Info Requests

In the past while I’ve received a number of requests for information and decided to collect them all in one place.

Tony Ward wrote:

Dear Allan,  I’m emailing to inquire whether you (or anyone else who views ‘Facts About Durban’ has got a copy, or a better digital picture of an old Artco postcard of Durban’s Louis Botha Airport that depicts an SAA Viscount. I have a very poor quality digital picture, and would love to see a better one. This is what I have. I have been looking for ages for a better copy, but it seems to be a pretty rare postcard.

saa-82[1]

Colin Paton wrote:

Hi Allan,
Having lived and worked most of my life in Durban I would like to know if you have any info or facts on the downstairs Roma and 67. Both were in the road next to the Playhouse down towards the Esplanade from Smith St. I had my first bottle of Dom Perignon after I qualified as a motor mechanic in ‘73 . Could greatly appreciate any any facts you at have.

Mrs Chris Chetland wrote:

Perhaps you can help us, we were chatting with friends who spent their youth in Durban and we went there a year after we emigrated to South Africa from London. We stayed at the Killarney Hotel and remember the Balmoral and Lonsdale. We are sure there was another sister hotel, but cannot remember it’s name and would appreciate it in fact we are correct and you could let us know its name. Thanking you in advance.

Bill Rice wrote:

Is there any information available concerning the former passenger/cargo steamer CORSICA, which was converted to an Ammunition Hulk in Simontown and was stationed at Durban during World War II.

Craig Esbend wrote:

Good day! I’m looking for the history or anything about the YWCA Hall located on the corner of Randles and Mayflower Road. We want to add the History of the Hall on our Website.

Zak wrote:

I am researching the very early Fire Brigades in Durban under Captain Virco and the Railway Fire Brigade under Captain Milne. I am keen on any photos from the period and would be delighted if you could help me find old photos or information on the brigades from the early days. Also do you have an email contact within the archive team at the Durban Fire Brigade .. I saw a grand photo of a white bearded fire man and Natal’s first steam fire engine on their website but cannot find an email contact.. That HAS to be my chap William MILNE and would love a proper copy of that photo and any others I might manage to get hold of. I have a real interest in the big fire on Smith Street in the late 1800’s.

Wendy Pickford (nee Mowat) wrote:

Hi there, Love your site. I also grew up in the Durban area, Kloof to be exact. But maybe you could help me out with a memory. Between Pinetown and Durban, just as you came out of Pinetown on the new double highway, you went past those flats on the hillside, then around some bends. The, on your right, driving towards Durban, was a “tea room”, situated between the new highway and the old main road. You could see it from the new road but had to go on the old main road to access it. I have been trying to remember the name and coming up with zero. Do you or anyone remember it? It was kind of like Pepper Pots on the old road in Hillcrest.

Chris Le Clezio wrote:

Do you have any information about the Marine Club that was situated along Point Road, which one of my older suppliers assures me is next door to the old Smugglers Inn.
I am currently scoping a minor revamp (compliance mostly) of this building which is currently the home of THE CHAIRMAN a popular jazz club.
Whilst investigating the building I stumbled upon the original service bar with it original panelling and service hatches and still pretty much intact. The is also an open area that was probably the club dining room/open bar and balcony where I can imagine tea and scones would have been served.

Tessa wrote:

Hi Allan, I have been doing some brief research on the history of Durban and its street names and am really only looking for the origin of one street, namely William Campbell Drive in La Lucia, Umhlanga, in the Durban North area. I was wondering if you could possibly give me the details of the origin of this street? I am wanting to find out if it is named after someone whom I know’s father, William Alfred Campbell, son of Sir Marshall Campbell.

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20 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Tony,
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/8270787@N07/2484137902
    The above link takes you to a colour photo of the Viscount at Durban. It is not the postcard if that is what you specifically want.

    • Tony
      |

      Thanks Gerald, but it is the specific postcard I would like to get hold of, or at least a good digital scan of it.

