Durban Round and About (1955 and Now)

 

Nothing beats a picture to recall old stamping grounds and though my memories are peculiar to me that does not mean that perhaps some of us in this passing parade, called life, did not move around in or know the same areas.  Recently I was down in Durban and had the opportunity to roam around the area I grew up in as a 12 year old. That was round about 1955 and my, how the area has changed. There is a topic about urban decay in Durban on FAD and I was astounded how down the area has become. When one does venture into the older central part of Durban, having known it when it was thriving and vibrant, what one comes across and sees is really sad.  Unfortunately there are no “before” photos to compare but for the record and before they are all pulled down and demolished here are photos and my memories of them. I know I am privileged in being able to post pictures personally but if you would like to do something similar then all you have to do is get your camera and go walkabout. Then send the pictures off to Allan Jackson along with some description and I am sure they will be posted for all to see and comment.

Hopefully you find these enlightening and not too depressing. With reference to names I am using the 1968 Lawrie’s Directory for information. I am tackling this piecemeal as there are about a dozen photos to cover and will add them as I go on.

The site of the Umbilo Road Pharmacy, Mazuri Supply Store and the ABC Bakery.

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Taken in Moore Road looking up to the Moore Road / Umbilo Road Intersection.

The tyre fitment business you see in the picture encompasses three business that existed there in the 50s. On the corner was the Umbilo Road Pharmacy with Mr. J. S. Tannahill, the pharmacist. The front door of the pharmacy was on the corner facing the intersection.  Next to the pharmacy was an old double storey building/ house that had an overlooking verandah. Below was the Mazuri Supply Store, in those days were you bought your groceries, whilst upstairs was the house were the two ladies who ran the business lived. The name is given as Mrs E. Grey. Then next door to Mazuri was the ABC Bakery which stretched from the supply store to half way down towards Gale Street. The bakery was run by the two Mendonides Brothers, one of whom was black haired, tall and thin and the other short and thick set with brown curly hair.  The bakery’s sales point was a small area, with a simple plain counter which opened out into the bakery itself.

A memory from those days. At school someone started a fad that if you got a cream called Blue Butter from the chemist and continually rubbed it on a penny, the coin would turn silver. Well I had to try it myself and recall going to the chemist and asking for the stuff which was sold in a small tin. I remember the chemist asking what I wanted it for and had to explain what the boys were doing with it.  He sold me the small tin and asked no further questions. I have googled “Blue Butter” and see now why I was given the 3rd degree.

The Alvin Suburban Cinema, lower Berea Road .

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Not many may have heard of this small suburban cinema but the actual building still exists but much changed and looking very dilapidated. The Alvin was a cinema with no gallery and a very raked floor. In fact it was so steep that as soon as the lights went out it was the custom to lift one’s feet as Coke bottles would be rolled from the back and picking up momentum they would shatter if they hit the steel seat frame. Those were the “breker” days! It was situated at the bottom end of Berea Road close to the intersection of Berea and Umbilo Roads.  In the 50s, Berea Road was the main artery into the CBD and Kinmont’s  Canyon as it is today did not exist.  I cannot recall when the Alvin closed but do remember that it became a furniture store outlet possibly called Sacksons. It is not listed as a cinema in 1968. My memories of it are that in the facade there was a large red neon sign with the name “Alvin” . On the right you can see the exit and it would seem what was the cinema has been turned into accommodation. I did not venture to go and have a close up look. It looked dodgy as did the whole area.

Looking towards the Umbilo Road / Moore Road intersection.

The former Royal & Regent Dairy Depot with access to the works on the left and the now changed sales frontage.      Click on pictures to enlarge.

Looking in the distance is a 3 storey  block of flats called Moorecombe  Flats. On the ground floor corner was a small haberdashery / material / wool shop called Modern Gowns. It used to do very well if I remember  and was one of those outlets that everyone knew about. Next door to it  heading for Berea Road was Makan Shoe Repairs, an Indian shoe maker. One can just make out that Modern Gowns is now Sad Sacks Army Surplus.  On the opposite side of Modern Gowns, not in the picture was the Wynberg Tea Room, on the corner, part of Churchill Mansions. This was some type of boarding residence. I note it has been changed now.  But back to the picture. Recessed one can see the Q Tyre premises, the corner where the Umbilo Road Pharmacy stood now a parking area. Next to it with the big façade is the  building I seem to recall as being Sterleys.  In the 68 Directory it is named as M G Handy Stores. I never quite knew what Sterleys actually sold but all the children in the area knew they sold second hand tennis balls at 5 cents each.  These of course were essential for street cricket matches. Next to Sterleys was the Royal and Regent Dairy Depot.  On the left was the access to the dairy bottling plant which extended to the back.  The front was an open glass fronted sales area and the interior was tiled with mint green coloured tiles. I  can well recall my mother and I buying farm fresh eggs, cheese and cream there. The dairy depot frontage is better shown in the second picture. Again this building looks rather derelict and has seen better days. I cannot recognise the building next to the dairy depot because the pillared front looks altered. The 68 Directory indicates it was the premises for Master Pest Control, The Motorist Club, and Express Dry Cleaners. In those days kids got to know their areas pretty well and most of us were sent on errands to “go and buy the milk and bread” or “go to the tearoom and buy the paper”.  I must admit we seemed to have “freer”lives in those days.

Pepsi Cola Bottling Plant

I said in a previous passage that life seemed “freer” for us kids in the 50s/60s and we were able to roam around the streets in “our area” within reason of course.  Playing “street cricket” in season in the side roads off Moore Road was a general occurrence, the game being halted whilst a car passed by. Take going to school. I can only remember two boys at St. Henry’s who arrived at school in the family car. One came from Westville and the other from the Berea. Everyone else, primary to senior mostly bussed / cycled to school on their own. Many came from the Bluff and even from the outlying suburbs. There were even some whose first part of the journey to school meant taking a train from Queensburgh to the town centre.  The picture below was about the limit a few of us, older children would venture  along Umbilo Road just for the fun of it when times got boring. This was the Pepsi Cola Bottling Plant at 280 Umbilo Road.  The building is changed slightly from the original in that the cottage pane windows were full plate glass then. This gave you a full view of the bottling plant which was installed on the ground floor if I remember correctly.  It was totally mechanised and we used to watch the empty bottles arrive in a line, go onto a circular gondola, go round, get filled. emerge capped and then move out of view into the packing plant.  This area was totally white tiled and spotlessly clean with the plant operators in spruce white overalls. On the outside wall where the Valves Africa sign is, was a very large Pepsi Cola bottle top. I am not sure if Pepsi also left the SA market when sanctions were imposed in the 70s but Pepsi and their other product Canada Dry seemed to have disappeared. Of course in those days there was no need to barricade the front entrance.

Click on picture to enlarge.

 The Argyle Hotel in Umbilo Road.

Another area land mark in our area was the Argyle Hotel. It was the local watering spot on the corner of Clark and Umbilo Roads.  In my time the hotel was painted grey and the now plastered name board had the name Argyle Hotel in raised letters in red  Attached to it like many of these small hotels was a bar and a bottle store.  The hotel entrance was on the Clark Road side. The square blocks on the verandah were later add ons.  The old building does not look too good now and its future looks bleak.  I hear it is used as a rave club (right word?) now.

What I can remember is that one evening in 1955/56, my mother, sister  and I stood on the opposite corner along with many others waiting to see Johnny Ray, the then American singing idol drive by in an open convertible. The whole of Umbilo Road was lined with people. He was on a South African tour and his hit song at the time was something to with crying. Apparently he used to cry on stage when singing this song. Anyone remember this?

Click on picture to enlarge.

Perks House (lower Berea Road)

The building at the bottom of Berea Road which was originally named Perk’s House and has now been renamed. This is the building shown in the Perks Pies story on FAD. At street level there was a sales outlet and the pie factory was situated at the back.  A new building is erected there now.  Just about the only “old” building I saw in good order.

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Corner Moore Road and Gale Street.

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This picture is the corner of Gale Street and Moore Road. A two way street in those days, Gale Street was more or less fully commercialised by then. It was at this corner that the motor buses heading out to the Bluff , Rossburgh and the suburbs out that way, would turn off having come up from town. My memories of this corner was the Fish and Chip Shop on the corner.  I seem to recall as well that on the corner was a stone mason who made grave stones. On the left where the Toyota sign is was Mr Barnard’s Shoe Repairs. The building he owned there being sold to the Toyota outlet when he closed down. The double storeyed building on the right bounded Cuckoo Lane. I seem to recall there was a Jazz Club down Cuckoo Lane. I also have very vague recollections that down Cuckoo Lane was a place where the rickshaws were parked overnight. These would have been the undecorated rickshaws which did quite a lot of business around the Indian Market area in Warwick Ave

Another memory I have of this area relates to when I came to live in Durban in 1954 and passed by this corner on the way to school. Roughly opposite this corner there used to be a large empty brick building which was quite distinctive. In later years this building was demolished and the vacant area became a Park and Ride in the early 70s. I have since found out that the old building was the Girls’ Model School. Possibly its successor was Durban’s Girls’ High at the top of Penzance Road but this is only a guess.

Theo’s Café.

Sadly I missed the opportunity of photographing this corner tea room with the Theo’s Sign still in place. Theo’s Café at 518 Umbilo Road was a Durban landmark.  My mother knew Theo and I have memories of visiting him with her in his shop. He opened the brand new tearoom in the mid 50’s. There is something different about the tea room as I remember it. For one the entrance was not on the corner but more on the side. Theo being Greek had a small table set up on the corner facing the intersection and he would sit there when things were quiet, with his small cup of black coffee along with the glass of water. The shop windows as well were not barred and had no advertising so the whole aspect was more open. Theo was not one of those big, burly dark Greeks but rather short in stature and with light brown wavy hair. He died quite a few years ago now and unfortunately I cannot remember his name but it was one of those typically Greek surnames.  As was the trend in those days, the bikers formed small cliques and  I seem to remember some group using Theo’s as their get together rendezvous in the evenings.  It just does not look like Theo’s without the Theo’s sign.

