age home) where Nick the barman could pour any cocktail. Celebrated becoming a CA(SA) there in 1977. Peter Chen at the Edward (best Chinese ever) and the pianist one would tip on the way in to get a nod and the tune of choice. Best public bar where Tiger was the barman. Heaven if you were invited to Country Club or the Durban Club by mates folks. Lots more to share!

    • Elsabe Jastrzebski

      Wow this brings back memories. Also grew up on the Bluff in the 1970s. Use to catch a bus to town. Huge library in the City Hall. Lovely public pool in town. Park to sit and wait for the bus opposite the City Hall. The Waverly Hotel with the verandah. Greenacres, Hub, OK bazaar, Stuttufords, Playhouse, movie houses……

  32. adele kieser
    | Reply

    Hi, wow found this website by mistake. I remember everything you guys are talking about.
    Born in Durban in 1955 lived in Ambassadors Court as a child. So many memories bought back. My folks both worked at the Hub and even at a young age I appreciated the architecture of Greenacres and Payne Bros etc. Lovely city altogether.
    Now something not as exciting and really not aethestically pleasing. My late father lived at the Park View Retirement hotel in Boscombe Terrace, North Beach. My adult sons have been trying to remember the name of the DONUT shop in the centre on corner of BrickHill and Bosccombe terrace. I think maybe in the Checkers centre. They remember a huge sign outside,. Not important stuff but extremely frustrating to all of us. I phoned some shops in the area as well as the Park View but seems like new staff that dont remember the area . If anyone can help stop our misery haha it would be very appreciated. Oooo and how we miss Durban Curry!!!! now living in Western Cape.

  33. Dale Man
    | Reply

    If it was in the mid 80s, they are probably thinking of “Just Donuts”?

  34. Anonymous
    | Reply

    I also found this site by accident! I was born in Durban in 1974 and grew up in Harris Crescent, just alongside the M3 (or possibly the N3). I was searching for ‘track and trestle’, which left me here. i used to go down to Salisbury Arcade with my dad during my model plane phase to speak with Carl, who introduced me to Hasegawa model kits way back in 1987. Before that i used to dig around Toy and Hobby on the ground and basement floor when the opportunity presented itself, which had a stellar collection of toys i could never seem to see enough of. I had a crazy dream a few nights ago about the ice cream shop on the beachfront promenade by the name of Carvel, which i don’t think i’ve thought of since it closed back in the eighties. I miss going to the sunrise chip ‘n ranch for a bunny or some genuine samosas now and then, as it’s not possible to find such things here. I haven’t been back since my folks died in 2015 but my sister lives just outside of Rosetta and still loves it there. I hope the country eventually manages to flourish as a lot of the people i know there are quite bitter about the situation as it has developed over the last twenty or so years. I have some fond memories of the city even though it was far too hot for me in hindsight. Travelling back there six years ago, a friend drove me along the coastline over the course of a day to show me what had changed in the 15 years since i had left. i feel lucky to have been able to grow up in such an unusual place with the family that i had.

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