Musgrave Centre

posted in: Mini Memories 39

My informant John Taylor wrote in with some memories of an earlier version of Musgrave Centre:

Hi Allan,

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.

Kind regards,
John Taylor

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.

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39 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi John
    Cannot say the Musgrave Centre was my turf so what I did was ask a close friend if she remembered it as it was in 1970 when she moved into a block of flats directly opposite. She remembers it as a one level, very simple centre with a single passage way with shops either side. All she remembers is a vegetable shop and Henwoods. She is not sure of the others but is definite there was no supermarket then as she recalls for daily supplies she made use of a tearoom which was close to the entrance. She seems to recall that it was revamped for the first time in the early 70s. An additional floor as well as the mezzanine floor now added. A supermarket outlet was now set up within the Centre. There were other revamps apparently and Adams Book Store opened a branch on the ground floor level some time in the early 90s. A cinema was included later. At the time of course Musgrave Road was dual direction.

    My memories are more of the area as our family GP had his rooms in a house in Silverton Road round the corner from the Centre. On the corner of Silverton and Musgrave was a ladies hairdresser, why do I remember the name Rolf Offermann? On the opposite corner was a pharmacy in a lovely art deco building which was called Lowry’s Corner. I think it is a protected building now. The building was bought by the Natal Building Society which was later taken over by BOE and was to become a Nedbank branch. Just up the road was the Holy Trinity Catholic Church which was opened in 1958 or 1959. My sister was married there in 1959 and my wife and I followed suit in 1970. In those days the Church frontage was directly off the pavement but sadly today access is completely fenced off. Further down the road towards Berea Road was the very upmarket Caister Hotel. ( The Caister Hotel was developed on the property called Caister House which was the home of Benjamin Greenacre of Harvey Greenacre fame. ) Some time in the 90s the hotel closed down and the whole complex became a retirement home retaining the name , The Caister Lodge. In this area as well was a fish and chip shop. A firm of lawyers bought one of the old homesteads virtually opposite the Caister (good thinking!) and operated their business from there. Also in the 90s, a big section of land on the corner of Musgrave and Berea Road was redeveloped as a medical centre, Musgrave Park, which stands today. I cannot recall what the name of the building was that stood on the site. The opposite corner was redeveloped in the mid 1960s with the building of Kinmont’s Canyon, Berea Road. On the corner of Berea Road and Musgrave was a very old, all brick, Congregational Church which I think was close to a 100 years old. The church was demolished to make space available for the service road which runs parallel to Berea Road and had to allow access to Musgrave Road and the roads further down. A modern design church was built and stands close to this corner and it may be the replacement Congregational Church . There is also a residential block if I recall. Allan Hannah will probably chime in as he lived in this area in the early 70s.

    Edit: I recall seeing a reference to the Musgrave Congregational Church in one of my late father in law’s scrap books. I found it in “1966” which gives a time line as to the reconstruction of Berea Road. Directly opposite this church is the Berea Presbyterian Church which still stands today on the other side of the freeway. As well in the area was St Thomas’s and St Olav’s. The Berea was so named by the missionary, Capt. Allan Gardiner and has a Biblical reference. The Voortrekkers knew the Berea as “Patathoogte”. All this from Place Names of Natal by Don Stayt 1971.

    24th October 2012
    There was an article on the Berea Congregational Church in the Sunday Tribune dated 14th October 2012. It gives a bit more history into the original church referred to above. I post it here.