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McCormick International ..International Harvester  Sydney Road

I have added this picture as again it recalls the past in a personal way. The building which stands at 296 Sydney Road was the original McCormick International Assembly plant, offices and show rooms. It was here that the imported completely knocked down International Harvester (IH) trucks and pickups were reassembled. IH also made tractors and farm implements. I looked up the 1938 Lawrie’s and note that the plant already existed then in the same location. My uncle when he emigrated to South Africa with his family in 1947 joined IH as a mechanic and remained with the firm until he died in 1975.  I recall my uncle having a photograph of  all the staff gathered outside for a 1947/48 group photo. Very vaguely you can still see the outline of a portico roof that originally straddled the entrance. That was removed and the two sign written signs were added which have lasted exceptionally well, and still visible on the brickwork.  Another feature of the plant was the IH water tank which stood high above the surrounding premises and could be seen from a wide area. I visited the plant on quite a few occasions seeing new models being put together. IH had to pull out of South African market in the late 70s when sanctions imposed required many American firms to quit.

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Berea Road looking towards Toll Gate.

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In the 1950’s, I remember clearly the Indian owned shops that operated diagonally opposite the Alvin Cinema. I can only recall three of the shop names namely Moosa’s , Berea Drapers and Mahomedy’s but there could have been another one or two within the same block. These shops are shown here in the photo in their bright new colours. In the 50’s these buildings were rather drab and I knew nothing of their history. I checked the 1938 Lawrie’s and both Moosa’s and Berea Drapers were already established there. There must have been some relaxation of trading hours because on Fridays these Indian shops were allowed to remain open till 7 pm. My mother would go there quite often to see what new dress material was in stock;  I was bought clothing there and I think it was Mahomedy’s that sold groceries apart from clothing. The shops were very popular and in the evenings there used to be quite a throng of people. In the picture where the “139” sign is, is Turner’s Avenue which linked Berea Road to Moore Road.  A longstanding firm in Turner’s Avenue was the Natal Ruling Co. which was a book binder.  This left hand side of Berea Road consisted of many small businesses,  quite a few Indian owned, a ladies’ shoe shop, a chemist, The Medicine Chest which later became an emergency chemist, clothing shops and slightly further up McLeod’s Bazaar.  McLeod’s was an interesting shop with all sorts of general goods for sale.  All the children in the neighbourhood knew McLeod’s for the reason that it stocked our “needs”.  Spinning tops, marbles, fireworks, tennis balls, and toys were always available there. I can recall when the hula hoop craze descended on Durban in the mid fifties, McLeod’s must have supplied the whole area.  The grey multi-storey building is the Savoy Hotel which also dates to the mid 50s. The big block of flats is relatively new. Up that way in my time, was the Grand Tearoom. That was a Berea landmark until the property was sold and turned into the Berea Centre. Berea Road in the 50’s was two lanes up and two lanes down with a wide central island in between. The Toll Gate trolley bus travelled as far as the Toll Gate, then doubled back over the then Old Toll Gate Bridge heading back to town.  The Botanic Gardens (motor) bus turned right at Botanic Gardens Road, and the Musgrave Trolley at Musgrave. I cannot recall exactly when the excavation of Berea Road started and when the Western Freeway was opened  but I do recall that on the right hand side below the Toll Gate, a whole row of houses and I think a hotel had to be expropriated and demolished  to make space of what is now known as Berea Road North.

Sydney Road.

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This picture is probably going to be vague to many and I even doubt my own memory on this locale but here goes. Driving along Sydney towards Dunlops, on the left hand side is this long, old brick wall now sadly grafittied. It must have been quite smart in its day as it is entirely brick and capped with bull nose bricks. My vague memories of what was behind the brick wall in the late 50s was the Durban Abattoir because when one passed by there was a stench that used to hit you. I cannot recall the buildings that stood there but have recollections of cattle skins being piled up in the yard. In the 60s, this area was cleared out and if I recall it became the temporary SPCA until their new headquarters at the back of Mayville was opened. Now it is a scrapyard.  Anyone remember this site?

Barretts Bakery in Umbilo Road.Click on picture to enlarge

In my Bakeries of Durban story, I mentioned Barrett’s Bakery which used to operate out of premises in Umbilo Road.  Barretts Model Bakery is listed in the 1968 Lawrie’s so when it stopped operating is unknown. The bakery site was eventually demolished and cleared and became a gas distribution depot which remains. On the right is Hoption’s a grocery shop owned by the Chinese, Hoption family who lived upstairs.

Next to it is a building now called Classic House and then the Argyle Hotel.  Classic House is a bit of misnomer but I do remember it in the mid 50s as a few dark and run down shops. The whole frontage has been changed. In those days, one of the shops was a koeksuster shop run by an Afrikaans lady, and another was a radio repair / electrical goods shop.

Berea Road Butchery and Cold Storage.

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This old building is on the left hand side of lower Berea Road close to the Umbilo Road  corner. In the mid 50s this was the Berea Road Butchery and Cold Storage.  It is listed in the 1938 Lawrie’s.  This was the closest butchery to where we lived  and  my mother called in often on Saturday mornings to buy the week’s meat.  Looking at the building apart from the fire damage upstairs and the wear and tear, it has not changed much.  The two large plate glass windows remain as I remember them and the door was central. However then,  the front door was augmented by a fly screen door which used to snap closed behind you. Another memory is that the butchery floor was covered with saw dust. Prices in those days were also far more reasonable!

Henderson’s Supply Store, 140 Moore Road.

 Unless you lived in the area this much changed shop will mean nothing to you. It is in Moore Road opposite Turner’s Avenue. The narrow road on the right is Ryde Avenue. The green  block of flats is called Moorlands. Henderson’s was the local vegetable supply store in the area.  Further down Moore Road was Mazuri’s Supply Store but they were more or less restricted to canned and packaged goods. Henderson’s was run by a very old couple, Mr and Mrs Henderson. They drove a huge old dark blue, Buick probably a 1948 model and it was always parked at the front door.  A very kindly couple as I recall.  The shop then only consisted of the front part,  the back must have been added much later. The tarred area was vacant ground.  I checked the 1938 Lawrie’s and the shop was then owned by “Mr W.H. Morant Grocer”  so it ties in.  Another memory from way back just for the record.

This ends my sojourn down memory lane. We moved away from the area round about 1958 some 55 years ago.

Looking back those were carefree times, very, very different from today. Pleasures were simple, the word technology did not exist and some how you learnt a lot of basic savvy as you grew up.

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106 Responses

  1. John Taylor
    | Reply

    I remember the Alvin bug house for two reasons – as a group of youngsters we went to a movie there and discovered that it was not air conditioned, so if the day was hot and the theatre was full, things became pretty warm! As an audit clerk in the 1970’s I was assigned to audit Sacksons Furnishers which occupied the former cinema. The office was situated in what was formerly the projection room.

  2. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Bughouse. Now there’s a Durban term for you. Quite right about no aircon. They used to open the exit door during afternoon matinees to let air in. Heavy drawn curtains kept the light out. See the grey matter is till ticking over with regards to Sacksons. What I find amazing in having visited these areas now is how one’s sense of size and placement is completed altered over the years. I thought Syringa Ave was close to the Alvin but it was not. I do recall there used to be an Atlantic Petrol Station on the Alvin side of Berea Road . That disappeared many years ago. John see Warren’s request in Western Hinterland.

  3. John Taylor
    | Reply

    Gerald, you’re right about the memories flooding back. As an audit clerk we went to lectures from 5pm to 7pm every evening at the University of Natal’s City Buildings across the road from the old market, and caught the bus up Berea Road to Musgrave Road. The bus stop was almost opposite the old Alvin (and things were reasonably safe in those days). Moosa’s and Mahomedy’s shops were a short way up the road, where you could buy fashionable clothes at bargain prices. There was also a fountain a short way down the road in the vicinity of Perks House, that was often blue as a result of hooligans throwing Reckitts Blue into it (can you still buy the stuff?) or foaming as a result of washing powder being thrown into it. Another lasting memory of old Berea Road was a business called Whitby’s Wire Works – some humorist had painted under their sign “Does Yours?”.

  4. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi John, comparing some memories. City Buildings I do remember not from your time but later on they were leased by Telkom as an additional training centre round about 1990. Telkom then built their own college out Rossburgh way in Oliver Lea Drive. The fountain you speak about I think was set into an island opposite the Williams Hunt motor car showroom, corner Umbilo and Berea Road. They eventually moved out and it became the home of Crown Spices and then the JAM Clothing outlet. Ricketts Blue in its blue white diagonals paper wrapper have not seen for years. I think it is no longer sold. I heard old people used to rinse their hair in it to get their white hair really white.
    I pass on Whitby’s…don’t remember that one.

    • Ben
      |

      Old Ham House – Hi Mr Buttigieg

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Ben….the ex Telkom Ben? You are right when Telkom hired the building as a Training College it was called Oldham House. That was an interim measure while the Telkom Training Facility at Rossburgh was being built. Acutt Street had become too small as a training school. When the University of Natal occupied the buildings it was known as City Buildings. That was in the 1960s.

  5. Jo Wallstrom
    | Reply

    I remember going to Mahomedys in the ’60 with my in-laws and buying groceries. R50 would fill the whole shopping trolley

  6. Allan Jackson
    | Reply

    A great article Gerald, Thanks.

  7. Brian
    | Reply

    Lived near the bottom of Berea Road in the late sixties. The flats on the corner of Berea Rd and Syringa Avenue were called Couzens Flats. Still there today I think. Moosa’s and Mahommedy’s were right across the road and the local butcher sold half a sheep for R10. Those were the days.
    I had a Hillman station wagon then with a fancy alarm. The kids used to amuse themselves in the morning going to school by rocking the car and setting off the alarm. Very funny, until I stopped going down to the car and switching it off which drove the neighbours mad. After that the parents threatened their kids with pain and suffering if they touched the car again. Problem solved.

    • Peter
      |

      and besides those 2 stores, there was Berea Drapers, also owned by the Mahomedy family. and further down was Monk & Booth bottle store –
      yes, great memories indeed – thanks for sharing that and especially sorting those naught kids out. We had friends living in the large block on Berea Road, called Moncrieff – not sure if it is still there ?

