Requests and an offer

A few things today. Nicole White wrote:

Hi Allan,
Happened to see a comment by Rodney 20 March 2013 on FAD regarding Ward and Salmon’s Outfitters. I was trying to find out more information about it myself because of the attached photo I found. Hopefully more info will come in.

Ward & Salmons Dbn

Piet wrote:

Hi. I would really appreciate if anybody could assist me in finding more info on a Lady Firth who owned a property in Haraldene road. I am currently researching the historical and architectural significance of the property . Just any lead will do.
Kind regards
W.P. van Rheede van oudtshoorn (Piet)

Reader Hazel Adams wrote in with an offer:**

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

Gail Cooper wrote:**

Hi, I lived at Kings Hall Durban in 1962 with my family having come over from England. I was seven at the time and just wondered if anyone has any photos of it from back then ? Or anytime really?? Sadly my mother had Alzeihmers for quite few years before passing away and consequently threw out all of our old family photos. I would love to be able to share at least something of my stay in Africa as it was (and still is) a very special time for me. Could anyone at all please help ? Thank you

** These two items came in as comments on much earlier posts and I have repeated them here to give them more visibility.

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36 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Nicole
    Regarding your old photo I have no doubt that it is an old building going by the architecture. However was it taken in Durban ? Ward and Salmons was a “national chain” if I can put it that way with stores in Johannesburg and I think Cape Town as well. It could well be the photo was not taken in Durban unless it is so inscribed on the back. Is there any way of proving this? I have a partial picture of Ward and Salmons in West Street taken in the mid 60s and the building did not have that frontage.

    You don’t give out many clues. What street number was the property in Haraldene Road? Haraldene Road runs parallel to South Ridge Road, and meets up with MacDonald Road where it starts is downhill run to the old bus, once tram. terminus. I looked up Haraldene Road in the 1938 directory and note that at No 19, there were three properties all with the same street number so it must have been large in area. The people who lived at No 19 were Mr P.H. Hattingh, Mrs J Manning and Mrs R. Strawbridge. Haraldene Road’s claim to fame was that the Coelen (Penny Coelen Miss World 1958) family home was in Haraldene in the late 50s/early 60s. Her brother and I were at St Henry’s at the that time. The name Lady Firth rings no bells for me. I looked up Haraldene Road in the Origin of Durban Street Names book (1956) and it is not listed.

    Gail and Hazel I have replied as far as possible. See Recent Comments.

  2. John Dube`
    | Reply

    Hi, With reference to Gail Coopers request for a picture of Kings Hall I have one but don’t know how to attach it here. (I will try to email it directly to Allan) You could look on the TAFTA (The Association for the Aged) web site as they took over the building along with several others in Durban (Point Road, enterprise Buildings in Aliwal Street, Hollywood Court Smith Street above the Hollywood Cafe, Buckingham Court at Smith & Farewell Street, one in Albany Grove, 3 on the upper Berea (one in Musgrave Road, one residential home off Ridge Road and another close to Mitchell Park) and one in Wentworth. I cant’t remember all their names any longer but TAFTA did an amaizing job for the elderly. They had their own social services office in Kings Hall, a social club, inhouse transport to and from hospital, provision of furnature for the needy, community nurses etc. These buildings were all staffed 24 hours a day by very dedicated staff. At the end of Prince Street at the junction with Bell Street was John Conradie House which had both individual rooms for the more able and also supervised rooms with nursing staff, a big social hall, big and superclean dining room where Mrs Coton(fondly known as Madam Coton, a french lady) provided the most fantastic meals. They also had a devoted Stroke Club at John Conradie where people from all over Durban were transported to and from by the devoted TAFTA transport department. It was a case of all services under one roof. There also pictures on the internet under Aliwal Street Durban.

    • Allan Jackson

      The picture was e-mailed to Gail, thanks.

