North Ridge Road

Before we kick off with today’s contribution, Maurice Warren wanted to know if anyone had a picture of Smuggler’s Inn. Click the Contact button above and drop me a line.

And now, my informant Rodney Coyne, who has been busy in the comments section of the diary, has sent in these memories which are mainly of Morningside in the early 1950s. He wrote:                                                                           

Mainly about North Ridge Road 1950 – 1953

Perhaps I should start with a brief background regarding my connection with Durban. My mother’s surname was Bellengere. She was born in northern Natal at Dundee, I think (her parents were moving around a lot at that time). She was baptised at the Anglican church in Weenen and then again at St Thomas’s Church, Musgrave Road, Durban – remember, the Anglican Church at the time was still in turmoil after the split with Bishop Colenso. They lived somewhere near the Botanic Gardens when they arrived in Durban.

Her father was a qualified jeweller and he worked for a firm in the centre of Durban with a name something like Bartholemew or Bartholomai – I can’t recall it for sure right now, but the firm was still in existence a few years back in one of the lanes – it may have been Mercury Lane. Her father died when she was aged 12, and her mother, brother and sister moved to a new house in the developing suburb of Glenwood – I think the address of the house was 301 Cato Road. Her mother became blind after an eye operation in about 1950 and after that lived in various places, including with us at Durban North for a number of years. My mother’s brother inherited the Cato Road house and lived there until his death about 30 years ago.

My father was born in Pietermaritzburg where his father had a photographic studio. At some stage the family moved to Durban and lived near my maternal grandparents, so my mother had known my father for most of her life. I know that at one stage they lived in Cohen Avenue, lower Glenwood, and I gather that it was a family joke to be known as the Coynes of Cohen Avenue. After that, they moved to a substantial double storey house in Currie Road. My grandfather had his photographic studio in West Street. I think the building was called Marilling Mansions, near Dick King Street. He retired when World War II started and they moved to Graaff Reniet where he died in 1943, just before I was born. My paternal grandmother returned to Durban and lived in a private hotel in Florida Road, The Glamis Hotel.

I was born in Port Shepstone in 1943 where my father had Grosvenor Pharmacy. For some reason he decided to study optometry so we moved to England for 2 years returning to Port Shepstone in 1950. I don’t know the full story, but he somehow worked a swap of his pharmacy with that of a Mr Doyle which was in Point Road, Durban. The pharmacy was straight opposite the end of Winder Street. When we first arrived in Durban, we lived in a private hotel in lower Florida Road – I think it was called the Florida Hotel. It later became the headquarters for the teachers union. At that time, I remember that trams still ran up Florida Road as far as the terminus just below Jameson Park. We often took the ride up to the top because I had an aunt and uncle and two cousins who lived in the upper part of Montpelier Road, and my (then blind) maternal grandmother lived in Gleneagles on the corner of Musgrave and Springfield Roads. My recollection about the trams may be partly wrong, because on checking I see that they ceased operations in 1949. But I definitely remember riding up in trams to the terminus at the top of Florida Road – perhaps the tram rides happened when I was younger and we were still living in Port Shepstone but just visiting Durban.

My parents bought a house called Jesmondene (I remember the name was in brass letters on the gate) at 93 North Ridge Road. It was a spacious single storey Victorian house on the inland side of North Ridge Road, on the corner of Rosebank Avenue. From the rear of the house we had a clear view of Table Mountain in the Valley of 1000 Hills. I remember it still had a chip geyser in the bathroom and it had to be lit about an hour before bath time. At some stage, an electric geyser was installed. I remember that a Mr Lello did the plumbing and an Indian gentleman who I only knew as Peter was responsible for painting and other odd jobs. The house had two palm trees in the front and a tall hedge of Brazil Cherries. The single garage was right on the road and looked straight down Ferndale Road. The land on one side of the house was undeveloped bush – a paradise for young boys. Some years after we left, The Church of the Nazarene built a church there.

On the other side of the house was a property with a small wood and iron house. A pleasant old lady, a Mrs Crouch or Cross I think her name was, lived there. I think that she was widowed. The next house belonged to a Mr and Mrs Perry. The Perry’s house was attached to the service station which Mr Perry owned. I remember that this was before the days of single- brand filling stations so one could choose which of several different brands of petrol you wanted to fill up with. Mrs Perry was a quite high ranking officer in the Red Cross. Between the garage and the next building was a steep lane. The next building was a double storey. I was told that it was owned by butchers who obviously had a sense of humour because the building was called ‘Chopleigh’. There were flats upstairs. I think the butchery on the ground floor was called Ralph, Pritchard and Swatton, and they had a small chain of butcheries in Durban. Opposite the Perry’s garage was Cambridge House. This was a girls’ home for orphans and girls from broken homes. Many of them attended Morningside Primary School further along the road, but I never paid them much attention because at that time I already had a girlfriend in the same road – the younger sister of my older brother’s closest friend, but nothing came of that youthful romance. Round about 1970, Cambridge House became an old age home.