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Brian
      Cannot remember Couzens Flats but then if I see them today will probably remember where they are. I remember Crateford Court (184 Berea Rd) Regency Court (198 Berea Rd) and then Eureka Court (212 Berea Rd). I knew someone in Regency in 1960 and that was quite a posh block of flats. So was Crateford Court. They are still there today but not so glamourous these days. That part of Berea Road has deteriorated. The Barclay’s Bank training centre is now something else as the bank gave up the site. I checked the 68 Lawries and here are the surnames of folks in Couzen’s Flats at that time :
      1) Weinsley 2) Little 3) Blower 4) Pierrus 4a) Sabatini 5) Wensley 6) Kaltizka
      7) James 8) Wilson 10) Broad 12) Stapelberg 13) Seymour.

      Hi Peter
      Monk and Booth was on the corner of Berea Rd and Canterbury Avenue. My sister and brother in law moved into the then new Canterbury Mansions when they got married in 1959. If I recall the Chief Constable of Durban, a Mr Clancy lived in Canterbury Grove. Moncrieff is still there and does not look too bad as things go. Moncrieff I recall had a telephone booth in the foyer. Not many knew about this but it was quite private in the foyer which was useful when you were using a “long tickey” and you were chatting up a chick. Remember those?

      Hi Graeme,
      By that time we had left the area but I do remember that the Savoy was very popular and that dancing was a regular thing there on Saturday nights with a full band. The hotel is still there but not sure if it still is a hotel or just accommodation. It is not listed in the 2012 telephone directory but could have been renamed.

      Glad you guys have chimed in because as I said, area memories pertain mainly to those who have lived in them.

    • Michael Dean
      |

      Hello Gerald,
      Couzens Flats at the corner of Syringa Avenue and Berea Road did, as you have mentioned, have a tenant Mrs. Kalitzka, who supervised a belt and button covering workshop on the ground floor of the building which was entered from Syringa Avenue.
      This workshop, which serviced a number of Durban clothing manufacturers, was owned by my wife Rosalie Dean who also operated Swiss Sewing Supplies, a shop in the front of Couzens Flats, on Berea Road. It had the agency for Bernina sewing machines and undertook sales and repairs of Bernina and other quality machines as well as specialising in buttons, braids and trimmings. A bit of a “Mecca” for those into dressmaking.
      Memories are flooding back !
      BTW, has anyone mentioned Dave’s Motors on the corner of Berea Road and Syringa Avenue. Agency for Austin cars. Also had a petrol filling station on the apron where you pulled up and were met by a courteous attendant and your tank was filled, your oil, water and tyre pressure checked, the screen and windows cleaned your payment taken, change given – all without have to get out of your seat and all that for a small gratuity.
      Those were the, now, long-gone, days !
      Thanks once again, Gerald, for the trip down memory lane.
      Cheers.

      Mike

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Mike
      I do recall the service station quite well but not the actual name of it. I seem to recall that they sold Pegasus petrol (flying horse sign) which I think was a Mobil product and later it sold Atlantic. I do remember the apron as you glided off Berea Road into it. I checked my 1968 Durban Directory and see Swiss Sewing Supply still there at 136a Berea Road. Next door was the Model Delicacy Store on the corner with Syringa Ave. In the 50s this store was owned by a Maltese family the Caruarnas who emigrated to Australia after the 1960 Cato Manor riots had the horders descending into Durban down Berea Road. They were stopped by police/ army at this point if I remember. There were several deaths.

    • claudette
      |

      Hi Mike I was just going thru this,as I lived in Syringa Ave Cousens flats,I remember the sewing shop so well,when the riot happend in Berea Road If not mistaken I think the window to the shop was smashed,yes Daves Motors ,My late hubby worked as a mechanic there,we lived there from 1947 till 1966 when I got married,also below from the sewing shop before Alvin movies house was also a Fish and Chip shop,,yes Gerald thanks for this website I love going on it from time to time,Im living in Canada now,

    • Michael Dean
      |

      Hello Claudette,

      Like yourself, many of us left our country for greener “pastures”. My wife and I left S.A. in ’74 for “Down-Under”.
      Gerald’s website is a super-special place to let your memories flow.
      I remember the fish shop only too well. STIRLING FISHERIES. I had the misfortune of a regular auditing job at that place. At the end of the day I would walk the short distance to the University of Natal to attend lectures. Even my better friends were loathe to sit next to me !. If there were no lectures on certain days I would bus it back into my office in the city. Finding a seat away from others was always a priority. Gee ! I can still smell that place !!! Nothing bad, mind you but the smell certainly got in ones nose and clothes.
      Thanks for the memories.
      Didn’t know that SWISS SEWING SUPPLY fell victim to riot damage. My wife Rosalie (Rose) had moved to another site further up Berea Road and subsequently sold soon thereafter.

    • allen sabatini
      |

      hi brian i also lived at 41 couzens flats we overlooked syringa ave i personally lived there for 27 years my folks were there longer. we were the sabatinis

  8. Graeme
    | Reply

    Anyone remember The Switch Disco at the Savoy Hotel in Berea road. Late 60’s early 70’s. By the way, what’s there now……

    • Jane Helms
      |

      Absolutely remember Switch but a few years before that remember going to Tiles down in the centre of Durban – think it was in Hermitage Street – this site is amazing. My mother also used to take us to Moosa’s and Mahomedy’s as she always said that the prices were good. It has been wonderful reading all about areas I remember so well from my youth. Thank you so much

    • Sheridan Jakins
      |

      I used to go there often. It was great.

  9. Eddie Oborne
    | Reply

    Great Memories Thanks Gerald!
    The traffic license office was on the north east corner of Moore Rd and Gale st. They did from bicycle license to drivers and learners license. Entrance in Gale St.

    There was a half round shop on the south east corner of Moore and Gale. It had black and white tiles outside – Was it a butcher?.. Round the corner into Gale st was a tools section of Henwoods.

    There were a few shops along Gale street with roll down faded awnings that read ‘Drink Suncrush – the 1000pound drink’ [Suncrush was a soft drink] Anybody know what was implied? [Suncrush is now connected to Coca Cola]

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Gerald

      Under your heading Argyle Road and the comment on Johnny Ray – one of his hit recordings was “just walking in the rain”! Some useless info for a Thursday morning!!!
      Regards
      AllanH

  10. graem
    | Reply

    Anybody remember Scotty, the photographer that used to hang out at South Beach and snap everyone walking past. He must have/had a archive of photos…….Bit of history there I would think.

    • Jane Helms
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      I absolutely remember him and he was old in those days or at least I was young and he seemed old to me –

    • Sheridan Jakins
      |

      I remember Scotty, and his funny antics to get the young children to laugh, or at least smile.

    • Michael Dean
      |

      Yes – blowing “raspberries” !

  11. Mel Smethurst
    | Reply

    Hi Guys
    Can relate to your memories. Although lived in Hillcrest/Ptn. area in 60’s I am familiar with the Berea area due to our Overport abode late 40’s’early 50’s. Can anyone help with the name of the owner of a well-known chemist in Berea Rd at that time who was an influential Mansfield Old Boy, and prominent in matters of the school’s sporting & general history.
    I accept that old photos would be hard to come by but would really appreciate it if anyone would know who could help with a 40’s , 50’s or 60’s photo of the Old Kingsmead grandstand as the ground had a significant role in my family’s sporting history. A long shot, I know as the Library, Museums etc seem to have drawn a blank.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Mel
      Talking of Mansfield High I have an old and dear friend who I think was head boy at the school “jonks ago”! He is a Finn and now lives in Finland having spent his boyhood in RSA.
      He originally arrived in South Africa with his parents and his father was one of the of the folk who were involved with the set up and establishment of the Timberit board factory at Canelands on the North Coast.
      I am in contact with him via e-mail and he may be able to answer some of the questions relative to the school and the past pupils of his era.
      I am happy to check with him, if necessary!
      Regards
      AllanH

    • Mel Smethurst
      |

      Hi Allan,
      Most grateful for your help. Yes I would love you to contact your Finnish friend. The “Ma ” Smethurst referred to in your other mail was my Aunt Marge and I used to visit her there on my lunch hour from the SA Perm on the next corner, Smith & Field [what the devil is it now?] Thanks again.

    • Jo Wallstrom
      |

      Hi Allan, Interesting to read about Timberit Woodboard. My father in law Gunnar Wallstrom was residential engineer there until 1966 and at that time there were quite a few finnish
      people there. My husband Derrick can only remember one name but there were more. He remembers an Ölavi”(at least that’s what it sounded like). Would you be able to let us know your friend’s name per e-mail if you prefer. Thanks Jo Wallstrom

    • Mike Kamionka
      |

      Hi Jo,
      Your family members may remember my uncle Dr HT (Bert)Tucker who worked at Timberit during the 1960’s.He used to live in Canelands. I also remember playing squash at a private court in Canelands,with a son of one of the Timberit executives (name escapes me unfortunately).He may have even been the friend of Allan, that he mentioned above?. Cheers Mike.

  12. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Mel
    With a surname like that you must be related to the Soccer Smethursts. I looked up my book on Springboks 1888-1947 and two Smethursts appear for Association Football. E.H. Smethurst represented SA in 1939 and 1947. In 1947 a SA Football team toured Australia and E. (Ernie?) was team captain. N and E Smethurst represented SA in a game against a 1939 English FA touring team. There are pictures of E Smethurst. The book is long out of print but possibly available through a library. Book is called Springboks Past and Present, published by SA Olympic and British Empire Games Association.

    Regarding the Chemist in Berea Road. This is the list of Chemists in Berea Road in 1968. Address and Pharmacist.
    Berea Pharmacy 271 Berea Road , H. Taylor.
    The Medicine Chest 155 Berea Road. Several pharmacists worked here. Eventually this became the Emergency Pharmacy in later years.
    Medica Pharmacy 557 Berea Road. (no pharmacist name given).
    Looking up Smethurst in the 1938 Durban directory only EC is listed and his address is given only as Old Fort Road.
    Durban Chemists 1938:
    Berea Pharmacy 209 Berea Road D Friedman.
    T.M. Allin 495 Berea Road R.S. Hare.
    A.A. Forbes 273 Beraea Road.
    F.C. Oldfield 199 Berea Road
    Use the Search facility on this site as I recall having posted a picture of the Old Kingsmead ground stadium being refurbished.