  3. John Dube`
    | Reply

    Hi again, With reference to Nichole White’s enquiry about Ward And Salmonds in West Street, the building was in West Street close to the Colonial Life Building. There is a good picture on Yahoo under “West Street Durban” and the photo is very clear and submitted by

  4. John Dube`
    | Reply

    Hi, A little more on Ward & Salmonds. I have consulted my 1940 / 1950 West Street photos and identified the building as being opposite the old Barclays Bank, 359 West Street. The building was on the left facing the sea between Gardiner and Field Streets.
    It was 2 buildings up from McFees Arcade & Henwoods. There was a major fire in late 1950’s involving the “Popular Bioscope & Tea Room” which was very close by. We watched the fire and it seemed to devour everything around it. Looking at the old photo the present Woolworths seems to be on or close to the building in question.
    JR Resin appears to have had the shop in the early days (Trams in picture) and List Brothers next door followed by Wrens the Chemist and Caneys Jewelers among others. London House was built next to Caneys there eventualy if my memory serves me correctly. The Ward & Salmonds shop was almost opposite Murches Passage. I hope this helps.

  5. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Nicole’s picture of Ward and Salmon’s has intrigued me and today I set about trying to put together the info that has since come in from John Dube’ which is very interesting. Since having the two directories 1938 and 1968, it would appear that many Durban firms up to the Second World War more or less stayed put in the premises they were in. Obviously a major catastrophe like a fire would change all this and John’s mention of such an event, made me look at the picture again. The picture always looked odd as the facade was intact and the rest of the building not there. So what were the chances that the photo was taken in Durban after the fire.
    I set about tracing Ward and Salmons. In 1938 they were operating at 358 West Street and 358 West St was the site of London Chambers. So using this building as the start point here are the firms that operated in West St at that time.
    358 Ward & Salmons 360 List Bros Jewellers 362a Sybille Graham 362 Palace Cinema Tea Room
    362 Maison Vogler 364 Alcock House 364 Rays Gowns 364 Wren’s Chemist 366 Caneys Jewellers 368 Moore Shoe Co. 368a The Natal Hatters
    370 Martha Lane. That brought you to the corner of West St and Field St and was called Challinor’s Corner where the Johannesburg Building Society Building was erected.
    I then looked up Ward & Salmons in the 1968 book and they had moved to 414 West Street which was beyond Payne Brothers and on the corner of School Lane and West Street. This was virtually opposite Greenacres. Now this did not tie up with my memory of W&S being down there. I recall it being next to Ansteys which was near Field St. I found this photo in a book which has been invaluable and though it shows Ansteys, it confirms my memory of W&S being next door to it. So W&S must have moved to 414 after 1968 and this address does not come into the reckoning.
    My next reference was Ian Morrison’s book, Durban a Pictorial History. It did not have any reference to W&S but in a section that covered West Street I hit pay dirt. There was Nicole’s building as it was in the late 1890s. It was called London Chambers. The picture also affirmed its location as the building next door street number is clearly shown No. 362. So London Chambers was No. 358 and W&S operated there at street level. If you compare the facade in Nicole’s photo and the book picture they tie up feature for feature.
    So what needs to be done is to find out when did the fire take place? The 38 directory gives the name of the cinema tearoom as the Palace not the Popular. The fire if it started in the cinema would have been next door and then spread to London Chambers. A visit to Killie Campbell Museum would no doubt clear this up.
    In my mind, Nicole your picture was taken in Durban, probably after the fire and the clean up process in operation. Was the facade saved. I doubt it because within the very vicinity London House and London House Arcade were erected as well the Man’s Shop and an Edwork’s outlet. So there you have it.

    The building London Chambers which in later years housed Ward and Salmons.

    Ward and Salmons when they were next to Ansteys in the mid 50s early 60s. They may have moved here after the fire.

    • Elizabeth How

      I well remember Anstey’s Building and the chains down West Street c1960.