I remember driving along North Ridge Road (ca. 1970) and seeing my former headmaster, Mr Percy Hardaker, standing at the bus stop opposite Cambridge House where he was then a resident. I gave him a lift to where he was going but I don’t think he really remembered me – I was not for any reason one of his more unforgettable pupils. At the crest of North Ridge Road was a very large double storey mansion. I do not ever remember seeing anyone there and to me it was a bit of a mystery house. Opposite this house on a roughly semicircular piece of land was the Durban headquarters of the radio police – their cars were known as scorpion cars because of the large aerial at the rear of the vehicle. The building was initially erected as the first radio station in Durban. One of my uncles (the same one who lived at 301 Cato Road) was an electrical engineer and he was supposed to have played an important part in setting up the station. The last time I went past it, the building had become the local headquarters for the Girl Guides.

Beyond that was North Ridge Road Primary School where I and my younger brother went to school. For some reason my older brother went to DPHS in Gordon Road. The headmaster at our school was a Mr Budde and his wife also taught there. While we were there the school changed its name to Morningside Primary School. Another noteworthy event while we were at this school was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. We each received a commemorative mug which I still have. My class teacher was a Miss Charlesty – I can’t remember her first name, but there were two Miss Charlestys, spinster sisters, both teachers at the same school. My mother, being a teacher herself, knew them both. They lived in Innes Road and their names were Valmay and Daisia. One of my other class teachers was a Mrs Nourse, wife of the (at that time) well-known Springbok cricketer Dudley Nourse. I remember that they lived in Cadogan Drive, Durban North, just opposite the newly built Northlands High School (That was before it split into separate schools for girls and boys). I had yet another aunt and uncle who lived a little further on in Cadogan Drive.

On a traffic island across the road from Morningside School was a sort of terminus for the trolley buses. Right across North Ridge Road from the school was the Valley View Store which was our local grocer shop and general dealer. Carrying straight on brought one to Burman Drive which was completely undeveloped except for the Boy Scout Camp about halfway down. Burman Drive was used occasionally for motor races as some older readers may recall. The main road veered to the right into Trematon Drive which led into Windermere Road and on to the central area. If one turned left at the Valley View Store one arrived at Puntan’s Hill. For some reason some, but not all, trolley buses went along the circular route round Puntan’s Hill and back to the main route. I remember that there used to be a Swale’s Dairy on Puntan’s Hill where we got our milk supply from. The owner was related to the war hero Edwin Swales V.C. We must have lived just about mid-way between their opposition in Rosebank Avenue. At the time I think it was called DCD – Durban Combined Dairies – and it was renamed Clover Dairies which is still in existence. The Rosebank Avenue dairy was taken over by the education department for the construction of Mitchell High – the school was originally situated near the Greyville racecourse. The school has since closed and the building is used for some other purpose now.

Getting back to 93 North Ridge Road, the house just about opposite on the corner of Ferndale Road (it may have been the second one from the corner) belonged to the Beares of Beares Furnishers. We never saw much of them, but I do remember that they had a chauffeur-driven Packard – one of the elderly boxy types which to me looked pretty much the same as a Rolls Royce.

Going along North Ridge Road towards the stairs leading up to Ridge Road there was a house called, I think, ‘Portcullis’ which overlooked the top end of Jameson Park. The house itself was nothing much to look at, but in any case it couldn’t be seen from the road. What was noticeable about the property was that the large steep bank in the front had been completely covered with rounded brown boulders cemented into place.

93 North Ridge Road was demolished many years ago, along with the little wood and iron house and the Perry’s house and Service Station and the whole site was redeveloped as a big up-to-date service station (I think it is now Engen).

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50 Responses

  1. Rodney Coyne
    | Reply

    My memory must have been playing tricks with me – thanks to Google Maps, I see that what used to be the butchery is now ‘pt sb showroom’ (whatever that is), and I see that the butcher owned block of flats ‘Chopleigh’ is a separate building just beyond.
    The boulders at ‘Portcullis’ are still there but nowhere near as daunting as they were to a 7 year old. I was told that the boulders were brought up by cart from the Umgeni River.

    • Peter

      Hi Rodney,
      there used to be a Coynes Pharmacy in the Point Road area in the 70’s or possibly before that. My company often bought medications from there for
      sailors and crewmen on the vessels that we handled. Would you be connected to this pharmacy in any way ?

    • Rodney Coyne

      No doubt it was – my father owned the pharmacy (previously Doyle’s Pharmacy) from 1950 -1953. He sold it to (Ithink) a Mr Nathan Levy who kept the name though the ownwership had changed by 1970. At some stage about 20 years ago it was merged with Sentinal Pharmacy in (again, I think) Smith Street.

    • Peter

      Hi Rodney,
      Many thanks for the info on the pharmacy. I remember going there at least 2 or 3 times a week. I think it was in Point Road near the Burger Ranch, opposite St James Hotel. I worked at African Coaling, the bright green building – 96 Point Road from 1970 – 1973, then we moved premises to 71 Winder St.

  2. Rodney Coyne
    | Reply

    Another P.S. this time about trams. It is quite possible that we returned to South Africa in the second half of 1949 and only moved to North Ridge Road in 1950, so my memory of going in the trams up Florida Road may be correct since they only stopped running on 2.8.1949 (according to Wikipedia)

  3. Jill Quinlan
    | Reply

    As a child and young adult I was always intrigued by the entrance to the Portcullis property in North Ridge Road, because one could see nothing more than the entrance. Some time ago (it might have been as long as twenty years ago ) I must have noticed some change because I drove up the driveway, just to the top of it. Whatever buildings had been there had been demolished and I have the idea that simplexes/duplexes were to be constructed there. Anyway it was now a construction site in its very early stages with no new buildings yet erected. But one intriguing thing remained: a notice to the effect that one should take care to close the gate lest the cows wandered. This suggests that Portcullis was once a dairy. Do you have any info about this? I would really appreciate it if you would let me know.
    Another property that intrigues me is 7 Gloucester Place in Durban North. In 2011 it was for sale for a while. The ad in the Property News referred to it a “historic”. Do you know anything about this?

  4. Rodney Coyne
    | Reply

    I am sorry to hear of the fate of Portcullis. Regarding 7 Gloucester Place I know nothing at all. Using Google Earth, it looks like a fairly typical house for the area with, as far as I can see, no particular architectural merit. It is possible that at some stage some notable person lived there. I would suggest that you contact the present occupants or the estate agent concerned for more information.

    • Jill Quinlan

      Thank you for the suggestion. Sorry to have taken so long to reply – I am still finding my way around FAD

  5. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Rodney
    Your North Ridge memoirs are interesting and as my late sister lived in Banfield Crescent I knew North Ridge Road as I used to travel along there to go and visit her and the family. To get to Banfield you travelled down Valley View Road. The trolley buses used to go down to Banfield Crescent where there was a timing stop and then return to North Ridge Road. My sister never learnt to drive but she had a bus stop right outside her place so the trolley bus service provided all her transport needs. It also was my bus route to get to work at the Overport Exchange as I used to catch the trolley bus at Sutton Park, travel along Windermere Rd into Trematon Drive, down to Earl Haig Rd past Mitchell GHS then past the Silverton Bowling Club (now demolished) back into North Ridge Rd and then get off at where the Overport Centre is today. I do recall the Engen Garage quite well as my brother-in- law always bought petrol there. I cannot recall the property called Portcullis and the Church of the Nazarene was that the one down Valley View Rd ?
    I did a bit of research in the 1938 Lawrie’s Directory and this is what I found.
    Mrs F. Bellengere 301 Cato Road Tel 48204.
    H.L. Bartholomai Jeweller 6/7 Anstey’s Bldg 382 West St. Tel 23036
    D.C. Coyne 275 Montpelier Rd. The only entry under Coyne. No Coynes in Cohen Ave.
    Doyles Pharmacy 496 Point Rd Tel 20480
    93 North Ridge Rd was owned by J.R. Harding
    Cambridge House is listed as Cambridge House Broadcasting Station. This is interesting!

    Then looking at the 1968 Lawrie’s Directory, 30 years later…
    R.H.T Bellengere 301 Cato Rd
    H.L. Bartholomai Manufacturing Jeweller 35 Yorkshire House cnr Smith & Field St.
    93 North Ridge Road not listed.
    Coynes Pharmacy 496 Point Road.

    • Rodney Coyne

      Thanks for your comments and research Gerald.