    From a Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Natal Soccer match programme,
    P Smethurst represented Natal under 20 Colts in the curtain raiser played at Old Kingsmead 11th May 1957.
    Hope this helps you.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Gerald and Mel

      Your remarks about the Smethurst folk generated some memories of the old Standard Bank ABC Branch and some of the people that worked there!
      A charming lady, whom we all knew as Ma Smethurst worked with us and was the “go to” lady for most of the junior clerks when we needed a word of encouragement or cheering up!
      I think she lived in one of the larger blocks of flats down on the beachfront beyond Addington Hospital on the south side.
      I feel sure that she was related to the soccer players and, if necessary, I am sure that some of the “surviving” ABC bank employees of the time will be able to give more information on this remarkable lady and her family!
      Regards
      AllanH

    • Mel Smethurst
      |

      Allan,
      Did you live in Winston Park and work for a Plastics Co? Also a pal of the late soccer goalkeeper Spanner Hartman? If so we have met many years ago. You must have been a special guy for me to remember all this, it usually does’nt happen.
      Yes, I am part of the soccer Smethursts. Mel

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Mel

      I must apologise – my memory is a little poor at times and I do not remember you, although I am sure that I should!! Thank you for your kind words but I don’t believe that I deserve them.

      Yes, still in the same house in Winston Park, long since retired having taken early retirement and yes, was a friend of Spanner’s, bless his soul!! You might remember that has my neighbour at one stage of his life!

      I am getting an email ready for my Finnish friend and will need a few days to get his comments, if any! Will let you know!
      Regards
      AllanH

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Mel
      Regretfully my Finnish friend cannot help! He doesn’t remember anyone that fits!
      Regards
      AllanH

    • Mel Smethurst
      |

      Hi Gerald. Most grateful for your research. Yes soccer Smethursts we were. My Dad was Ernest Horace and Norman his uncle, father of Peter you referred to. I do have that book. Many thanks.
      Although none of the Chemist names fit my memory I’m sure I can take it from there and contact one of those outlet principals. The 1968 ones for starters. Will check that site too and deal with your donations page. Mel

    • Mel Smethurst
      |

      Thanks for trying Allan.
      Mel

  13. Garry Shuttleworth
    | Reply

    Well, get this: a Derek Smethurst was a hot footballer with Durban City (winger) for a number of years… also did a longish stint with Chelsea in the English First Division mid-sixties (?) … and, hell, they don’t come any better than that! This Smethurst was the real star!

    • Malcolm Ferguson
      |

      Derek Smethurst is still alive and well living in Valrico Florida with wife Bev, daughter Chelsea and son Michael. He is envolved in football coaching and writes books on football advice and methods

    • Stanley Gent
      |

      19 October 2014

      Hi Malcolm, in about 1965 when I was a sales rep with Alcan
      Aluminum (a Canadian Company), in their Durban Sales Office
      Natal Bank Building, the company employed a young guy to
      promote aluminium seam-welded irrigation tubing. His name
      was Smethurst, and I seem to recolect that his first name was
      Derek. He told me that his uncle was Horace Smethurst the S.A.
      soccer captain, who lived at St. Helier. His house was on the main national road (Jhb-Dbn) and that they served tea on Suday afternoons in the garden overlooking the lake.
      I see from your note dated 9 August 2013 that he now lives in
      Valrico, Florida with his family. I would dearly like to contact
      him and confirm that he was employed by Alcan all those years
      ago. I was 34 at the time and he and I were good friends, however, he did not stay very long with the Company and I cannot recall what happened to him.
      Is it possible that you have his addess in Valrico so that I may
      contact him?
      Warmest regards,
      Stan Gent

    • Glen Adams
      |

      Derek is still alive and well and you can contact him on Facebook

  14. Elizabeth du Rand
    | Reply

    Allan H, your Finnish friend may remember the Du Rand family from Timberit at Canelands. My late husband, Barry du Rand was an instrument technician in the factory. Our house was opposite the swimming pool. We lived there from 1967 to 1969. My children were Martin, Jean, Neil and Arn. They went to Verulam Primary School. I had Finnish neighbours called Markanen and they had two daughters – I think their names were Marta[?] and Verpi[?] There were a lot of other Finns and Swedes working there as I recall.

  15. Allan Hannah
    | Reply

    Hi Elizabeth
    I will certainly ask my pal about the family that you mention! As you look from the swimming pool; up to the houses, my friend’s house was more down towards the railway line.
    Other families in the same row were the Rantas. They had a son, Osmo, who sadly succumbed to sugar diabetes at quite a young age.
    The Hiltonens lived quite close by as well. They had a daughter, Pirjo and a son, Osmo.
    I lived in Verulam at the time and my connection with Timberit was through the primary school and the fact that the principal, a Mr Levine, asked some of the “local” kids to mentor the overseas chilgren and teach them a little English – and so Kari and I became very good friends!
    Interesting times, they were!!
    Regards
    AllanH

    • Rodney
      |

      I remember Osmo Ranta well. We both stayed at the YMCA in Pietermaritzburg in the late 60s – early 70s. Osmo was alive and a lively character, although he was blind at the time. He worked as a switchboard operator and enjoyed playing the electric organ, and I remember that he also had a girlfriend with whom he spent a lot of his spare time. He died sometime in the 70s after I had left the YMCA.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Rodney and Elizabeth
      Yes, Osmo Ranta was a wonderful person and put up with a debilating sickness with courage and fortitude.
      Elizabeth – my friend pointed out that he was working on Durban around the time you mention and does not remember your folk. However he has a younger sister, Ulla, and she will probably recall the people around Timberit at that time. I will come back to you as soon as I have any news!
      Just by the way, the last time I drove past on a nostalgic trip I saw that the old Verulam Govt Primary School building is now occupied by the local municipality and the local police force.
      It was quite sad for me to see that the old Anglican and Methodist churches were in need of repair and it seems to me that these buildings and their history will soon be “things of the past!”
      We lived in a funny old house next door to the Anglican Church and I was christened in the Methodist Church when I was about 10 years old!
      Quite apart from my little story, Verulam and the Canelands areas are steeped in local history and I believe deserve some mention in the FAD despatches!
      AllanH

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Elizabeth
      Have very little news. My friend was working in Durban, having left Canelands. His younger sister and mother left for Finland in 1969 so they do not recall your` family.
      My friend met up with Mr Markkanen around about 1980, in Finland. He believes that Mr Markkanen has since died and confirms the there are two daughters, Mervi and Virpi.
      Regards
      AllanH

    • Ritva Tammi
      |

      Browsing the internet and found this interesting conversation. Sorry for any spelling mistakes, I have been speaking finnish for 40 yrs now. My parents Pauli (Pauly), mother Kaarina (Karina) & brother Markku (Mo = “eskimo” = blond hair) moved to Caneland in the ’50s. Surname Soikkeli was difficult to pronounce 🙂
      My brother and I attended Verulam Primary School and also sunday school on Fridays. I remember a name, teacher Ms? Glover, who was very very kind to us. Somehow I remember that she got married when I was still a pupil there. The principals younger son was Daniel, Danny. His father later went to a Durban school. I remember that our tiny school got an invitation to the large schools swimming gala and we did very well! Mo went to Beechwood High. We moved back to Finland in 1974 when I was 14. I remember the names Dr. Tucker, du Rand, Markkanen, Lajunen, Pasanen, Hiltunen. I think that mother Hiltunen moved to the Cape to be nearer to her daughters. Then also the Kruger (2 boys), Morris (Peter and sister) family from opposite the pool. The Higgins (Mark and brothers), Riddly (Linda and brother) and Smith (Jean) family lived close to us. Sadly my mother passed away last year, father much earlier. She would have known who lives where now and so on. Also the Cairns family from “Top Houses” with parents Betty and Douglas, children Patricia, Mark and Allen. Next door was Janine Henderson and close by my brothers best friend and his sister but cannot remember names right now.
      Not quite Durban, but I am grateful to hear something of the Canelands times. It has been a bit difficult for me, because of moving away from my childhood country. Visited SA in 1982. I’m the type that does not like facebook, but now I think it is time for me to search my old friends. I am sure that part of the Cairns family lives in the Durban area. They used to have a house near a landing place for small planes, Reeves Road if I remember correctly.
      Best wishes,
      Mrs Ritva Tammi (Soikkeli)

    • Allan Jackson
      |

      Hi Ritva
      Why not join our Facebook group as well? It’s at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FactsAboutDurban/.

    • Ritva Tammi
      |

      Thanks you, will do once my 26 yr daughter or 27 yr old son shows me how to ha ha haa! It can’t difficult but I’m a little lazy so it’s easier if they show me how 😊. Now I remeber that Dannys surname was Harrison, so it was principal Harrison at a Durban school. I went to Danville Park Girl’s High School.

  16. Kari Mannonen
    | Reply

    Hi AllanH,Elizabeth and Rodney.
    Allan Hannah has been a very good friend. When I arrived in South Africa as a 10 year old I could only count up to five in English. He took me under his wing and thanks to him I learned English pretty quickly.
    I basically wanted to say that during my 30-year stay in RSA, I have met a lot of fantastic people especially in Durban. Four years in Mansfield High School, Natal Technical College and later working for various firms.
    Back home: We have the most incredible lakes here. I have an island with a log cabin there and I’m off there now, a different kind of life all together from good old Durbs.
    Kari Mannonen

  17. Anthony (Tony) Berman
    | Reply

    Hi everyone.
    We are traveling down a great memory lane here & congrats to you all for dredging up memories so well. Having been born in a house in Nicolson Rd during the War & living there for 17 years, I knew & still know the entire area well as I have lived in Dbn my entire 71 years! So I will respond in sections.
    The Mr Levene was Lex Levene a well known school teacher steeped in his profession who grew to be a headmaster, ultimately emigrating to Israel perhaps after he retired – not sure.
    The Berea Rd property on the bottom corner of Turners was I think Moosas a building I co-owned in the 1990s unfortunately! That area was badly affected (commercially from a property ownership aspect) by the changes (good) that took place in SA.
    For many years the Emergency Chemist in Berea Rd was owned by a group of chemists one of whom was Les Sherkin. It was a thriving business even well into the 1990s.
    Oldham Bldgs was as stated also known as City Bldgs for the University. Many part time students of accountancy & law who served articles of clerkship have fond memories of that complex. The University built a modern hall on the vacant land in the complex. My memory tells me the Tech took it over.
    The person who sent me the link to this website is also an old Dbnite & now living in China. His father owned the bottle store on the corner of Moore & Umbilo Rds for more years than he cares to remember no doubt.
    Royal & Regent Dairies was owned by Jack Rubin whose son still lives in Dbn today.
    Sacksons correctly used to be the “bioscope” mentioned & thereafter furniture store. Malcom Werner who worked for Beares, started Sacksons with a partner as a clothing & furniture store. Werner as the furniture man eventually took over & expanded furniture & closed clothing.
    Interestingly the Alvin/Sacksons property was owned by the Hackner family for many years. Gerald Hackner the son, & had started his own accounting firm in 1951, was my principal to whom I was articled!
    I have vivid memories of the Pepsi bldg. We were talking of it only the other day. It was an icon in the area.
    Barnard Shoe Repairs was a very popular place as everyone in Dbn seemed to use them. He moved his business next door to the corner bldg described. We all mourned when he closed his business eventually. Besides being such an expert at his trade, he always had a large smile & pleasant friendly manner . They don’t make em like dat anymore!!
    Finally the Theo’s property was owned by a Mrs Simon whose son inherited & kept it for a very long time, eventually selling to the then Theo’s owner – & that was in recent years.
    For those of you who love the old stuff, consider buying the 3 volume set of pictorial books on “Old Dbn properties & their current replacements” from Independent Newspapers. I bought mine last week.