  2. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Colin,
    I can help on the location of the Roma and the “67” in 1968 taken from the Durban Directory of that year. The “67” location is given as 16-18 Albany Grove which is the name of the lane running from Smith Street down to the Esplanade. The Roma Restaurant is listed as 193 Smith Street which was close to the corner of Smith Street and Mona Road. I recall going to dinner there and it being on the first floor of the building. Downstairs there were a couple of small second hand car dealers and the Post Office Customs, where you had to collect overseas parcels was in Mona Road.
    So at that time they were not both in Albany Grove. The Roma eventually moved and became the Roma Revolving Restaurant on the Esplanade . As far as I know it is still under the same family ownership and still operating.

  3. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Chris,
    I looked up Point Road in the 1938 Durban Directory and interestingly did come across a Marine Club in Point Road. It was the Port Natal Marine Club situated at 146 Point Road.
    The name of the building it was situated in is given as Rees’ Building. It was a social club. The Hon. Secretary was FB Matthews. The Alexandra Hotel was at 124 Point Road. Would like to know if this information ties in. Why not take some photos to post on FAD?

  4. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Wendy,
    I am trying to visualize the location of the “tearoom”. You say in your post “you went past those flats on the hillside” . Are you referring to the Paradise Valley development that one sees on the right, heading to Durban? I travelled that road quite a bit in the late 1960s as it was being developed but cannot recall the tearoom. Was it an isolated building? Interesting observation.

    • Moira Badstubner (nee Williams)
      |

      Of course everybody visited the Pepper Pots..it was the highlight of a visit to Hillcrest…not today….the number of lanes in the middle of Hillcrest is frightening today!!!

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Moira,
      The Pepper Pots ( a tea garden) was in Old Main Road Hillcrest. I think Wendy is referring to a store lower down. I was thinking of Maytime Stores but that was more Kloof. Wendy has never come back on her query.

    • Moira Badstubner (nee Williams)
      |

      Thank you for your follow up…my computer has become a stranger and I can only blame myself for getting involved in something I shouldn’t have…thanks for your reply.

    • Pete May
      |

      Hi Wendy,
      I think you may be referring to the “Condor Barbecue” which I remember from my childhood days in Westville / Cowies Hill area. Hope this helps you and your memories.

  5. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Zak,
    re YOUR man, William Milne. Knowing there is a Milne Street in Durban I looked it up in my “Origins of Durban Street Names” book. Here is the comment: Milne Street runs from Brickhill Road to Prince Alfred Street……named after William Milne first locomotive superintendent of the Natal Government Railways, who arrived in Durban in 1876 in which year the construction of the line to Pietermaritzburg was commenced. .

  6. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Tessa,
    I do not have extensive knowledge of the Campbells but have come across them in several books about Durban I have so will try and relate what I have found out. The name Sir Marshall Campbell crops up as he being the father of quite a remarkable family. However one can go back one generation in that William Campbell and his wife Agnes arrived in Port Natal as Byrne Settlers on the ship Conquering Hero. They arrived off the Bluff on 28 June 1850 along with three children, William. Jessie and Marshall. Marshall was destined to become a sugar magnate. The Campbells were of Scottish descent.

    William Campbell started planting cane on his farm, Muckle Neuk near the mouth of the Unhloti River during 1859. He along with a few of the other sugar planters opposed the idea of importing indentured Indian Labour to work in the cane fields. It would appear his eldest son, William followed in his father’s footsteps as did Marshall Campbell who was to expand the Campbell sugar empire on the North Coast. Marshall left school at the age of 17 and went to work with his brother William at the Muckle Neuk Mill. It was here that Marshall learnt the ropes of the sugar industry . In 1874 Marshall went on his own buying the Aberfoyle Sugar Estate at Tongaat. He ran into financial troubles with this deal and had to sell. He then worked as manager at the Umhloti Sugar Mill , moved on to manage the Umzinto Lodge Sugar Estate. In 1882, the Cornubia Sugar Estate was bought by the Natal Central Sugar Company and Marshall who was Manager of Cornubia was made a Director of Natal Central Sugar Company. Eventually he and David Don ( of the Don Library) purchased the Natal Central Sugar Company. In 1895 he floated the company, Natal Estates on the London Stock Market. Under his management, Natal Estates started acquiring most of the neighbouring sugar estates . In 1915 Marshall Campbell was knighted. He died in 1917. One of his achievements with Natal Estates was the establishment of the first sugar refinery at Rossburgh . It was the first in Africa. By this time Natal Estates had incorporated the following sugar estates: Mount Edgecombe, Sea Cow Lake Estate, Waterloo, Phoenix, Sunderland, Auchenglas, Fountains, Hill Head, Ottawa, Redcliffe, Meadowbank, James Watsons and Newlands. In addition to all this, 30 acres at Prospect Hall was purchased which eventually became a good part of Durban North. One can but imagine the huge tracts of land owned by the Natal Estates.