    • Allan Hannah

      Hi Gerald
      Ding – dong! For whom the bell tolls!
      Musgrave, Essenwood, St. Thomas roads and many other smaller roads jog my memory as, in one way or another, I spent a lot of time in the area as a youngster and as a young man!
      I was lucky enough to be “consigned” to DHS, as a boarder, once I had completed my stint at a small primary school on the North Coast! From being a fairly big fish in a small pond I graduated to being a very small fish in a big pond!
      Unused to the rigours of boarding school I hated the place and the fact that my father had spent what little money he had to get me into a “good school” was the only good reason for “sticking it out”, so to say! However, that was “Third Form” ,Standard 7 to some, and by the time I got to Fourth Form ,JC year to some , I was starting to really enjoy being there!! By the time I matriculated I had developed a love for the place!!!
      So, over the 4 years there I got to know the area pretty well!
      I think that t was in 1958 that the LA neared completion and was billed as one of the most modern and affordable hotels!
      The article and the photo of the Rev. Frank Green brought back memories. He was the minister of the church in Harding before Durban and there were three children in the family, If my memory serves me correctly. Peter Green was at DHS with me and went on to University in PMB. Elisabeth married whilst the family was in Harding and the youngest daughter, Francis, is mentioned in the newspaper cutting.
      The Caister a grand old lady of a hotel in those days and I used to play social squash on one of their courts. Next door to the Caister, to the left of the hotel as you looked at it, was a a large fancy house and I have an idea it belonged to Donnellan family (of Donnellan. Rich – of the motor company).
      Again to the left is a block of flats called Southwold Mansions. This is where we lived as a young married couple with our first born, Paul. For this 2 bedroom, 1 bath, kitchen, lounge, front verandah a small back yard plus a double garage, albeit without any doors we paid the princely sum of around R30 per month. The block is still there, somewhat altered, but I thought that folk may be interested in the reasonable accommodation cost in those days!
      The new Catholic Church in Musgrave Road had just been built and on the opposite side of the road was the Clyde Butchery The owner of the Clyde Butchery was Ian Stewart and the individual items of the orders were wrapped in grease proof paper and the whole order was then wrapped in white or brown paper and then the parcel was tied up with string!!
      I think there may have been a pharmacy next door to the butchery?
      On the corner of St Thomas and Musgrave, diagonally opposite the Catholic Church is the Methodist Church and I think that the Minster was Rev Cantrell.
      The LA fast became a gathering point for mainly the younger folk and many a brew was consumed in the garden adjacent the pub! The pub itself was to the left of the building next to the car park and walkway to the hotel entrance. Generally the behaviour in the pub was pretty good but things were known to get a little rowdy from time to time!
      The next room, as you went down the walkway to reception was the nightclub where the well-known and popular John Drake Trio provided the musical entertainment in the evening. Initially this room was shut during the day on weekdays until evening time. I’m not sure when the music began and maybe Gerald can remember??
      Unusual, in those days, was the wild fig tree that encroached on the nightclub area and the motorised roof that could be retracted to give the patrons a direct view of the night sky!!! Open to correction, I think that this system fell into disuse when they found that it broke down and that the maintenance charges were exhorbitant! I only saw it working once!
      Don’t know if there are any items of interest in this mail!! Please let me know!

    • Allan Jackson

      Hi Allan
      Some great memories there, thanks. You mention the John Drake Trio and the venue with the extendable awnings. I actually have a couple of recordings of them with Mercia Love at that very same place and will hopefully get some samples up on the site, if I can get permission. I’ve also got a recorded interview with her that I need to write up.

    • Elizabeth Labuschagne (nee Joustra)

      My father was John Joustra the base player in the trio.
      I had no idea anyone had any recordings of my dad and would love to hear them.

      I hope this reaches you.


    • Sheila Mcfarlane

      Hi liza oh goodness what a memory. I frequented the night club often with John Drakes brother, Des. Mercia was the singer. Would love to hear the trio’s music, maybe it can go on u tube?
      Sheila (new Paton) McFarlane

    • Allan Jackson

      I replied to Sheila and Elizabeth directly.