      Portcullis – as far as I can remember the house was quite a modest building, not actually visible from the street, probably built about 1900. What was noticable about the property was its boulder covered bank facing North Ridge Road. This can still be seen using Google Maps if you zoom in on 54 Peter Mokaba Road. The numbering must be wrong, because that side of the road should have odd numbers. Also, I don’t remember there having been any shrubbery – perhaps they are self-sown plants. It has been said that a picture is worth a 1000 words – does anyone know if there is an easy way to copy Google (Map) pictures? Or are they copyright? It would have been a lot more explanatory if I had simply been able to copy a picture of Portcullis accross to this site.

      Church of the Nazarene – I see using Google Maps again that the entrance is off Valley View Road. My memory on this may be faulty, but I seem to remember that the entrance originally was from a steep driveway off Rosebank Avenue.

      Mrs F. Bellengere & R.H.T Bellengere 301 Cato Road Tel 48204
      Florence Bellengere was my maternal grandmother and when she lost her sight around 1950 her son Reginald, took over the property. One other anecdote that I remember about my Uncle Reg was that during WW2 he was in the Royal Navy, being Commander Bellengere at the conclusion of the war.
      Apparently shortly after hostilities had ceased he met one of his former opponents who had commanded a U-Boat during the war. The German was interested that Uncle Reg was from Durban – he showed my uncle photographs that he had taken from his U-Boat inside Durban harbour. During the war the harbour entrance was protected by an anti-submarine mesh which could be lowered and raised to allow ships in and out so it was quite easy to enter or leave at the same time as a surface vessel. Although there were many tempting targets, he could not fire any torpedoes in the harbour because he would have then been trapped in the harbour.

      H.L. Bartholomai Jeweller – he seems to have moved about. The only time I recall seeing the business was when it was, I think, in Mercury Lane. It was next to or near what was once a well known business in Durban – Lerwill Pope, Bespoke Tailors. They used to have a regular advertisement something like :
      ‘There comes a time in the life of every gentleman when he has his first suit made by Lerwill Pope’. I never did get a suit made by him so perhaps I am a sub-standard gentleman. Getting back to H.L. Bartholomai Jeweller, a few years ago I was in the old established Longmarket Street Girl’s School in Pietermaritzburg. In a glass case in the foyer I noticed that several elaborate silver trophies had been presented by H.L. Bartholomai. I do not know whether this was because he had children at the school or if it was just astute advertising strategy. If Mr Bartholomai was of a philanthropic inclination, I wonder if he had also presented trophies to some of the older Durban schools.

      D.C. Coyne – this would have been my Uncle Denis. He worked for a shipping firm , Gundelfingers. His wife Isobel was a lecturer in Geography at Springfield Teacher Training College. By 1938, my paternal grandparents were probably in Graaff Reniet and father would have been in Harding.

      J.R. Harding – we may have bought the house from them, but do not remember.

      Cambridge House Broadcasting Station – this is also a bit of a puzzle to me. I wonder if they had the studios at Cambridge House and the transmission was done at what is now the Girl Guide headquarters.

      Doyles Pharmacy – as mentioned elsewhere, this became Coynes Pharmacy in 1950. This name was retained when my father sold it to Nathan Levy in 1953.

    • Mark Lowe

      Hello Gerald

      My late grandfather, Frank Lowe, built a wood and iron house at 7 Banfield Crescent, Pintan’s Hill, when he and his wife came out to South Africa in 1920 after surviving the First World War.

      They brought up four children (Iris, Arnold, Eric and Malcolm Lowe) there an he lived there until he died at the ripe old age of 97 in 1989. Two of his sons continued living on the property until their deaths – Arnold in 1998 and Malcolm in 2009.

      In 1992 they tore down the old house, which was in some disrepair after 70 odd years, and rebuilt a more modern structure that still stands to this day, with commanding views east ward, north and west.

      Any chance you or your sister and her family came across them?

  6. Richard Holmes
    | Reply


    If you have Windows 7 or up you will have a “snipping tool” – easy to use and saves your results as jpegs

    Google Maps/Streetviews are certainly copyrighted and doubtless zealously guarded.The odd snip will fall under the “Fair Use” rule though

  7. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Another vague memory of North Ridge Road having traversed it quite a few times is that there used to be a horse riding school on the corner just where the road is split by the dividing wall that still exists. The road is on two levels for a short distance up to Springfield. It could have been the corner Silver Palm Ave. and North Ridge, there is a robot in place today. The area has now been cleared and a park area been established. I seem to recall it was named “June’s Riding School” but this is open to correction. This is going back a long time ago so it needs some confirmation from those who knew the area.