    Marshall’s eldest son was “WAC” Campbell of whom I have not come across too often. I know he was a Colonel in one of Natal’s Regiments. Another child of Marshall was Killie Campbell, the noted Natal Historian. I am not familiar with the family tree but there was also Ethel Campbell , the original Lady in White and then whom I consider Natal’s best poet, Roy Campbell. They come from a different branch.

    Another bit of Durban history is the association of Sir Marshall Campbell and Kwa Mashu. The Mashu is derived from Marshall … Kwa Mashu being the Place of Marshall. Sir Marshall was highly venerated and loved by the Zulus. I do not know whether he donated the land where Kwa Mashu was established.

    So to finally come to your question about William Campbell Drive. I would say it was named after the first William Campbell who was amongst the first to grow sugar on the North Coast. La Lucia as I remember it , was once upon a time a sugar estate so that would be the link.

    My info has been drawn mainly from three books. Natal Seller Agent by Dr John Clark, Valiant Harvest by Robert F. Osborn, and Port Natal, A Pioneer Story by Janie Malherbe.

  7. Moira Badstubner (nee Williams)
    | Reply

    Regarding the Pepper Pots….tearoom/shop/Hillcrest

  8. ND Cunningham
    | Reply

    William Campbell drive is named after “WAC” Campbell son of Sir Marshall Campbell. As a child I remember meeting WAC Campbell.

    La lucia suburb was only established in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the road was constructed at that time by Hulett properties.

    You have also mixed up the family relationships. Killie campbell was the daughter of sir marshall and she was the sister of Wac campbell. Sam George Campbell was the brother of Marshall. Sam campbell was the founder of the Natal Technical College together with William Dryden Cunningham (my great grandfather) which is now the Durban univerdity of technology. Sam was the father of Dr George Campbell who became Chancellor of Natal University. Roy campbell the poet was a son of Sam and brother of Dr george Campbell. WAC Campbell had two sons and I think two daughters. Athol was a RAF pilot killed in battle of Britain. Atholton school, now in Umhlanga is named after Athol. Urban Campbell the younger son was the founder of the NSRI and has a rescue boat named after him. George campbell school is named after Dr george campbell. And yes you have got kwa Mashu right its named after Marshall. Interestingly he refused to sign the 1910 constitution because the Zulus were neither reprseented nor consulted.

  9. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  10. Mike
    | Reply

    I see that some people on your Facebook are wondering when the Killarney was built. Perhaps someone could post the following for them.:

    Killarney Flats
    Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

    People:
    Geoffrey Eustace LE SUEUR: Architect

    Date: 1939
    Type: Flats
    Status: Unknown
    Street: Brickhill Rd

    • Allan Jackson
      |

      Thanks Mike. I have put up those details on FB. 🙂

  11. Donald Davies
    | Reply

    Zak Hi
    Please would you contact me wr a Fireman by the name of David Cunningham.
    i have a newspaper article in which his photo demonstrating a safety harness for lifting a person out of an old Mine in Sarnia/PineTown area in the 1970’s is depicted.
    Thanks Donald
    cel. 082 459 1254

    • Allan Jackson
      |

      Hi Donald, I’ve messaged Zak in case he doesn’t see your comment.

    • Andrew Crawford
      |

      Hi Donald, I was actually looking for Donald Cunningham. If they are the same Cunninghams I would really appreciate more info. I remember that David his brother was a fireman. They lived in Escombe. They were sort of orphans, who were brought up by my Gran Maude Crawford

  12. Kathleen Fenn
    | Reply

    Wendy Mowat was asking about a restaurant and I wonder if it was The Condor Barbecue, which was situated between the Highway and the turn off into Cowies Hill (travelling from Westville) My husband and I had just been talking about it and trying to decide if it had been called the Condor Barbecue so I googled ‘Condor Barbecue’; Durban and came across this interesting site. I saw the reply to Wendy, confirming our thoughts re the name.

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