    • Clare

      Hi Allan,
      I was interested to read your reference to the Donnellan family and wonder if anyone can give me a bit more information about this family and their business.
      I have been researching my great uncle who immigrated to S.A. in the early 1900s. Sadly he died in 1921 at the age of just 35. His friend BJ Donnellan had the unenviable task of notifying his family and tidying up his affairs. It turns out that BJ is Bernard Joseph Donnellan and he was born a drapers assistant in 1911 in Dublin, Ireland before immigrating to Johannesburg with my great uncle. If I have the correct individual, he certainly seems to have had great success from humble beginnings. I was always grateful to learn that he was there for my great uncle. My great uncle was the eldest of 10 children and by the time he was 22 both his parents had died. I like to think that himself and BJ looked out for each other!

    • Allan Hannah

      Hi Clare
      May need a little time on the research you need!
      I do remember Rory Donnellan, who was at DHS at the same time as myself and I recall that he was very much involved with show jumping and I think he went on to achieve high international honours in this field!
      I think that he had a brother who was at DHS at the time but who was a little younger!
      More when I have a little time to think about things!!

    • Richard Holmes

      I think that the Donnellan family had a very successful motor dealership – this from memory though.Was it called Donnellan Rich & Co?

    • Allan Hannah

      Hi Richard

      I think you are quite correct about Donnellan Rich & Co and the fact that they were motor car dealers!

      I see that Donnellan Perry have a dealership in Stanger but,other than phone them direct, I have no idea of their relationship with the Donnellans of Musgrave Road!

      Maybe there are some readers who lived, or schooled in the Musgrave Road area and are able to help Clare.

    • Clare

      Hi Allan and Richard,
      Thanks for your replies. I completely forgot that I posted a question here!
      I also noticed Donnellan Perry in Stanger. Perhaps there is a connection. Apart from the “fancy house”, BJ Donnellan appears to have made several trips to the UK and USA…always travelling first class! Nice to find someone from humble beginnings as a drapers assistant in Ireland emigrating to S.A. in 1914 and doing so well in life.

    • Rory Donnellan

      Yes, my grandparents owned the property adjoining Durban’s Caister Hotel – and yes Barnie Donnellan did do very well in the motor industry and then in property following very humble beginnings in Co. Roscommon, Ireland. My dad, Rory Donnellan, went to DHS, was captain of the South African showjumping team and a Rhodes scholar to Magdalen College, Oxford – from which he was nearly expelled for fighting in a duel. He enjoying playing polo at Shongweni before his untimely death in a mountain-climbing accident in the Drakensberg.

    • Jacqui Conradie

      Hi Rory, I’m Barnie’s great granddaughter. My grandmother was his daughter Noreen. I’m curious what your relationship is to Barnie? Jacqui Conradie

    • Michael Adrian Swart

      Indeed Rory, I remember your dad Rory well, he cut an impressive figure at the show jumping events at the old Rand Show. My sister Virginia Ann (born) Swart held him in high regard. I understand my grandfather BJ Donnellan was born in county Kerry, perhaps I’m mistaken. My mother Noreen Ethne Donnellan (Biddy) passed away in 2001, my sister (Ginny) and brother Anthony John Swart (Tony) are also with us no more. I am the youngest child of Biddy and Jan Swart and I live now in Fourways Johannesburg. My eldest daughter Jacqueline (now) Conradie of Bryanston recently blessed us with a grandson, Trent. How wonderful it is to hear all the old stories here.


      Rolf Offerman, if my memory serves me correctly was a hairdressing salon. correct me if I am wrong.

    • Allan Jackson

      I think you’re quite right Ruth.

  2. Ian Jackson
    | Reply

    Musgrave Centre
    I do recall Musgrave centre as boy around the early 1960s.I was caught stealing comics from the CNA and got into real trouble.Later on they did additions to the centre and they had offices on the 1st floor and some flats on the second floor.The Musgrave centre library was on the 1st floor.