    • Rodney Coyne

      I also recall the riding school near the north end of Ridge Road but did not mention it for fear of wandering too far off topic. As far as I can remember, it was then (early 50s) called the Muriel Higgs Riding School. I also remember being told that there was something noteworthy about Muriel Higgs, but what it was I don’t remember. Perhaps she was a Springbok rider (if there is such a thing).

    • Rodney Coyne

      And yes, if anyone else notices, I wonder if Muriel Higgs rode her springbok with a saddle or bareback?

    • Hazel Adams

      My sister , June Willcock and I rode at Muriel Higgs Riding School in the 60’s through to the early 70’s. We have some photos from our time of riding there. My mother, May Willcock helped her quite a lot from then and through to the end of the riding school and the end of Miss Higg’s life in Glenarvon, Moore road. Now Dec 2012, my mother has died and so I now have a box of correspondence and accounts from those days which is old and dusty but may be of interest to someone researching either Miss Higgs and Natal equestrian history.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Hazel
      Thanks for confirming the name of the riding school. If you are not averse to it and do not not mind it being on this site, send a couple of pictures and perhaps an account or two to Allan Jackson and he will get them on here. Just go to Contact us. Being a Moore Road “old Boy” and having travelled up and down for many years going to and coming from school, I recall Glenarvon being on the corner of Moore and Bulwer Roads. Later on the opposite corner a petrol station / garage was built. I also have a memory of a ladies’ hairdresser having a salon at street level in the building. I checked the 1968 Durban Directory and No 12a Glenarvon was C.H. Higgs. The Muriel Higgs Riding School is shown as 601 Ridge Road. I cannot find any reference to Muriel being a Springbok equestrian up until 1947. Glenarvon is still standing today; it does not appear in the 1938 directory so it was possibly a post war building.

  8. derek austin
    | Reply

    I have a picture of Smugglers, how do I upload it?

    • Allan Jackson

      Hi Derek
      Please just send it to me on e=mail and I’ll put it up gladly. See the contacts link on the menu bar above.

  9. Nigel Steggall
    | Reply

    I went to N/Ridge Rd. School in the mid-forties – headmaster was a ruddy-faced Mr. Fulton – His Daughter June was a Miss S.A. Ververt Monkeys were trapped around Burman Drive (Polio Research) and as Kids we released them. Monkeys crossed the road to drink from taps but NEVER learnt to switch them off ! Burman Drive Motor Racing was fantastic. I live in OZ but still miss Tekwini. Fruit was VERY abundant and free in those days !!! Tram Rides back to Terminus at Greyville was Fun especially when a stationary tram occasionally took off (Brake Failure) whilst Operators were at Shop for refreshments………Scared Kids used to leap off tram on to Grass banks………FUN DAYS !

  10. Jill Quinlan
    | Reply

    Does anyone know anything about a property called “Portcullis” in North Ridge Road not far from what is now Morningside Primary School?

    • Allan Jackson

      Hi Jill. The property has been mentioned a couple of times in the diary. Just use the search feature on the menu bar above.

  11. Rodney
    | Reply

    Portcullis is just about at the opposite end of North Ridge Road from Morningside Primary (and on the opposite site of the road). If you go to Google maps and zoom in on 54 Peter Mokaba Road you can still see the original boulder wall but I gather that the original house has now been replaced by a townhouse complex. I don’t know why Google refers the street number as being 54 – the numbers on that side of the road should be odd numbers. I cannot recall anything else about the property that I have not mentioned above.

  12. Ella
    | Reply

    Were Hazel Adams’ pictures of her and her sister riding at Murial Higgs’ riding school put on this website? I used to ride there in the 60’s and would love to see them.

    • Allan Jackson

      Hi Ella
      No, I didn’t get any of the pictures but will ask Hazel. They would be most interesting…

    • Hazel Adams

      Sorry , I’ve been away.

  13. Malcolm Wesson
    | Reply

    Ah Morningside memories. I attended Morningside Primary School from 1948 to 1955. I recall two name changes from the original North Ridge Road Government School to Morningside Government School to the now Morningside Primary School. My first Headmaster was Mr Fulton followed by Mr Coombe then Mr Budde and finally Mr Kidger. Teachers names I remember are Miss Tees, Mrs Irish, Miss Daisia (Dacia?) Charlsty, Mrs Coyne, Mrs Jones, Mr Meads and Miss Morgan.