    • Rodney

      I also remember the chains down West Street. The chains had diamond shaped spikes at intervals along their length. Someone (a letter to the press I think) pointed out that the spikes were probably in contravention of a municipal by-law prohibiting such barbs .

  6. John Dube`
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald,
    Sorry about the wrong name to the bioscope, I was a young child at the time and remember my father always refering to the bioscope as the “polular” to our family as we were regular visitors due to my father working opposite. My photo had part of the name obscured as it was taken at an angle to show both sides of the street.
    I look forward to your posts as we can rely on all the facts and you give so many varied looks at all parts of Durban and they are so precise you can actualy “see” the old places again. These wonderful places are often lost or replaced but the memories are always there helped by old photos. These attachments are good and Ward & Salmons is now emortalised. The branch next to Ansteys was visited by my mother and I constantly as Ansteys, Ward & Salmon, Stuttafords, Payne Brothers , Greenacres and the Hub were her favourite stores.
    Sincere thanks

  7. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi John
    With my rather limited reference books I was pleasantly surprised to unravel that one. Pictures are the key really and if you do have old Durban photos why not send them to Allan Jackson via Contact Us. I have partial editing rights but as the website is Allan’s he has the final say. The two directories I have span 30 years which more or less gives me an insight into a Durban period I did not know and then the other, a Durban period I had grown up in. You are probably of the generation just before mine, pre war.
    The 1938 Directory records a rather different Durban if you study it. Post war many changes came about as returning soldiers needed accommodation, many immigrants arrived, the baby boom came along and with it the expansion of services and the City itself. For instance the 38 Directory refers to Trams and their limited routes. By the time I arrived in Durban in 1948, the trams were no longer running and the trolley and motor buses routes were all set up and fully operational. I still recall that the area beyond Durban North, Virginia, Glenashley etc was offered by public sale to the people of Durban in the early 50s. I recall my family were interested in buying but never got round to it.
    Finally I still would like to pinpoint the date of the fire. I have a friend of mine who is a mine of information on Durban. Another fire I want to tie down is the one which burnt down portion of the Durban Corporation Telephone Exchange in Pine Street. This happened apparently in the late 50s and affected what was called the Level 2 or Level 6 Exchanges which served the Central Business District. When I joined the Dept of Post and Telegraphs in 1962, the Durban Corporation technicians had yet to restore the exchanges fully. Knowing what telephones exchanges were built of, a fire was devastating and more or less a situation where you scrap completely and start from scratch. I recall at the time being told that the DC Telephone Dept. had pulled in staff from all their sections to help out with the reinstatement even firemen, bus drivers and plumbers. Whether this is true or not I do not know but it was passed around and derisory remarks would come from the Dept. P & T staff as to whether they knew what they were doing! I recall as well London House having a substantial fire and then the 20th Century (Cinerama) being razed. These were in the late 60s / 70s.
    Thanks for the remarks though, I am often reminded by the family I should have been a detective.

    • Craig Elstob

      Hi Gerald
      I was looking for more information on my Greatgrandfathers Department/Outfitters store and came across your post which was remarkable.
      He was Salmons and they also had stores in Johannesburg and Germiston.
      I have an idea that the Johannesburg store was also a Sports Dealers.

      I was born in 1955 in Durban and by that stage the old man had passed away – so have little knowledge of them. I do know that they
      also had a beach home at Isipingo in the early 1920’s.

  8. Nicole White
    | Reply

    Lovely to read all the ‘discussion’ about W&S. The photo is of the Durban shop and was taking just after the fire. This was in the early 50’s. I know someone who is extremely knowledgeable about Durban and Natal for that matter, but unfortunately is is not computer literate, so it will take a while for me to establish if he can give me the actual date.

  9. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Nicole
    Just to tie things up it would be good to know when the fire did occur. It must have been pre 1954 as that is far back as my “good” memory of Durban goes. It would be very interesting to hear the whole story from your friend as to where and what started the fire and to what extent it spread. Looking at the photo it spread over the three buildings.
    Look forward to your input.