  3. John Taylor
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald,
    Thanks for your input. The memory unfortunately becomes a bit fuzzy with age, but I now recall many of the places in Musgrave Road that you mention. Apart from the Caister Hotel, there was also the Osborne Hotel which is now the Musgrave Park medical centre that you described. A landmark in the area at the rear of Tinsley House along St. Thomas Road was the Los Angeles Hotel, or “LA” – I guess that most young people in the sixties, seventies, and eighties must have had a few drinks there! Sadly it has gone, turned (like the Caister) into a retirement home.

  4. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi John
    Yes who in the 60’s 70’s did not know the LA? At the time I was playing hockey for the Gongs Club which was one of the stronger clubs going then. Strangely enough in all the years it existed it never had a clubhouse yet it fielded about 4 or 5 teams every season and was known as one of the most “socially”minded teams in the league. Its members were extremely loyal. For training pre-season, we used Albert Park and then moved onto Queensmead. With no clubhouse we used the other clubs’ facilities at the drop of a hat, but the normal, taken for granted meeting place, was the LA. After practice, we all gathered there under the big fig (?) tree and sank a couple listening to John Drake and his Trio’s musical offerings. Lots of memories. The trouble with all this reminiscing is the scope gets wider and wider and further from the original topic. Quite right it was the Osborne Hotel on that corner.

  5. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    I have attached more information regarding the Berea Congregational Church below the newspaper article I previously submitted. See Musgrave Centre or Musgrave Update.

    • Penelope Lloyd

      What a terrific thread, thank you. When did Caister House become an hotel ? I think you said 1987 which I think is too late. I’m sure my parents used to go to smart company dinners there and always a big dress up ! But that would have been in the 60’s 70’s. I can’t find anything on line. I left Durban during the 60’s and this site is bringing back wonderful memories. My first political party meeting at the Norwegian Hall, also a party there while still at school with Dickie Loader and Graham Beggs .. LA hotel of course. 😱🌻🌟

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      HI Penelope
      I do not have a date when Caister House became the Caister Hotel. There is a note though that in 1986 there was a proposal that the site would be demolished to make way for a high rise building. This never came to pass and it would likely be the date or thereabouts that the Caister became an upmarket retirement home which it still is. In the 1938 Durban Directory it is listed as Caister House (Pty) Ltd and not included in the hotels so that is an indicator. In the 1957 Durban Directory it is listed as Caister Hotel so that is another marker. I do not have other precise dates.

  6. Warren Bank
    | Reply

    Musgrave Centre:
    I grew up in Morningside in the early 70’s and Musgrave Centre was an almost daily haunt. I remember a toy and hobby shop on the lower level, close to the Musgrave entrance. What was it called? Anyway, my mum used to buy me Letraset rub-down transfer books and Fuzzy Felts from there.
    I also remember that the Musgrave Rd entrance was flanked by a square archway-type structure that was covered in blueish mosaic tiles -does anyone else remember this? I would love to see photos of this.
    The Musgrave Library was wonderful – in school holidays ( I went to Montpelier Nursery School and then Sharona Junior School) a librarian would read out loud to all the assembled kids, who were sitting on the carpet -there must have been at least 50 of us. Although everyone loved hearing “Devils and Demons” it used to scare me, so I stopped going!!
    The next major revamp took place in the early 1980s -when it became “Nedbank Musgrave Centre” and further expanded, although no office tower was built as yet. I left Durban in 1985 and have lived in Jhb ever since. My frequent business trips to Durban are always pleasurable, although always tinged with a little sadness with fond memories of growing up in the best possible place to live!

  7. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Here is the first lot of information I have garnered from my new acquisition, the 1968 Larwrie’s Durban Directory. These were the tenants on the Ground and First Floor in what would have been the original Musgrave Centre. It was possibly a three storey building as 12 flats are associated with the building and these are numbered 201 to 212. The numbers given below are the suites.
    Ground Floor
    1 Henwoods
    2 Bird S. E. Conveyancer
    3 Past and Present Antiques
    4 Baby and Toddlers
    5/6 Centre Pharmacy
    7 Centre Delicatessen
    8/10 C.N.A.
    11 Musgrave Florists
    12 Musgrave Shoe Store
    13 Hobby Centre
    14 Musgrave Boutique
    15 Post Office
    16 Francis Frere Dry Cleaners
    17 Rodwyns Drapery
    18/19 Salon 23
    20 Do-Nut King
    21 Coxhead R.A. Watchmaker
    22 Musgrave Farm Gardens

    First Floor
    24 Dr Ron van der Horst M.D.
    25 Rudolph and Turnbull Estate Agents
    26 Oxygen Tonic Centre
    27 Cumberledge J & Co. Manufacturers’ Rep.
    28/30 Drs Raiken & Zaloumis Dentists
    32/34 Musgrave Municipal Library
    37 Drs Berkowitz & Katzeff
    38/39 Hawkins,Hawkins & Osborne Engineers
    40 Veary Mrs V. P.
    41 River and Sea Gabions
    42 Abbott Laboratories

    Now we need a photo of the original Musgrave Centre.

    • Wendy Bowman

      Dear All,
      I had an arty aunt named Doreen Weinberg who opened a shop of pretty things and called it Van Riebeeck Galleries. She would have art gallery openings and stocked vases and costume jewellery. It was the third or fourth shop on the left as you go in. This was when Musgrave Center was first opened. She would teach art on Saturday mornings in the upstairs area where the library later moved in.

      I had a very adventurous dog named Spot, and one day, on my way home from Maris Stella, I looked out of the bus window at Musgrave Center and there was Spot sniffing around the lawn in front ! I could not get off the bus so had an anxious wait until he scratched on the front door at about 5 p.m. at home on Cato Road. We all gave him a warm welcome – he had crossed three lanes of busy traffic on Berea Road, and seemed aware of the lights, or maybe just trotted behind someone else ! It was a very different Durban in those days, white by night (we are supposed to be apologetic about this) and so very safe. Thank you all for your correspondence. Wendy Bowma

  8. Cebo
    | Reply

    Hey there I am very interested in understanding where some of the names derived from one in specific would be musgrave does anyone know

    • Wendy Bowman

      I believe there was a Colonel Musgrave but dont know what he did.
      Wendy Bowman

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Wendy,
      Anthony Musgrave was Lieutenant-Governor of Natal in 1872.

  9. Neil Barnes
    | Reply

    I recall the Musgrave Centre well. My dad, Percy Barnes was transferred from East London at the end of 1963 as Controller of Customs at Durban. Of course, East London was a quiet place, so moving to Durban was a big thing for Dad.
    We spent the first 6 months of 1964 at Tinsley House. At that time, it was a boarding house, run by the Judkins family. I can only remember Moira Judkins and her sister ran it. Moira’s husband also ran a window cleaning business in Durban. I think he used to clean windows of high rise buildings in Durban. I had a room on the top floor overlooking the Catholic Church, which fascinated me. I remember watching the activities on Sundays. I recall the beautiful stained glass windows which caught my attention, and weddings on Saturday afternoons.
    My mom and dad attended the St Thomas, Methodist church on the corner of St Thomas and Musgrave roads, and I belonged to the Youth group there. Alan Kimber was our youth leader at that time, with Joe Brown another of the youth leaders. Mom used to go down to Musgrave Centre quite often. I can’t recall the shops there, although Henwoods rings a bell. I do remember the Natal Building society next door to the Centre. which I went into quite often. An old woman lived near the Musgrave Centre in a large double storied house and was reputed to own over 50 small dogs, she was quite well known for taking her dogs for walks along Musgrave road. Mom had a friend, Dorothy Instone who was a retired Nurse. Mom used to say, she had a ‘marble’ in her mouth, because she had a very British accent. Another friend of Mom’s was Lil Nielsen. Her husband was the port captain at the time. I recall the Caister Gardens Hotel across the road.
    My aunt Alma and uncle Eric Barnes lived at 290 St Thomas Road, opposite Durban High. I attended the school between 1964-1965. Ian McIver was the headmaster and lived in a big house across the road from the school.
    After we left Tinsley house, dad rented out the downstairs of 49 Vause road, owned by a Captain Cox. After that, I think it was in my matric year, mom and dad bought a duplex, down on the corner of Currie and Povall roads. This was called ‘Forburn Court’, named after a Mr. Burns who built the set of 3 duplexes. It was opposite the Full Gospel Church and once again Sunday mornings were quite busy times. I do recall an old man trying to turn his car in Currie road, and on one of those busy occasions, and bashing into the cars parked on either side of the road ! Forburn Court is still there and the area has remained virtually unchanged since that time. Although of course, Mansfield High has now become the Durban Institute for Technology, just around the corner. We shared the place there with Mark Bernstein, an engineer, and the Connot family whose daughter Kay was a ballet dancer. I would be interested if anyone remembers any of these people.
    I certainly remember the LA. It was quite a noisy place. Mom and dad were somewhat scandalized on an occasion when there was a fistfight in St Thomas road, outside the LA one Friday night. It was quite a spectacle for myself, being only 15. Any way after it was over, the contestants got up, dusted each other off and went back into the LA to continue their party. Later when I became a student, I recall visits to the LA myself. In fact I celebrated my 21st there.
    I also recall the building of the new Berea Road freeway. This must have been 1967-68. I was a geology student at the time and was fascinated by the deep excavation in the ‘Red sand’. My great excitement when I discovered a fossil shell in the side of the excavation!