    I travelled to school from Windermere Road in my first year by tram which ran up the centre of Trematon Drive for most of the way and stopped next to the water reservoir opposite the School. The driver and conductor would go to the rest room just up the road and have a cup of tea with Mrs ‘Van’ – the attendant who knitted and made tea. It was during such a time that I and my friend Pierre de Villiers were sitting upstairs in the tram waiting for it to leave. There was a ‘whoosh’ sound as the Westinghouse air brakes released and we were off downhill sans crew. Fortunately after the dip where Venice Road joins there is an uphill where the tram stopped and gently rolled back. Safe and sound but I would never again board a tram at this place until the driver was at his post.

    Nearly all the items, places etc mentioned above I remember well. Portcullis, Forbes’ Pharmacy, Swales’ Dairy, Valley View Supply Store, Puntan’s Hill (inhabited by Halls, Foleys et al), radio station then police station, Burman Bush, the ‘View’ (where Kensingston stands) where scores were settled with bare knuckles after school and, of course, Cambridge House home for girls. I could go on and on.

    Great years with Morningside/Stamford Hill etched in my mind as my stock or default image of Durban.

  14. georgina
    | Reply

    Hi, my family used to own the White house behind the bowling greens in this area. I would like to know if any one remembers The Thomas Family. My great gran owned the house, and for the likes of me I cant remember her name, but I remember being told Granny Thomas. Her daughter Thelma Thomas and her husband Cecil Thomas also lived in the house. My dad was Allan William Thomas. I have fond memories of this house. When my dad passed away the house was sold and unfortunately the house was changed drastically. They took a lot of the old look away…. very sad. I would be so happy if any one can remember the Thomas family as I am the only remaining Thomas. xxx My great gran use to go to the Church of Nazarene which was around the corner from their home.

    • Ian Varkevisser

      I have very fond memories of Cecil and Thelma who used to attend the Church of the Nazerene in Valley View Avenue , off Earl Haig Road. As I recall David Whitelaw was the minister there at the time and Cecil was quite the character. He is what may have been termed a backslider in their parlance. There house used to be in what I believe is Hopedene Grove, around where Earl Haig Road meets Springfield Road. It could be seen from Earl Haig Road.

    • georgina

      Hi Ian

      So glad to hear that someone out there as had contact with my Family. I thank you for your response and for helping me with the Roads name.

  15. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Georgina,
    You are not giving us much to work on. Do you have an address for the house ? Which bowling greens are you talking of? I remember the Church of the Nazarene being off Earl Haig Road down a steep road which cut through the valley to Valley View Road. The Church, if it’s the one we are talking of was / is down in the dip. I have a 1938 Durban Directory and looked up Thomas but there are quite a few entries so I would need an address for a start. You mention the “White” house. Is that reference to something particular about it?

    • georgina

      Hi Gerald, thank you so much for replying, Unfortunately I don’t have the street name but from the road you could see the house, there was one house next to it on the left, very old looking scary house. It always frightened me. I know Mitchell Girls High used to be around the corner but I think its a Technicon School now. I think there was also a T-Room around the corner. Sorry I always use to call it the White House. I remember a bowling green right in front of the house and the road up to the house was on the right hand side, just a one way up to the house. There where only two in this road. Thank you for trying to help me.

    • georgina

      hi sorry I think the roads name was Earl Haig Road

    • georgina

      Hi Gerald

      The road my family lived in was Hopedene Grove off Earl Haig Road. It was the last house in the road, which I remember was a short road. There where only two other houses in the road and facing the Bowling greens.

  16. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Georgina,
    I used to travel by trolley bus to and fro from work (Overport to Sutton Park) so I know Earl Haig (EH) Road from those years and here I am talking of early 1960s. The bus would turn left on the cnr of North Ridge Rd ( there was a block of flats called Chesslea on that corner) and then the bus would head downward. On this down slope on the right was Ridge View Lane, the Ridge View Bowling Club
    on the right with the greens sort of elevated in front of it. On the other side of Ridge View Lane were old houses rather dilapidated. If I recall approaching the bend at the bottom of the slope, on the left and the right were open unbuilt spaces. Round the corner now on the left were a few houses and then Mountain View Rd. The bus was now on the straight part of EH Rd heading for Mitchell High School. Before reaching the school on the right was a solitary house facing EH Rd which in later years was restyled. That house was owned by a sort of relation of mine. Their surname was Language. On the left were some houses and then Chadwick Rd and then the Rose Glen Centre also known as Haig Square. There was a tearoom here as well as some shops. Then Hendry Rd which led down to Brickfield Rd. On the other side of Hendry Rd was Mitchell GHS . Then came Cope Rd , a couple of other streets and then Valley View Ave and then up to North Ridge Rd where the bus turned left , headed for the terminus and then Trematon Drive. Opposite the Rose Glen centre, I would say about in the mid / late 70s some old houses were demolished and redeveloped for two Akal cousins who built new homes for themselves on adjoining plots. I am not sure if this memory of EH Rd helps at all. If you lived behind the bowling green, the road would have been Ridge View Lane and I looked this up in the 1938 Directory. The RidgeView Bowling Club was there then and the only house in Ridge View Lane was No. 11 J Craig. In the 1968 Directory, only one house is listed for Ridge View Lane, No. 27 J.A. Noot. The Ridge View Bowling Club is now listed as being in EH Rd.
    As you remember Mitchell GHS, that would be sometime after 1954 as my sister went to school there just when it opened in 1954.