    • Rodney Leak
      |

      Hi there Anthony. The 3 volume book set on old Durban property etc. I have contacted Independent Newspapers and have drawn a blank. Publisher? Thanks.

    • wilf stein
      |

      Anyone still there? My family (Philip and Lily Stein) were great friends of the Hackners. shopped at the store and Gertie Hackner (Oscar’s widow) was often at our house in Manning Rd – we were 408, they were 456- and I was a friend of Gerald and Stanley. I think Stanly – a great athlete – was Victor Ludorum at DHS

    • Keith Titmuss
      |

      Hi Wilf,
      I lived in Fynnlands (Bluff) from 1948. Mr and Mrs Hackner owned Fynnlands Supply Store and the “Tearoom” in Bluff Road. It was Maurice (or Morris) Hackner and his wife Fanny. Their house was not far from the shops. I remember an elderly gent who ran a small haberdashery shop adjoining the grocery store. I’m not sure if he was the father of Mr Hackner or Mrs Hackner. I remember Mr Hackner was rather a short, stout gent and drove a huge Pontiac car. I’m not sure when they gave up the business……long time ago. There were no supermarkets then and most families did not have a car so it was the only shop to get supplies. There was a 44 gallon drum of paraffin outside with a pump….horrible smell!! We all had a Primus stove for emergencies as there were a lot of power failures – so what has changed! Inside it was hot – guess what….no aircon! Behind the counter were shelves of canned goods and in front large sacks of various dried beans. I don’t know if they are related to the family you wrote about, but hope it may be some help to you.
      Regards,
      keith

  18. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Tony
    Thanks for authenticating and adding to the information with your snippets. You and I are of the same era so we walked the same roads. The more information we add to this site, the wider the scope, as more people like yourself may be drawn in with their memories. Our memories, I think, are of a period when Durban reached its “peak” and then changed as the CBD moved out of the city centre to the outlying areas and the roll on effect that had.

  19. Michael Dean
    | Reply

    Thanks for your most fascinating reminiscences and pieces of Durban history.
    You posted a picture and brief description of the Berea Cold Storage in lower Berea Rd and recalled your visits to that butcher shop and how the floor had always been covered in saw-dust. I have recollections of that too – mainly because that shop had been owned and run for very many years by Abe Deen – my father. Regrettably he passed away in 1951 when the business was sold and I can tell you no more about it.
    Abe was a well respected person in Durban. He was popularly known as the owner of a somewhat remarkable champion race-horse named “Chez Monty” which won the Gold Cup in 1949 and 1950 ( the first horse ever to have won that race in two successive years and a record which stood for many years before being equalled ).

    My wife, Rosalie (also a Durbanite) and myself have been living in Australia for 40 years having only once, very briefly, re-visited Durban. Thank you so much for your Website Gerald. It brings great joy to us.

  20. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Mike
    Thanks for the compliments. I was not born in Durban but lived there for close on 50 years, growing up there and getting to know it rather well. The memories of course are peculiar to me and the areas I lived in but they do touch many other people such as yourself. I always find it gratifying that such obscure places as the Berea Cold Storage bring back memories for someone and that’s what makes this site.

  21. Rudi prinsloo
    | Reply

    Can any one tell me of berea bottle store it was owned by w.w.johnson the phone number was 48441 and it was on 343 berea road

  22. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Rudi
    I have checked the 1938 Durban Directory and you are right the Berea Road Bottle Store was at 343 Berea Road. But this was the Berea Hotel Bottle Store and the number is listed as 48441 even in 1938. The Berea Hotel was the Tudor like building which stood on the corner of Berea Road and Bulwer Road. Included in the hotel grounds was the iconic Inspan Garage which was accessed via Berea Road. I still recall that the roof timbers of the forecourt were exposed and attached to these were boards which indicated Cato Ridge xx miles, Camperdown xx miles, Pietermaritzburg xx miles, Howick xx miles, Mooi River xx miles. and so on listing all the stops to Johannesburg. The Guinea Fowl in Ladysmith was a major stop to get fuel and grub. There is no indication of the owner being WW Johnson. There was another Berea Road Bottle Store another institution at 167 Berea Road which was on the corner with Canterbury Grove. This one’s entrance was on the corner. The owners in 1938 were Monk and Booth.
    I checked the 1968 Directory , the Berea Road Bottle Store was still at 167 Berea Road but now listed as Monk and Booth Bottle Store. The Berea Hotel Bottle Store is listed as the Berea Hill Bottle Store still with the telephone number 48441 but the address given as 333 Berea Road. So some minor changes. As to ownership sorry, cannot help.

    • Allan Jackson
      |

      I can vividly remember Monk and Booth bottle store because my father used to get his drinks there as far back as I can remember. We would never park in front in Berea Road but approached instead down Canterbury Grove from Moore Road and parked in a small off-the-street parking outside the store’s goods entrance.

  23. Pete Kitchen
    | Reply

    We lived in Escombe court, across the road from the Royal and Regent dairy. There was also a piano repairer / tuner which later became a mechanical workshop. Further along Umbilo and across Berea Road, was the Normandie Hotel – a favourite of my folks and uncles in the early 60’s.
    My mom worked as an usherette at the Alvin in the early to mid-fifties. Smoked my first cigarettes there, crouching down in the seats with a packet of 5’s Cavallas.
    The usherettes used to whack the boys over the heads with their torches if they were caught snogging their girlfriends during the movie.

  24. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Pete
    Just a correction, Escombe Court was further down towards Berea Road and not opposite Royal and Regent. My late old school buddy Brian Privett lived in that block of flats for many years and his late mother passed away there. They lived in No. 3. I have an idea it is still there but has now been refurbished. On the same side of Umbilo Road was the Indian owned, Makan’s Shoe Repairs. I seem to recall there was a Nedbank next to Escombe Court for a while and then another block of flats called Findon Court. On the corner was Modern Gowns, the well known wool, material and haberdashery shop. Quite right opposite was a piano tuner / repairer and they sold pianos as well. Mower’s Incorporated owned by a Mr Short who did mower repairs was next to the piano shop. Hotel Normandie was in Lancers Road, across Berea Road it was a diagonal road that led to Warrick Avenue. I agree with you about the Alvin, as you recall some cinemas were known as “bughouses” in those days!

  25. Rodney Leak
    | Reply

    To Gerald and everyone else. Great stuff. The Berea Road area brought back stacks of memories. My aunt and uncle the Lea family lived at 51 Crateford Court in the mid-late fifities. We frequented many, many of the shops mentioned in the call-back. I think my uncle used to go to freemason meetings at the Savoy Hotel. Williams Hunt opp.Perks used to bring out a 6-8 lane scalelectrix set around Grand Prix time and after shool you could have ago. For days there were preliminary rounds. At the bottom of Berea Rd there was the Alhambra where I recall seeing My Fair Lady with Dianne Todd and my first opera Tosca sometime in the ’60s. Also further up Berea Rd, beyond Canongate where the road was remodelled, there was the Berea Road Girl’s School (opposite the tudor style Berea hotel where great pub lunches were had), attended by both my wife (late ’50s) and her mother (20/30’s). Before it was demolished wasn’t a part of the Natal Tech relocated to the property? Or the Natal Education Dept?

  26. Mark
    | Reply

    Hi

    I am writing about the Wheel.
    Does anyone remember the cinemas at the Wheel?
    The following was my request to reopen the cinemas at the Wheel.

    If you feel the same about the Wheel,please share your views with me at zainys@mailbox.co.za

    Reply to China Mall was as follows:
    “Good day

    I have been going to the Wheel cinema for a very long time and always enjoy it.
    Though I can go and do go to Gateway and Musgrave in Durban as I reside close to Musgrave,the Wheel cinemas have a very different value to myself and friends and therefore we used to visit the Wheel regularly for old times sake.

    We would like to find out when the Wheel cinemas will reopen as we have been wanting to revisit it for a while now.
    If the new China Mall has a problem with the cinemas,plans should be made to increase security,or other steps taken to close off certain entrances in the night and keep the cinemas running.

    Please advise me by when the cinemas at the Wheel will reopen and I know other people who used to visit the Wheel cinemas to keep old memories alive even though there are movie houses nearby such as Musgrave and Gateway.

    I am sure even people around the Wheel will be happy to have it reopened though they may not have sentimental value to it how we have had going to the Wheel since it initially opened in 1989.

    I await your positive feedback.

    Kind Regards
    Mark

  27. graeme
    | Reply

    I remember the flats and the hotel that were there before the wheel existed. I think the hotel was the Palace Hotel, not sure, correct me if I am wrong………..Can anyone remember the name of the flats that were ripped down to accomodate that wheel complex.