  10. Wendy Bowman
    | Reply

    Now the finding of a fossil shell in the Berea Road diggings was VERY interesting. It could mean that the sea came right up the Berea – or some child dropped his or her sea shell in that spot a century earlier !
    Did you know that a slave trader’s chain mail was dug up next to Smith Street when the “new” Sanlam building (c.1969) was being built. It is in (or was in) the Local History Museum on Aliwal Street. I know because I accessioned it !
    Wendy Bowman

  11. Pat Thomson
    | Reply

    That whole block was originally owned by the Auerswald family the original house is still standing 59 Musgrave Road
    Pat Thomson

  12. Pierre Raubenheimer
    | Reply

    Hi everyone and thanks for all the memories of the Musgrave Centre precinct.

    I lived in Grovehurst Court (Hurst Grove opposite DHS) circa 1959 – 1960 and saw a lot of Musgrave Centre’s construction.
    I was in std 4 at Overport Primary school; I also remember the LA Hotel very well, which I think is now Tindley House?
    I was a junior member of the Methodist Church corner St Thomas and Musgrave roads –
    reference:Allan Hannah – you are absolutely correct about Rev Cantrell and funny thing is that in 1963 I was at high school in Bloemfontein (my dad’s firm sent him around a bit!!!) and lo and behold – who is our local Methodist minister?
    that’s right – Rev Cantrell !!! Funny how small the world really is.

    Anyways, it was great to stumble upon this blog – keep the memories coming guys and girls.

    Pierre Raubenheimer

  13. gerald buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Pierre
    Thanks for your comments. Sadly Allan Hannah is no longer with us. Tindley House is still on the corner and not sure if it is a residence hotel or not. It is not connected to your “LA Hotel” of old which was demolished some years ago and is now an upper class retirement home called Garden Grove.

  14. Rory Donnellan
    | Reply

    I’m Barnie Donnellan’s grandson by his second marriage to my grandmother Martha Donnellan. We currently have 7 children and are now living in Queensland, Australia. As a yougster I remember playing golf on the front lawn of Barnie’s Musgrave Road home. I believe that front lawn now has additional homes.