    I cannot recall exactly when the Ridge View Bowling Club closed probably early 1990s but I recall the clubhouse and greens being demolished. I think the site has been redeveloped. I also recall that the Scouts put up a hall in or off EH Rd and it was called the J.E.T. Kimber Hall. Not sure if this rings a bell with anyone or if it still exists.

    I looked up Thomases in both ’38 and ’68 directories but no luck with any listed as living in this area. In your post you say ” …Granny Thomas. Her daughter Thelma Thomas and her husband Cecil Thomas also lived in the house.” Is this correct that Thelma and Cecil had the same surname or was that a slip?

    Do you live in Durban now as I think your next best bet would be to visit the Reference Library in town and have a look at other old Durban directories which may give you some clues. Not sure if all this helps at all.

  17. georgina
    | Reply

    Good morning Gerald. Sorry I got the family mixed up. Cecil And Thelma Thomas where step brother and sister, don’t know why they where married. My great gran also lived in the house, sadly passed away in her late nineties. Thelma continued to live in the house with my dad Allan William Thomas> Thelma did have an older Brother by the name of Wesley. My mom is giving me this information. Its quite confusing for me. They didn’t have children. Thelma did adopt a girl by the name of Adeline and Pauline. I remember Thelma used to work for John Ors in Musgrave Centre. That is all I know about my family. Very sad.

  18. georgina
    | Reply

    sorry and my late great gran fathers name was Graham Moxon Thomas

  19. Helene Griffiths
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    Has anyone got information or photographs about the diary in Durban North that was more or less on the corner of Cadogan and Northway?

  20. travis naidoo
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    Hi. can someone please tell me where i can find more history on thr chopleigh building on north ridge road. I want to gather all the history of the building and the surrounding area but not sure where to start. Any help would be greatly apprecited.

  21. Rodney Coyne
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    In my submission above I wrote:

    The next building was a double storey. I was told that it was owned by butchers who obviously had a sense of humour because the building was called ‘Chopleigh’. There were flats upstairs. I think the butchery on the ground floor was called Ralph, Pritchard and Swatton, and they had a small chain of butcheries in Durban.

    The double storey building on the corner of Forsyth Avenue was where the butchers were situated. it now seems to be occupied by a firm called Stuart Graham, but I know nothing about them. I incorrectly called this building ‘Chopleigh’. Chopleigh was the small block of flats erected next door by the firm of butchers
    Ralph, Pritchard and Swatton who as I said must have had a sense of humour in inventing the name. As far as I can recall, Chopleigh was under construction at about the same time that we moved to North ridge Road, i.e. about 1950 but I can remember nothing more about it. The butchery did have a flat above and I think that it was occupied by a family by the name of Peel.

  22. Gerald Buttigieg
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    Hi Rodney,
    The name “Chopleigh” is bugging me as it rings a bell yet I cannot place it. I used to travel along North Ridge Road to get to my late sister’s house in Manton Cressent. I used to turn down Valley View Road to get there. The trolley bus used to go down Valley View Road and end up in Manton Crescent which was a timing point. Manton Crescent was a “turning circle” so the bus could go back to North Ridge Road having turned round. I did a bit of research on 121 North Ridge Road which is the given address in the 1968 Dbn Directory of Chopleigh. However in the 1938 Directory, 121 North Ridge Road is not listed but 111 North Ridge Road is listed as North Ridge Road Butchery and the owner is O.E. Pritchard. At 117 North Ridge Road is North Ridge Dairy owner I.E. Davidson and the next entry is No. 133 so there must have been an expanse of undeveloped land between 117 and 133. Just to confuse the issue in the 1968 Dbn Directory North Ridge Butchery is listed as 111 North Ridge Road (same as in 1938!). I do not know if I am correct but I seem to recall Chopleigh having a plain facade with Chopleigh written in cursive at an angle across it. A black and white colour scheme also comes to mind.