  28. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Graeme
    The Wheel was an unfortunate development if I remember in that it never realised its full potential and as far as I know it has seriously declined these days. I cannot recall exactly when it opened, I think in the early 90s, but do recall going there with the family soon after opening. It stretched from Gillespie St. through to Point Rd. Originally the “wheel” structure mounted on the face of the building was operative for a while but then developed problems and eventually was removed. The original interior had a sailing ship theme downstairs with the floors made of wood whilst the upper levels had a sort of medieval theme of small shops in a warren of passages. I remember the passages were rather narrow. I do recall it started to decline after a few years and it got a reputation as being a rather unsavoury locale. I have heard that it has been taken over by Chinese shopowners now but someone who knows more about this can comment.
    Regarding its position in Gillespie Street and this I have gleaned from the 1968 Durban Directory. In the current telephone book, The Wheel Centre is listed as 55 Gillespie St. If this is correct then the hotel that stood on the site was the SeaBreeze Hotel. The Sea Breeze Hotel stood on the corner of Gillespie and Thistle Lane. On the other side of Thistle Lane was the Palace Hotel with the block of flats, “Whitehaven” next door. Not sure if Thistle Lane still exists. Whitehaven still does if I recall. In the 60s, Gillespie St. and the adjoining Prince St. was as I remember populated by young working folk. Blocks of flats such as Rapallo, San Francisco, Bencorrum, Portofino, Falaise come to mind.

  29. Benjamin
    | Reply

    Hey where in Berea did the deaths take place, during the cato manor riot?

    • Dirk van der Merwe
      |

      On the corner of Syringa Avenue and Berea Road. bullet holes visible for long time afterwards on Syringa Ave side of wall of Sakkie’s Tea Room on the corner. Just Below Dave’s Motors – later Olympic Toyota before latter moved to Sydney Road and the Smith Street before changing name to Mc Carthy Motors.

  30. Danie Fourie
    | Reply

    The abbatoir in Syney Road was my first employment after matric (1960). I worked there from 1961 to 1970 as a livestock weighing in clerk for the now defunct Livestock and Meat Industries Control Board, generally known as the Meat Board.

    The first day experience I near fainted with the stinking guts and gore lying on the floor and having to avoid the slippery blood. Carcasses hanging on hooks were twitching in the forelegs as if still alive.

    After a month, you did not even smell the stench and took everything in its stride. The main players were the stock agents, the Meat Board and the purchasing butchers.

    Because of Durban’s humidity, slaughtering started at 4:00am, and closed shop by 11:00am, thereafter the only staff remaining were the cleaners. Years after I left, the abbatoir was moved to Cato Ridge.

    • Dirk van der Merwe
      |

      You must of known my friend’s father – I knew him as oom Dawid (Botha).

    • Danny Moodley
      |

      I remember the abbatoir in Sydney Road—I know of the Barnabas family that used to work there in the late 60s,
      also alongside the road,I used to see people cooking meat and selling

      danny Moodley

  31. Marion Gabriel Brady
    | Reply

    The Sea Breeze Hotel was owned by my maternal grandfather Ari Velkoop who was on the Dutch East India Company and he came from Rotterdam. He owned 3 houses in Prince Street where my mother was born in one of them He also owned a house in Albany Grove where the Family lived.
    He purchased the Sea Breeze when it was a Boer Hospital and converted it into the Sea-
    Breeze Hotel

  32. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Marion,
    That is some very interesting information but as far as I know the Dutch East India Company ceased operations in the 1800s. That is not to say that your earlier ancestors did not have some association with the DEIC but not at the time the Sea Breeze Hotel existed. I did do a check in the 1938 Durban Directory and the Sea Breeze Hotel is listed as being at 53/59 Gillespie Street. Unfortunately the name of the owner is not given but the Sea Breeze was a Private Hotel as opposed to an “ordinary” hotel. The difference was a private hotel was more like a boarding house and had no liquour licence whereas an ordinary hotel did and usually had a public bar on the premises. The Sea Breeze Hotel existed well into the 60s/70s albeit I remember it as becoming rather run down and needing maintenance. It was eventually demolished if I recall. I did not know that the Sea Breeze was a hospital and that is very interesting. Unfortunately I do not have info going back that far.

    I also checked Albany Grove and in 1938, Mrs H Velkoop lived at No 32 Albany Grove so that does tie in with your facts. In those days that whole side of Albany Grove were residences. Mrs Velkoop is the only entry in the directory with that surname. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to who she was? Although Velkoop is an unusual surname, I knew Ken Velkoop who worked in the Post Office admin roundabout the early 1960s. Any connection?

  33. Bryan Mathurine
    | Reply

    I enjoyed reading about this part of Durban, I was born in1936 and left when I was 21. I was born in Cohen avenue.Glenwood. I went to Addington School and then on to Tech. I would love to hear about my area

  34. Adrian
    | Reply

    Loved reading all the stories of the old casbah great memories I grew up in wills rd great days the 70s

  35. Stanley Howard Gent
    | Reply

    Stanley Gent

    Hi Malcolm, In October 2014 I inserted an article about Derek Smethurst, the football player, whom I thought worked with me at Alcan Aluminium in 1965. I have since discovered that it was not Derek who was in the Durban Sales Office with me, but his cousin, Dennis Smethurst. Last year I spoke with Dennis who lives in St. Helier, and he told me it was he who worked with me at Alcan in 1965. Dennis is the son of Horace Smethurst, and Mel is his brother. Derek and Peter Smethurst are their cousins.
    I thought I should put the records straight.

  36. Dirk van der Merwe
    | Reply

    Wow! This was my valley! Lived in Moore Road semi initially and then in Burnsdale flats. I was born in 1952 and left there in 1972. I was Mr Henderson’s second favourite customer. Noon’s Tea Room on corner of Turners and Moore was open longer hours but Henderson’s was number one! Friday evenings was either a pasty from Wynberg Tea Room or Fish and Chips from corner of Moore and Gale. Big ‘test’ matches were played in Baxter Place with a dustbin as wickets. Caught the Umbilo 7 home from Port Natal High School and got of in Gale Street in front Of Natal Photo. Walked past Sunblest Bakery (I think you named it ABC) and bought hot loaf of bread and shared it with my friends. Watched an older Fonz lookalike play pinball at Wynberg – always made free games and left for us younger admires to play. Good memories.

    • claudette
      |

      Hi Brian Noons Tearoom was owned by my brother in law God mother who was Portuguese godmother,I remember Wynberg tea room well as the lady who lived above was friends with my mom,she to was Portuguese

  37. Malcolm Walker
    | Reply

    I was born in 1934 had an Uncle from Durban North who had motor dealership some where in the area?

    Malcolm Dennis Walker now 83yrs old and just thought I would see how far back I could get. Had 2 cousins
    Doreen & Joyce

  38. Nico Joubert
    | Reply

    I found your page when I went looking for “current squares”, a kind of date tart, as sold by Theo’s Cafe in Umbilo rd when I was a youngster. Not that I’m that old, was born in Durban in 1966, but we ended up living in Hagan Court just a block away from Theo’s Cafe when I was 10 or 11 years old and I recall many many good times there playing pinball at the time and drinking flavored milk out of glass bottles and eating these current squares with a thin type of crust. What a wonderful and peaceful time that was! Anybody remember those?

  39. Aubrey Williams
    | Reply

    What amazing stories of the Berea Road area, and Durban in general. I’m busy researching our family history, and my grandfather’s family lived in an apartment block called Throssell Place (number 8), which was in or just off the bottom end of Berea Road. From documents I have managed to find they were definitely living in Throssell Place in 1946 and 1954, and my mom remembers going there in the early sixties. My grandfathers name was Richard John Brown (also known as either Dick or Buster), his brother was Arthur Brown (a window dresser at Greenacres), and their parents were Harry and Mary Brown. Does anyone perhaps remember Throssell Place, and what happened to it? Was it in fact an apartment block, or was it a house? I’ve done a search on Google Maps and it seems to be all industrial now…

  40. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Aubrey,
    I have done a bit of a search on Throssell Place and in fact came up with Throssell Avenue as well. First of all, Throssell Place and Throssell Avenue are both off Berea Road, Throssell Place at No 164 Berea Rd and the Avenue at 188 Berea Road. Throssell Place was opposite Canterbury Avenue which still exists whilst Throssell Avenue was higher up roughly opposite Gum Tree Avenue. I got this out of the 1938 Lawrie’s Durban Directory. In a 1970 -ish Braby’s Map of Durban, only Throssell Place is shown which points to Throssell Avenue ceasing to exist.
    From my book, Origin of Durban Street Names, Throssell Place and Avenue “both off Berea Road” – “take their name from the Throssell family very old residents who owned property and lived there for generations”.
    Reverting to the 1938 Directory this may be of interest.
    Throssell Avenue, only two residents: RC Throssell at No 184 and T. Parkinson at 184a. The number ties up with the Berea Road numbering as I cannot see throssell Avenue being that long.
    Throssell Place: on right hand side No 8 H F Brown No 12 J E Field No 16 A O’Byrne No 20 M Berton
    on left hand side: No 7 Mrs H Patterson No 11 Jas. Phillips No 15 I Pryor No 17 L E Kenmuir
    No 19 W Blakely
    So it appears your relations were in Throssell Place in 1938 and the H could be your great grand father. I very much doubt that Throssell Place was an apartment block. The Berea was more all less all houses in those days so I would say it was a residence.
    By 1965 Throssell Place was reduced to no residents and in Throssell Avenue only one is recorded at No 187 Y Aucamp, Obviously by now the buildings were demolished and all that remained was the actual roads.

    I hope this helps.

  41. Douglas Harvey
    | Reply

    If anyone has photos of Chelmsford Primary School which stood on the corner of Berea and Musgrave Rd before it was knocked down to make way for the freeway I’d love to see them. Still recall the steely head mistress Ms Scissens, and the school building and yard in my mind’s eye.

  42. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Douglas,
    Sorry no photos but I interested myself with your query as I could not recall Chelmsford Primary School. I recall a large section of land was taken up by the freeway (Kinmont’s Canyon) from Musgrave Road up to Toll Gate. I did post about an old church on the corner of Musgrave and Berea Road that was demolished to make way. I will have to look for the link here on FAD. Whether Chelmsford Primary was on the same corner I cannot recall but I looked up my 1968 Durban Directory and Chelmsford Primary School is still listed on that corner and the contact person was a Mrs Burnett. By that time the freeway was opened so I am a bit confused unless the school was accommodated in the church that was rebuilt a bit back from the corner. I hope someone does have photos for you.
    Here is the link
    https://www.fad.co.za/2012/08/30/musgrave-centre/

  43. Vivienne McCance-Price
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald
    You seem to know Durban extremely well. I’m looking for pictures of an old house which was situated at 92 Chelmsford Road in the early 70’s. It was a boarding house called The Nerina and I stayed there for about 2 years. It is now a block of duplexes called Almira. It’s funny, I have come almost first circle. I moved to The Nerina when I came from Swaziland to live in Durban at the age of 18. Then moved away to the beachfront and then Morningside, but I now live in the block of flats next door called Montreal. I have friends who live in Almira and Graham is looking for any pictures of the old house.
    It was a beautiful old house with a half wrap around verandah and when you walked in the front entrance there was a big staircase which went upstairs to the various bedrooms which were rented on a dinner/bed and breakfast basis for the sum of R60.00 per month (including the meals and a packed lunch to take to work if you wanted it)! I can’t remember the name of the people who owned the house, but I recall their daughter had been in Australia when I moved there. I initially shared the room in the left upstairs “turret” and then moved downstairs to the back where I had my own entrance into New Haven Road.
    I somehow have a memory of being told that it was one of the first “maternity” homes in Durban for unmarried mothers at one stage, but whether that is just my imagination or not I’m not sure.
    Perhaps you can tell me where I can find some pics, if there are any.
    Would love to hear back from you. Thanks

  44. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Vivienne,
    You have got me trying to remember back to my school days on this one. Chelmsford Road was part of the bus route to St Henry’s (Marist Brothers) as well as to the Entabeni Hospital so for many years I would have passed by the places you mention. I am talking here mid 50s to 1961. I would need to refresh my memory as to that side of Chelmsford Road but if I am not mistaken 92 Chelmsford Road would have a block of flats called Newburgh Court opposite. Further towards Moore Road was a hotel called “Andover” and on the corner of Moore and Chelmsford was Brierley Court.

    Now to your side. First of all I have no photos of No. 92. All I remember was the block of flats on the corner called Mount Verna. However I did a bit of digging in the old Durban Directories I have, all 3 and this what I came up with. In 1938, No 92 existed and was occupied by M.M. Corrigall . So it could not have been a nursing home but in 1938, No. 89 (now Newburgh Court) is listed as Chelmsford Medical Nursing Home with Sister G. Littlecott as Matron. So you are close but no cigar. Remember the present St Augustine’s Hospital was already built then as the Sanatorium run by the Augustinian Nuns. Whether the nursing home at No 89 catered for unmarried mothers is unknown.

    As an aside the Durban Corporation buses that travelled that route had destination signs Manor Gardens Route 89 and Nursing Homes Route 88. The Manor Gardens bus would continue along Chelmsford Rd and turn into The Maze heading for South Ridge Rd where St Henry’s was situated. The Nursing Homes bus would turn up at the corner of Clark and Chelmsford and then turn left into South Ridge Road and turn right into the Entabeni Grounds. This was the terminus which in my time was under a huge fig tree.

    Now to more modern times. In 1965, No 92 is listed as Hotel Nerina and No 92 is also given as F.H. Dawes. I have realised that a double insertion like that means Dawes was the owner. In 1968 No 92 is listed as Hotel Nerina and again No 92 M.A. Caine. Change of Ownership?

    “Montreal” is listed as flats in 1965 so it existed then. Street number given as No. 100. In the 1938 directory No 100 Chelmsford is listed as Vacant so I would hazard a guess that Montreal was eventually built on the vacant site.

    So not exactly what you wanted but a bit of background history. Unfortunately I no longer live in Durban so access to the Durban Reference Library is not possible. It is here where all the past Durban Directories are kept and are a mine of information if you are that interested.

  45. Vivienne McCance-Price
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald
    Thanks for the response.

    You are exactly right about the positioning of 92 Chelmsford Rd being opposite Newburgh Court, next to Newburgh going towards Moore Rd was/is a big house which was a nurses quarters for a while and then next to that The Andover which was also a boarding house. They were the thing in those days.

    Mt Verna is still on the corner of Chelmsford and Clark. I gather that Montreal was built in/around 1953. My other friends Graham and Richard Bell lived in Mt Verna when they were youngsters (now in their late 60’s).

    When I boarded at The Hotel Nerina, I and some of the other lodgers used to catch the bus into/out of town and get off in the city centre near the Municipal offices. The house was set back off the road and one had to walk up stairs to get to the front entrance.

    Shortly after I moved back to this area and into Montreal (about 19 years ago now), I started receiving letters for a family that had supposedly lived in my flat a few years before. I tried desperately to find the family to pass on the letters as they were from Australia and were family looking for family, but to no avail. But I started up a correspondence with the Australian family and a year later took a chance and looked in the new telephone directly and was able to find the family name. I contacted them and reunited them with their Australian family. When they came to collect the letters, the husband looked familiar and I racked my brains and eventually we realised that we’d both stayed in The Hotel Nerina at the same time….weird world isn’t it.

    Really, I was just trying to locate some photographs of the old house that was then The Hotel Nerina for Graham but you’ve indicated that you have no access to photographs, so looks like we’ll have to try and investigate at the Durban Reference Library.

    Nice chatting, thank you for your time, I appreciate that.

  46. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Vivienne
    A site to have a look at. Google kznpr . This is Hugh Bland’s site and he has been going around Durban taking pictures of a lot buildings. Sadly he has only started a few years ago and important old buildings no longer exist. However have a look.

    • Vivienne McCance Price
      |

      Thanks Gerald, will do.

  47. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Ritva
    Not too many Finnish correspondents on this site so nice to hear your comments of your time here in KwaZulu Natal. I was trying to work out how long your family lived in KZN and seems to be close to 25 years. I did not know where Reeves Road was but looked up my 1965 Durban Directory and see it was in Virginia. So the little airport you talk about was the Virginia Airport. The airport is more or less now on the way to being closed as the area is going to be redeveloped. It is a very valuable tract of land now as Durban has more or less moved out to the North Coast around uMhlanga and northwards. Back to Reeves Road which is off Danville Avenue. Must be a small road as there were only 7 families living in Reeves Road. They were DW Cairns at No. 1, DE Heard at No. 3, PA McCann at No. 4, J Bennett at No. 5, J Harris at No,. 6, EJ Paul at No. 8 and DA Lombard at No. 10. Perhaps apart from Cairns you may remember the others?

  48. Ritva Tammi
    | Reply

    Hello Gerald,
    my parents moved to South Africa in about late 1959 to Canelands because of the timberite factory. We left in 1976… The Cairns family lived at that time near us. We lived at the bottom of the hill, “bottom houses”. The Cairns’s lived in the newer houses on top of the hill, “top houses” 😆.
    When I visited them in 1982 they had already lived at this Durban address for some time: 1 Reeves Road, Virginia 4051 (?), Durban North. I didn’t meet the other families living there. I do remember that it was a quiet and very clean, friendly and comfortable looking residential area. I have noticed that a person looking very much like Patricia (Pat) is on Facebook. When lazy old me will contact her and assuming it is her, perhaps she will comment more…

  49. Mike
    | Reply

    Hi Ritva,

    Lovely to hear you reminiscing about Canelands. I spent many a holiday there as my Uncle (Dr Tucker) lived there as well. He left there to run the factory in Estcourt and subsequently retired to Cape Town, where he sadly passed away last year.The company was bought out by Masonite I also had a friend Rob Hyslop who I used to visit.. Remember playing squash there at the privately owned court. I think it was owned by the then CEO of Timbirit , (Jamneck please excuse the spelling). I also attended Beachwood, but unfortunately don’t recall your brother. Keep Well, Regards.

  50. Ritva
    | Reply

    Hi Mike!
    Perhaps you are the same Mike that knew Linda and Ian Riddley. I remember the name Hyslop, but was younger than you and Rob. You most probably mean the Canelands Country House with the tennis/squash courts, bowling green and cricket field. Like the whole residential area at that time, the club with its bar 🙂 was in tiptop form.
    My brother Markku (Mo, Marko) did his Matric exam at Beechwood and moved to Finland about a half a year after us. We both had ultrablond hair. He was a very good swimmer and did lifesaving at Umdloti Beach and during his lasttcouple of years went there and to school with his red Yamaha! He lived with his best friends family. They were the Horn family with Dudley and Jennifer. I now remember/think that the Krug family was the Kruis family with maybe Isobel and Barry and definately sons Gavin and Jeffrey.
    Thanks for noticing my comments and sharing your memories (had to look that sentence in the internet dictionary).
    Keep well too, Ritva.

  51. kerry paddon
    | Reply

    hi can any one please tell me when the umbilo library was first opened in bartle road and any historical information on umbilo please feel free to contact me on 031 2054711 umbilo library telephone number my name is Kerry Paddon

  52. David Cheesman
    | Reply

    Hello Gerald, what a great treasure trove of a web site. My little grey cells have been stirred up reading all of these interesting comments.
    I was very fortunate in 1953/54 to spend my 2nd yr of a 4 yr Mech Eng degree living, working,studying and having a great time in Durban. My uncle/ aunt (Charles/Elsie Perkins) owned the Bulwer Park Hotel, where I stayed in room 6. I would come out of the hotel turn left and walk down a tree lined road to the main junction, catch a bus to the Post Office/ Town Hall in West Street then get a second bus to James Brown, Marine Engineers. My boss was a Yorkshireman, Mr Ettershank, he drove a baby Austin Seven and if in a good mood, would give me a lift back to the Post Office of a Friday. This did not happen often. I had one day release for study but I can not know remember where I went to study but recall an imposing red brick building with a large portico and lots of grass by the entrance
    My uncle bought a second hotel in early 1954. It was an imposing 3/4 story brick building with 2 roof turrets, one being my bedroom/ study. I consider that I had the best view in Durban. I would every day watch the sun rise over the ocean and wait until the sunlight would fall upon the ships at anchor in the harbour and then much to my aunt’s annoyance dash downstairs and run to get my bus.
    I have long forgotten the name of this hotel and road. I recall that on my way back home, I would catch a grey/ blue trolley bus at the Post O ffice, it would trundle down West Street pass the Bulwer Park turn off, ascend a hill until a Y fork in the road, take the right hand folk and up a much stepper hill. I believe that at the Y fork, the conductor had to get off and reposition the two bus poles. I have just finish writing for my Grandchildren, My Early Years, up until I got married in 1962. I would appreciate if you could indicate the likely road name that Bulwer Park Hotel was located and the likely area in Durban that this 2nd Hotel was in.
    According to my mother’s papers, My aunt and cousin lastly lived in Archbell Road, in around 1980s. This would indicate that both hotels had been sold. My cousin also named Elsie (Johnson), co wrote a book on scrabble, which is now unfortunately out of print.
    Best Regards
    David Cheesman

  53. Gerald
    | Reply

    Hi David,
    Your post set me a poser. Bulwer Road was not my terrain but passed it often enough when going to school at Marist Brothers as the Glenwood bus would take one to its terminus up McDonald Road and from there we would walk up the steep hill to South Ridge Road where the school was located. The Glenwood bus was a plan B bus as the Manor Gardens or Nursing Homes (Entabeni) bus took one closer to the school. Plan B from the sense that if you missed the other buses , the Glenwood buses which were more regular got you to school before the bell went.