  10. John Dube`
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald,
    The saga continues but slowly getting to a conclusion. The fire may have been as early as 1949 but before early 1952. We moved from Toll Gate in 1951/2 where we were living at the time of the fire and it had happened before I started school in January 1953. Could the dates of the fires not be obtained from council records or the fire department? My dates are from childhood memories but we watched the fire and it was a large area involved. I have contacted friends in SA and they seem to think the time scale might be in the right period. I will send Allan some old photos so the area involved can be seen.

    • Allan Jackson

      I received the two pics OK and will get them up a bit later.

  11. John Dube`
    | Reply

    Hi Allan,
    Sincere thanks for that, could Keven Marden of the council not help as he is a mine of information on Durban and if anyone knows, or is able to get the facts, he would be the right one. (I don’t think any of us will ever forget Ward & Salmons after all this.)

  12. Graham Read
    | Reply

    My father was a client of Ward & Salmons in the late 40s and early 50s, and I have a recollection that he mentioned the firm’s accounts were destroyed in the blaze. When he turned up to settle his debt he was told the company was relying on the honesty of its clients as there was no longer a proper record.

    One of the “street photographers” of that time used to work the sidewalk outside Ward & Salmons and there are probably photos still in existence of people “snapped” as they walked in front of the firm’s display windows. In the mid-to-late 1940s these display windows sometimes contained a variety of hats, shirts and ties. There was a large advertising sign for Monatic Shirts above the sidewalk outside the store.

    In the late 1940s there was a sign against a pillar outside Ward & Samons with an illustration of a man with a cartoon head wearing a wide brimmed hat and accompanied by the words “Red Hot” in a stylised script. I presume there was more text, but I no longer have any idea what it was advertising.

    • Rodney

      Looking in a 50s Brabys Directory I noticed that Ward and Salmons had ‘Redhot’ as their telegraphic address. They also used to have ‘Redhot Sales’ from time to time and it was during one of these sales that the premises were burnt down. I seem to have started an interesting string of postings with my initial passing reference W&S’s Redhot Sale and their fire. In this internet age telegraphs themselves are now obsolete.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      What address is given for W&S? in your directory. Is it a 1950 directory? W&S’s telegraphic address was Red Hot in 1938.

    • Rodney

      The 1952 Brabys has W&S at 376 West Street. They are not in the 1959 Brabys, so presumably the fire closed them down some time between 52 and 59.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Rodney
      Looking at my 68 directory, 376 West St puts W&S in the Anstey’s Building in 1952. Also shown in 1968 directory is that between Field St and No 380 West St, a new building is in progress, This would have been the revamp of the corner which I think became the ABC Shoe branch. So the way I see it W&S were at 358 West St till the fire, then moved to 376 West St and I remember them being there around 1955. Then probably with the corner being remodelled they moved to 414 West St. This is were I have them in 1968. We will get there eventually!

    • Allan Jackson

      This story seems to go on and on. In an amazing coincidence, reader Keith Titmuss has sent in at least one picture which was taken by the photographer mentioned above by Graham Read. Keith believes that the first picture must have been taken in 1941 or 1942, judging by the age of his wife Delyce’s twin brothers being carried by their mother and grandmother.

      Keith thinks that the second picture was probably taken in the same location outside Ward & Salmons.

      Click images to view enlargements.
    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Following a recent small family reunion of the offspring of the Black family, the very old family photo albums were dusted off and looked at again. I had a look and lo and behold came across this photo of Mr Archibald Black ( father of my father in law) taken in West Street in 1939. Well it shows a dapper Mr Black in his white linen suit taken outside Ward and Salmons. This would be 358 West Street, the building that eventually burnt down. As Rodney and Graham Read indicate, “the red hot sale” was a W&S hall mark and just above you can see the “ONS” of Ward and Salmons above the doorway. The Monatic sign is also there. The street photographer must have stationed himself in this area every day.
      Mr Archibald Black

    • Allan Jackson

      What a cool suit!!