  23. Rodney Coyne
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    I looked up Chopleigh on Google view :,31.0093643,3a,75y,289.43h,93.38t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sO9sGqyD2_xLJPT_vukqx8g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    It is not in fact right next door to what used to be the butchery – memory playing tricks again! But the name is as I remember it in concrete block letters above the main entrance.

  24. Rodney Coyne
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    If you look carefully the Google picture, you will see that the three windows to the right have a wavy wall beneath them. That solves for me the mystery of the missing balconies : The Chopleigh that I remember had balconies there, but they were presumably enclosed at some stage. I seem to remember that the wavy wall part of the balconies was painted a grass green.

  25. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Thanks for that Google map link. Once having looked at the picture it all came back. When I worked at Overport Telephone Exchange I had sold my first car and was saving for a new one so used to use the
    trolley bus from Sutton Park to Overport and vice versa daily. The trolley bus turned down at the corner where the garage is towards Earl Haig Road and then onto Ridge Road. The garage was an Engen one, my brother always filing up there. And yes the butcher shop was the shop with the covering over the pavement as I remember it. Were those windows showing the staircase at Chopleigh always there?

  26. Herman
    | Reply

    I am trying to trace the whereabouts of the Duncan family, 345 North Ridge Road. It belonged to a Dr Duncan, the eccentric old house was demolished much later and an Apartment block built on the site, now called Lady Jane. There were two daughters from the Duncan family, Rae and Jane Duncan. Dr Duncan was divorced later, I think. Please if anyone knows where I can contact any of them, would be appreciated.

    Herman Pretorius

  27. Derek Holland
    | Reply

    Have just come across this page which I have found most interesting. My father worked for Shell (at their laboratory on the Bluff) and went to work by bus and motor launch each day. This was from 1949 to 1954. During that time we lived at Ritz Hotel in Russell St (within a block of the Esplanade), Glamis Hotel in Florida Rd, Illingworth Hotel in Springfield Crescent, Speedwell Court in Innes Road, and finally in Palm Grove, Overport. Then back to Cape Town. In 1999 I emigrated to Australia.
    I started school at North Ridge Road School, and recall quite a few of the facts mentioned in these comments i.e. the change of name to Morningside Government School. My teachers were Miss Salberg, Miss Tees, Miss Twohy (sp?), and Mr Budde was the principal. I clearly recall the coronation celebration when we decorated our bikes with red, white and blue streamers, and the pupils went to the Play House cinema/bioscope in the city centre to see the film some time afterwards.
    The tram terminus opposite the school bring back memories, particularly the little room occupied by a lady who sold tickets, and boiled a kettle for her tea. The tram pantographs used to come off the overhead wires regularly with sparks flying, and the driver or conductor would extract a long rod from a cavity on the tram and manipulate them back onto the wires.
    A number of the male pupils each year left the school to go to DPHS which only started from Standard 2 (as I did myself) – a procedure regretted by Mr Budde.
    I can also remember that several of the pupils came from a childrens home close to where we lived in Palm Grove (I think it was in Ridge Road) – one at least was in my class.

    | Reply

    Hi Jill
    Great to hear about North Ridge Road
    With regards Portcullis which 33 North Ridge this property was owned by Mr Robin Birkett whom my Grand father Mr
    Veerasamy (John)Govender was the Estate manager from the 1920 up to the 1981 upon his death .Upon Mr Birketts death my granddad whom upheld his promise to look after the wife Vera Birkett as well as look after the property when she was away in England
    My dad was born on this property 1939.
    When I was born in 1971 I grew up on this great estate up to 1979.
    Getting back to your query ,this was a dairy farm that extended right to the bottom Roseglen .

  29. Glynis Ellens
    | Reply

    I went to Cambridge House – my parents had split. Also attended Morningside Junior school.

  30. Eleanor Sanders
    | Reply

    Came across this site by accident. I attended Morningside Govt School and remember The principal Mr. Budd. Miss Morgan and my class teacher Mrs Coynes
    who was my favourite as she presented me with a book on ballet for my birthday. I still have the book. I also attended the Church of the Nazarene. Rev. Whitelaw used to take me home with him some Sundays where his wife used to cook a fantastic roast. Am looking for information regarding the Bachelor girls club who used to run Cambridge house.

  31. G Ellens
    | Reply

    Thank you Eleanor. It was a long time ago. Sad memories ….

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