    Back to Bulwer Road. I have no recall at all of the Bulwer Park Hotel but looking up my references it is there in 1938 at 202 Bulwer Road and still there in 1965 and in 1968. It is not listed in the last telephone directory I have of Durban (these are becoming collector’s items now) but that does not mean it does not still exist. It would need a drive by to verify this. The Bulwer Park Hotel was in Bulwer Road between Ferguson Road and Gascoigne Lane. Bulwer Road ran from Berea Road across to McDonald Road so the Hotel would be closer to McDonald Road. Opposite Bulwer Road was a diagonal road Bath Road which flanked Bulwer Park. The Glenwood trolley bus would come up from town and get into Umbilo Road, then turn right up Davenport Road, left into Bulwer and then take Bath Road which led to McDonald Road where the bus would turn right and head for its terminus up MacDonald. The terminus, a feature building, which is still preserved, was under a huge fig tree and on the roof was a large square clock. Here the bus did a U turn and headed the same way down to Durban CBD. So your turning left is correct as at the corner of Bath and McDonald Roads was a bus shelter / timing point where the bus would wait. It was at this point that the Glenwood school boys would board the buses. The tree lined road would have been Bath Road. Today Bath Road is a cul de sac and of course the trolley buses do not exist any longer. Bulwer Park Hotel by the way is listed as Private Hotel meaning it did not have a liquor licence.

    Your second poser is a bit vague and the 3 / 4 storey building with two turrets is a mystery. However it would be in the same upper Glenwood area. My recall is that the Glenwood bus after leaving Bath Road turned right to head up McDonald. After the Nicholson Road intersection McDonald Road steepened going up. Now the Y you mentioned was about half way up this section and this was the McDonald Road / Chelmsford Road intersection which today is still a large Y. The Glenwood bus as far as I recall did not go right into Chelmsford but carried on straight up to the terminus which was an even steeper climb.

    The only building that I recall with turrets was opposite the Entabeni Hospital. The building which must be very old was opposite the hospital and faced the Bay. To get to it, a very steep hill in South Ridge Road had to be climbed and on the crest was this building on the right. The Nursing Homes bus terminus was in the hospital grounds. This steep hill in the 1950s was quite dangerous as going down you picked up speed and at its base was the Marist Brothers school gate and the bus stop. Eventually the Durban Corporation regraded the hill and reduced its steepness. It is still there and still a hazard as you crest it.

    There is only one Cheesman listed in the 1965 Durban Directory and that is Miss JE living in Musgrave Road. I know that a Miss / Mrs Cheesman was principal of Mitchell Girls High School in Durban in the mid 1950s.

    So the Bulwer Park Hotel was in Bulwer Road and the other somewhere in the Glenwood / upper Berea area. I assume you have no photos at all with the buildings in the background. To familiarise yourself with the roads I have mention Google Earth will be a help.

    PS whilst researching Bulwer Road I recalled that the Parkview Primary School was in Bulwer Road. But in the old directory there was a Bulwer Park Primary School. I found a reference that the Bulwer Park School was renamed Parkview School circa 1941.

    • David Cheesman
      |

      Hi Gerald, I appreciate your prompt and very detailed reply. Sadly it appears that Bulwer Park Hotel (BPH) no longer exists, no 202 and a number of other even house numbers have disappeared. Probably demolished during the expansion of the local school playing fields. Or the house numbers have been realocated due to the number of new blocks of flats. However between Ferguson Road and Marcus Road is number 203, named Salvor Cafe, that looks very similar to my faded memory of BPH, although the back garden is too small to have accommodated the servants quarters. Regarding my second quest, you are correct in thinking that your Durban directories are rare. As a last throw of the dice, would you kindly look to see if my Uncle and Aunt Charles/Elsie Perkins are listed in your 1965+1968 Directories. As they both should have still be the owners, of this mystery hotel. I will search again my mother’s papers as I remember sending her my photos of the BPH.

      Many thanks for your time spent on my request.
      Best Regards

      David Cheesman

  54. Gerald
    | Reply

    Hi David
    1965 Directory C Perkins 9 Huntleigh Court 100 Hunt Road (runs from Berea Road to Clark Road) .
    CC Perkins 57 Bale Avenue Montclair.

    1968 Directory C Perkins 407 Arnleigh cnr Victoria Embankment and Russell Street (15 storey building overlooking the Bay)
    Looks like C Perkins moved from Huntleigh to Arnleigh.
    CC Perkins still at Bale Avenue. There are no E Perkins in case the address registered in Elsie’s name in either directory.

    If they owned the hotel were they resident there?

    PS. The name Parkview Primary School has worried me as I seem to recall that it was closed down. I recall that the Glenwood bus in travelling down Bath Road you could see PVS the school on the right. I then looked at Google Earth and your Marcus Road comment. Parkview School is no longer. It was absorbed in to Glenwood Preparatory School. See this link and look up School History. http://www.glenwoodprep.co.za.

  55. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Does anyone know of the Hunt Leuchas and the Hepburn Family,who came here more than 150years
    ago,and started many many companies.
    I have an old book on the History of these families.as to how they started their business in South Africa,

  56. Barry Strydom
    | Reply

    Worked as mechanic at International Harvester in 64. Old Mr. Morris was workshop foreman. Also assisted on truck assembly line and tractor assembly when needed. Truck tractors for the SAR&H were being assembled at the time. They even checked with gauges the thickness of the chassis paint.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Barry
      Here is a pic of IH staff circa 1947/48. Maybe you recognize someone. My uncle the late Alfred Chiassaro was Workshop Foreman in the 1970s.

  57. Frank Beeton
    | Reply

    I worked at International Harvester as a truck salesman in 1970. I remember Cliffie Morris as the Service Manager, and the name Alf Chiassaro rings a bell. Other staff members at the time included Bert Blewett, the well-known boxing expert, Ivan Muller who was our Sales Manager, fellow salesmen Tony Cooke-Tonnensen, Arthur Taylor, John Parsonson (later to become a TV star), and Max Hogg, and Ronnie Lamb who was a mechanic and also raced motorcycles. Our driver had the rather unusual name of Vitalis (more usually a hair lotion)! I enjoyed my time at “Harvester”.

  58. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Frank
    Look at the picture and you will see two of the staff on the left with pen marks above their heads. The one on the right with the prominent IH overall is my late uncle, Alfred Chiassaro who stayed with IH till he died in 1975. He was eventually foreman of the assembly line. To his left is his brother in law, Charles Borg who then was apprenticed with IH and left the company when he emigrated to Australia in 1951. In the 60s I recall they brought out the COE design, Cab over Engine and they were having problems with shipments containing the wrong parts. I had a dark room going at the time so my Uncle called me in to take photos of the incorrect parts which I blew up for him and he sent the photos along with his report. One I distinctly remember were cab fronts with holes provided for the windscreen wipers. The cabs sent however were for Left Hand drive vehicles so the wipers were in the wrong position. I still recall the term CKD, completely knocked down, as that is how the vehicles were received. I met Bert Blewett, he used to write up boxing in the Sunday Tribune. I seem to recall that when the sanctions were imposed in the 70s, IH stopped importing and I recall my uncle was sent to Rhodesia for a while. Maybe you can recall this. There is a photo of the exterior of the building in Sydney Road I posted some years ago on FAD. I have not got a photo though of the water tank above the building roof which was visible in the area with its big IH sign on it.

  59. Frank Beeton
    | Reply

    Gerald, interesting comment on the COE cabs. International trucks mainly followed the American pattern of normal control (bonneted) or semi-forward (short nose) cabs. I think the earliest COE model was the Transtar, a very powerful truck-tractor with Detroit Diesel 2-stroke diesel and Allison automatic transmission, several of which were sold to Hultrans, part of Hulett’s. In 1970 we got the ACCO cabover series from Australia, which was smaller (around 8 tons payload) and powered by a Perkins diesel. They were very good value (around R5195 at the time!) and I had a great time selling them. The IH assembly plant later moved to Pietermaritzburg, but the parent company ran into difficult times and their products disappeared from the local market in the 1980’s. It later reappeared as Navistar International (full history can be Googled).

  60. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Frank
    My uncle passed away in Pietermaritzburg so that fits in with your comment. ACCO rings a bell as well. The IH “bakkies” were well built for the time but Fords and Chev were big competition. I was trying to remember IH’s last days. If I recall they were taken over by CASE as CASE IH. I have heard the only tractor manufacturing company still operating in the USA is John Deere.

  61. Frank Beeton
    | Reply

    Gerald, the loss-making International Harvester Company sold its agricultural interests to Case in 1985 and was reconstituted as Navistar International in 1986 to manufacture trucks and diesel engines. Since then the Navistar business has experienced difficulties, and halted local sales of its trucks in 2013. However a 16,9% buy-in from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in 2016 has restored shareholder confidence and there has been much speculation that VW will increase its shareholding. IH was still selling small volumes of its pickups locally in the 1970’s, but the market was moving from American light commercials to Japanese “bakkies” and by the mid-1980’s even the Fords, Chevs and Dodges were gone.

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