My informant John Taylor wrote in with some memories of an earlier version of Musgrave Centre:
It’s probably fair to say that Musgrave Centre in its original form was the first suburban shopping centre in Durban.
As I recall it was constructed in the late nineteen fifties, and I remember it reasonably well because my mother was the receptionist / nurse for the doctor’s consulting rooms on the first floor. Does anyone also have memories of the original Musgrave Centre (a far cry from what it is today!) or have photographs of it?
As I recall there was a Henwoods Hardware Store, a florist, a hobby shop, CNA, a liquor store, a shoe store, a Francis Freres dry cleaning depot, post office, and coffee shop on the ground floor. Up on the first floor there was a public library, doctors and dentists rooms, an oxygen clinic (whatever that was), the offices of a pharmaceutical company called Abbott Laboratories, and a restaurant called Chez Nous.
There were certainly a number of other shops that escape my memory. Unlike the Musgrave Centre of today that stretches all the way between Musgrave and Essenwood Roads, the original Musgrave Centre ended half way between the two, with the area adjoining Essenwood Road being an open tarred parking area.
I must confess that I don’t remember the centre from those days. Our family did do its grocery shopping at Gwilt’s Supermarket a little further up Musgrave Road towards St Thomas’ Road. It was more or less opposite the Catholic Church, if I remember correctly. As a small boy, I remember being fascinated by the fact that they sliced your bacon for you at the deli; the start of a lifelong devotion to cured pork.
Six years ago I posted a story, first published in Wings magazine in 1956, on Durban’s aviation history. It must have got lost in the shuffle when I moved the site to different web host, but I have now restored it to its rightful place.Share this: