Old Durban Photos

posted in: Pictures 28



I was sent these pictures of Durban taken probably in the 1920s / 1930s.  Click on the pictures to enlarge. Dbn View from CuthbertsThis postcard shows the view of Durban looking across the Bay towards the Bluff.

Dbn North Pier BuildingThis is an interesting one showing the construction of the North Pier. As a youngster I used to fish off pier into the channel. I recall that a single railway line was left in place and ran down the middle of the pier. This pier has now been demolished and removed to allow for the widening of the channel.

Dbn Marine ParadeThis picture is of the Marine Parade showing the bowling greens which were a feature of the beachfront even up to the 1960s. The now demolished Model Dairy building on the Lower Marine Parade is in the background. The Lower Marine Parade as well no longer exists.

Dbn Lighthouse TRoomThis picture is before my time. I cannot place exactly where it was perhaps the view site that was on the top of the Bluff.

Dbn Floating HotelAnother interesting picture showing what I think was called the Floating Hotel.

Dbn EsplanadeThe Durban Esplanade in different times. Note the yachts parked on the side walk.  The building on the left would be the Durban Club and in the distance the Marine Hotel, another building which was demolished.

Dbn X L TRoomThen a modern day picture showing the Little Top and the XL TeaRoom. The bowling greens still there.  In the background were the beach trampolines which were popular at the time. DBN West StWest Street at Christmas time. Looking at the VW I would say early 70s. West Street now one way towards the Beach, Smith Street was one way down the other way.

I received two photos from a Durbanite now living in the UK.  The flower sellers one shows their original location in the 50s/60s outside the Soldiers Way entrance to the Durban Station.  The suburban train platform building in the background.  This is the building which was moved when Pine Street was realigned and is now a gym.  Note the blue Durban Corporation public telephone kiosk .  The flower sellers were moved from this site to an area opposite the Post Office Church Street side when the area they were on was acquired to build the parking garage. To commemorate the flower sellers who had been on this spot for many years,  a wall plaque of an Indian man and woman flower seller was mounted on the side of Poynton House.  Flower Sellers Durban Station The second picture is hard to date but looks like late 60s looking at the Ford Zephyr (?) passing by. I have not had the chance to identify all the buildings in the background. The rickshaw puller’s costume is still more flamboyant than some of the poor imitations one sees today.

Ricksha Marine Parade DurbanA historic photo showing the construction of the North Pier. No indication of the date. The locomotive appears to be  an Natal Govt. Railways Hunslet Tank Loco 0-6-0 named the “John Milne”. Built by Hunslet in 1879 as the first locomotive for the Natal Harbour Board.

FAD North Pier Building






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28 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Two additional photos have been added.

  2. Lynn Raw
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    The wall plaque of an Indian man and woman flower seller was by Mary Stainbank (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Stainbank ).

  3. Keith Thomas
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    Is the building on the right of the photograph not the old Eden Roc Hotel

    • Yvonne Marais Horak

      Yes it was owned and run by the Frazer family. They were known for their excellent Old Years eve Ball. I was Bridesmaid at the wedding of the youngest son who married a friend and a colleague of mine. THOSE were really the GOOD OLE Classy days!! Further up was the old Torquay Hotel. That was owned by parents of Lynton Israel . Now I think the Maharani or Elangeni is there. Anyhow a few years later the Torquay made way for Hylton who teemed up with Solly Kerzner for the new Hotel. Solly’s Parents owned the Old Manora Hotel for many years and then Solly also bought the Old Palace Hotel at he back near to where the Claridges was -South Beach end. Claridges was then new and a Friday sunset get together for the Social Crowd at the Cookie look !! Never missed that we did. Gosh ! I knew them all as we were the young Party Crowd in those days. We ended up all over the Globe later years. How the years have flown.Maybe you remember some of those too Keith. !

    • Gerald

      Hi Yvonne
      Thanks for the input. I am not familiar with the Manora Hotel. Was that in Durban? I met Sol Kerzner when he built the Beverley Hills Hotel in a rather remote place then, called Umhlanga! I was involved with PABXs and the hotel had a problem and I was called out to sort it out one Friday evening which I did. I never took up Sol’s offer of dinner on him!! I must say whenever we went to the hotel to do maintenance on the system, a waiter would arrive at the equipment with a tray of tea for us. As you say GOOD OLE days.