  13. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Unravelling pictures is great. The second photo of the young gent striding in town, means nothing to me but there is another Durban memory for me which you no longer see. Just behind him set into the pavement is a section of glass blocks. Several shops in Durban had basement areas and these were lit up by light coming from the pavement above via these glass blocks. One I distinctly remember was Cuthberts in West St. who had their men’s and children’s dept. below street level. The glass eventually became opaque with all the pedestrian traffic but the area admitting light was reasonably large and they were quite effective. Anyone recall these? Any exist today?

    • Rodney

      Regarding basements with glass-blocks overhead. Our family returned to South Africa in 1950 after 2 years in England. In London, the underground Tube Trains fascinated me, and also the rabbit warrens of underground passages at the stations. it was quite natural then, that in Durban I also found the underground sections of stores to be of interest. Besides Cuthberts, I think Ansteys and Stuttafords had similar glass-block ceilings in their basements. Paynes, I think, also had a basement section, but with no glass-block ceiling.

      One other thing that I remember about Cuthberts was their X-Ray machine.
      This would have been in the early 50s. You could try on a pair of shoes, stand on a platform, push a button, and see an X-Ray of your feet to see if your new shoes fitted well. This use of X-Ray machines was soon banned. I wonder if anyone else remembers them?

    • judy fidler

      I do remember the X-ray machines well and have lived 64 years to tell the tale 🙂 They had them at ABC too.

  14. John Dube`
    | Reply

    I have been searching for pictures of the interior of the Old Durban Station (Pine Street and Soldiers Way) during the times of operation of the old South African Railways. The old building was so special compared with the later stark replacement in Umgeni Road. I am sure many Durban folk hold very happy memories of the old station, the start and end of many adventures. The children would stand wondering at the side of the old steam engines, many of the drivers would show you the footplate, controls etc which was so exciting, and there were the sights and smells that a person never forgets. There were also the highs of welcoming people and the lows of saying goodbye and waving them on their way.
    There was George the Englishman who had the fruit shop at the Soldiers Way entrance, who would become most irritated if you dared to touch the fruit, you would get a curt “tell me what you want and I will give it to you”. There was an elderly railworker who used to change the huge destination and time board in the right corner between the local and long distance platforms and opposite the information bureau. You could ask him anything about the times, route etc of any train and you would get a full detailed answer. He certainly knew his job and was so pleasant and helpful.
    You could catch the PMB Pullman outside the station in Pine Street and the Cafe, opposite the ticket offices was a popular meeting place and a good place to sit and have a meal or coffee whilst waiting for the Pullman and trains.
    The local trains used the first set of platforms 1 to 6 and the long distance trains used the outer long platforms 7 to 12 (if I remember the numbers correctly)
    You could hand your bags and suitcases to the porters at the entrance in Pine Street (opposite Church Street) and they would take your items directly to the coach for you, they would even get your compartment number fron the ticket examiner for you and show you your coach. The first steam engine operating in Durban stood on the long distance platform opposite Church Street. Working on the old station was a great experience and there was a great feel of “belonging” for the staff. At night the night staff would visit Micks Pie Cart which was so popular. (situated outside the station in Pine Street in the late evening / early morning) The Railway Club at Pine and Aliwal Street corner was a must for most railway staff, the food was great and cheap. The interior was spotless and very welcoming. If anyone has photos of the interior of the old station with platforms, trains etc please consider posting them on the site for uis all to enjoy. The Internet is full of pictures of outside but none inside. My photos were borrowed and never returned!

    • Rodney

      My first job after matric was working for the SAR in what was then the new Oswald Pirow Building in Smith Street. As the office junior I was often sent to retrieve old files which were stored in the ‘Attic’. What puzzled me about this ‘attic’ was that it was on the 3rd or 4th floor of an approximately 10 storey building. I discovered that previously when the offices were in the old station building that the old files were in fact stored in the attic of that building. The name was carried over to the new building even though the new ‘attic’ was situated somewhere midway in the new building.