  15. Steven Norminton
    | Reply

    I have some memories of the 1980’s Musgrave. If I remember correctly the atrium was a series of 3 skylights with different panels of very 70’s colours. What is now the 3rd floor had what felt like a bridge from shops on the Essenwood Rd side to the Musgrave Rd side. Where Circus Circus is now was a Perm, but it was a sheer wall, no curves as it is now. I seem to remember orange or brown ceramic tiles with circles on them covering the wall.
    On the bottom level there was a King’s Sports on the left heading towards Musgrave Rd, with Henwood’s Hardware on the right. I always felt as if it was 2 shops joined together via a small arch – hardware (with a counter service) and then the homeware section (where you would breathe before being allowed to walk through.
    Art Leather was where The Welcome Chair is now. There was a small mezzanine (I think it was a stock room via a very steep staircase in the middle of the shop.
    I remember the old Welcome Chair upstairs down a passage that no longer exists. The design was rather clever and made it feel rather open. They had the best toasted buns ever. One of my favourite memories with my Gran. The pharmacy was opposite and ran on all 3 sides of the end of the passage around to the other passage (the one that still exists). There was one of those coin operated scales, along with one of those sculpted ladies money collecting thingies with the “broken leg” – community chest?
    CNA was opposite. They had a music bar on the right wall. I remember 3 big signs suspended from the ceiling at a 45 degree angle with perspex logos. When they moved upstairs, a simple goods elevator was installed to take a small trolley load up to their current location – where there photo lab occupied the entire rear right corner – a really large corner.
    I think it was Photo First which was where the health shop is now. Although it may have been a shop or 2 further down the passage – or perhaps it moved?
    The passage where CNA is now is obviously double volume. When the recent alterations were done to create the smaller CNA store etc, the old pillars with parking floor numbers were exposed.
    I remember the cinemas being added in 1992, or opening that year. The renovation included specific shop fronts that had a very “English” feel, including white lanterns, which were readily available at most shops at the time.
    Where KFC and Panarotti’s is now was where Perm moved to at some point. If I remember correctly Musica was on the other side. These moved to create the now defunct food hall. I also remember Nedbank prior to the recent renovations where it was at the top of the escalators from Pick ‘n Pay, but on the left (but accessed right the way around). The now closed Concept was on the right and what a designer store it was. It moved up a floor, but has since closed.
    But my earliest memory is driving into the Musgrave Rd side car park – the one just past the mall. Cars would be on a slight incline. I think it was an Allied Bank that we would go to?
    I have no idea of the home store that was on the Musgrave frontage where Woolies is now, but I remember 2 large white ceramic dogs.
    I remember the now removed lift and staircase next to the old position of Adams. It may have been The Professional Kitchen that Adam’s moved into? Beautiful store!
    And Biggie Best! I think it took over King’s Sports on the lower level. It was certainly the space of 2 stores, with an arch (perhaps removing brick walls was an issue?), but then moved up to around where Musica ended up on the 3rd floor.
    And the massive chandelier in Stuttafords? I remember it being huge! 2nd floor where Clicks and PnP Clothing is now.

  16. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Steven
    Thanks for that comprehensive retro memory of the Musgrave Centre. You must have gone there often.

  17. Rob Moorcraft
    | Reply

    I emigrated to SA in 1981 , and stayed at the Royden residential hotel on Musgrave Road .
    The Royden was next to the Catholic church and opposite the LA on Musgrave Road. I moved to the LA for the next few years and drank at the Sportsman – any one remember Fluffy – he always used to say he was 57
    a good bloke , a great hotel .

  18. Joel
    | Reply

    Does anyone remember another church located on Musgrave Rd, called perhaps the Durban Society of the New Jerusalem? It was sold off around 1970 and (I believe) torn down to expand parking for the Musgrave Centre. The congregation moved out to Westville at the time. The pastor was an American by the name of Dan Heinrichs.

  19. Adriana
    | Reply

    I spent many happy hours in Musgrave Library as a child, from 1966 to 1970 when we then moved out to Pinetown. A trip to the library was part of the Saturday morning routine. My weekly pocket money was spent at the Toy and Hobby shop, mostly on things like sets of glass beads and coloured felt.

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