  15. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    When I went to do my 9 months ACF training, I befriended CJ “Boetie” van Staden on the train which took us to Tempe, Bloemfontein. Boetie and I remained friends and spent the whole 9 months together. Boetie worked for the SAR as a technician. Being in the same game, when we returned to Durban he organised me entry into Oswald Pirow one evening and I did a tour of the railway exchange which was below ground level. It was also electro-mechanical and more or less similar to the Dept of P&T exchanges. The Railways had there own telecom network which was run independently. I doubt if the railway exchange still exists.

  16. John Dube`
    | Reply

    Hi Guys,
    It’s very heartning to see there are railmen that read this great web site. I visited Rodneys stamping ground at Oswald Pirow regularly but thankfully did not have to work there. In parts of the old system the “Attic” was rail talk for dumping ground. There were a number of attics between floors and even in the basement! The railways were a very good employer and so many people spent their entire working life with the SAR. Perks were good and working conditions relaxed. You had to do your work if you wanted to stay there but it was very rewarding. Transfers were a but of a pain but you endured it, at least there was often accomodation where you went and also great pepole. I have visited railways in Europe and things are so different everywhere now, old European rail staff also enjoyed a relaxed stress free life. The men I talked to also felt safer due to the human presence and not being reliant on computers.

  17. Vanessa Dutton
    | Reply

    I remember a beautiful steam train in a glass cabinet somewhere in Durban Station. If you put a coin in (probably) a penny, it would start steaming and puffing away and its wheels also turned. As a chid in the early 1950’s I could not walk past with stopping and admiring this beautiful engine.

    My parents lived in Maidstone village and we would catch the steam train from Tesco Station to Durban most Saturdays to visit my grandmother who lived in Durban.


  18. J.Dube`
    | Reply

    Hi Vanessa,
    The engine in question was either a 14R (4x8x2) general purpose engine or a 16R “express passenger”engine (4x6x2), I rather think, delving through the cobwebs in my mind, it would have been the 16R which was an impressive fast runner which was designed for passenger services. The coin was 1 penny. The engine attracted loads of children and even adults stopped to look at it as the model engine was a good replica of the real engine. The money went to charity.

  19. Mike
    | Reply

    A little late but here goes anyway.

    I attach a link showing the Kings Hall flats (that’s now TAFTA).Thought some
    people may be interested in seeing it now, as I noticed a few requests , and for
    people who used to stay there. The picture can be rotated so there are
    quite a few other talked about spots available on the same picture.
    Yes the link is rather massive, but one can click(once) on it anywhere!.!1s0x1ef7a9ca06551485:0x15805c69e901f39f!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4s/maps/place/kings%2Bhall%2Bdurban/@-29.8582879,31.0279439,3a,75y,92.62h,90t/data%3D*213m4*211e1*213m2*211sU68DPuycQupbSCtjbjvxWg*212e0*214m2*213m1*211s0x0:0x15805c69e901f39f!5skings+hall+durban+-+Google+Search&imagekey=!1e2!2sU68DPuycQupbSCtjbjvxWg&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwihpIzygenLAhVE1RQKHfJaAjcQpx8IazAN

  20. Emrice
    | Reply

    I live in Randfontein on the West Rand. We’re selling our house and I was in the ceiling with the electrician who was doing the COC for the sale. We found a receipt from Ward and Salmons in Joburg… dated 1961. Anyone interest in a photo of it is welcome to contact me: Interesting bit history. Emrice

  21. Mike
    | Reply

    I worked for WS in the early 60s as a junior window dresser
    Or as it was also known as a display artist. Bernie Knutson was my senior a a very accomplished window dresser and ticket writer. When Bernie went on holiday a Mr George de Haas stood in for him. He was the display manager at Edgar’s clothing.

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