  4. Gerald Buttigieg
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    Hi Keith,
    Yes that is the Eden Roc Hotel and continuing to the left: Montezuma (a block of flats),
    on the corner of Somsteu Road the Cumberland Hotel, Althea Court on the other corner, then Kangelani (the tall building) Rialto Court, Myhill Mansions and Mentone Flats. Not sure of the date but the car is a Ford probably late 50s/ early 60s. The road running past the hotels is Snell Parade and it looks like there are some roadworks on the go. I have an idea the road the Ford is on is the one which lead to the Lower Marine Parade which became a one way in that direction. It was the way to get to the two favourites , The Nest and the Cuban Hat.

  5. Gerald Buttigieg
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    I had the opportunity today of going into Durban Central specifically to take a picture of the wall plaque that I mention in my post about the flower sellers. Here it is taken from the Station building across the road. The plaque is on the Pine Street side of the building. As indicated by Lynn Raw the artist was Mary Stainbank.

    Note the corner shop is still a music store Natal Sound & Music.

  6. ivan beal
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    the eden roc hotel is now an old age home, i can remember frequenting the captains table restaurant on top of the eden roc hotel, it was very good with an extensive wine list and very good food

  7. Yvonne Marais Horak
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    What a blast from the Past!. Thanks for that Greg. Certainly rekindled some very good Memories AND a few good chuckles. Ivan I nearly forgot about the Captain’s table and the legendary Prawns!Food .Was right up there with the Smorgasbord at the Edward. Another old favourite !. Could write good book about those days.!

    • Steph

      Hi there- are you still in contact with Colleen Frazer and Nico Frazer? I used to live next door to them and have often tried to find her since we moved away in 1990!

    | Reply

    I also remember the Grand Hotel at Tyzak Street,a private hotel,owned by an elderly couple.Not fat was the Four Seasons Hotel.then on the South Beach was the Tropicana Hotel.and not far was a Famous Prawns –Restaurant
    not sure the name.and a Famous Holiday Flats was St.Moritz in West Street,

    • yvonne

      Gosh Danny, good memories coming back.! The Tropicana used to be the Claridges if I remember and Four and Jacks and a Jill used to be there at cocktail hour at the Cookie Look! Boy oh Boy, so were all us from the Beach Crowd and all the Airline Staff and Travel Agents of which I was one.Fridays was the highlight, thereafter dinner of Prawns and then we used to hit the nightspots.In those days Solly Kerzner was also young had just bought the PALACE behind Claridges and used to have Talent Competitions,LONG before the Beverly Hills days. We knew Solly well from his bookings at the Airline .He was still working as an Accountant and his Parents still owned the Kosher Mnora Little Hotel down a side street not far from there. Used to speak to his Parents often as his father used to stand in the door people watching. . Gosh believe me I could write a book about those days !

    | Reply

    Hi Yvonne,I think the hotel is parents owned was in Tyzak Street,he ws also an accountant their.It was a private hotel,mostly fort the Senior Citizens.I also thought that they owned the Grand Hotel.
    Their was also a Prawns Place called the Mykonos ,I used to work at the Killarney Hotel,a very large Hotel painted in Green,it was known as the largest hotel in Africa.owned by Roy Palmer then taken over by the Goldberg Family, those were the good old days.

    • Yvonne Marais-Horak

      Hi Danny,
      Hope you and your family are keeping well and still healthy.
      Oh I do remember the Killarney Hotel so well. Also the Palmerston.. Buller Behm and his Combo were the band there on friday and Saturday nights. Good dance music and was very popular. also . and then the Myconos . Many good seafood meals and prawns we enjoyed there. ! Wow, Durban used to be “THE” Place for all the Transvaal people for holidays. During the July Handicap ,Easter and December it was packed.Durban was a clean Garden City. The gardens and flowers along the City Hall and the Square opposite and the areas around central Durban, Post Office and near the flower Sellers, were also packed with Visitors and many taking photos of the plants and flowers.Hanging flower baskets etc. The Tea Gardens nearby with the fountain , ( cannot remember the name just now) on the Post Office side a bit further up, was so popular too. Off course, some of the best curries were at the Royal Hotel. Was booked out well in advance in Season . Durban was also SAFE then. Lots of people Window Shopping at night up west street. When the Christmas Decorations were up in West Street, it used to be packed at night with people and families enjoying the lights and strolling up West Street. The station in Town was so good for Tourism. It should NEVER have been moved at all. Rather the Rail system improved and geared to Tourists. The trains were safe, absolutely clean. The Compartment had green leather Seats and the linen was immaculately clean for overnight journeys. The railways had the best coffee ever. The meals in the dining room were a treat! and SILVER cutlery, teapots etc.Many people commuted to work in the City Center on suburban trains too. We often did ourselves instead of by bus.I t was safe, even for woman alone and even the last late trains. Railways Police on Platforms and conductors on trains etc/ The cafe at the station had good food and Surprise!, coffee and tea served in heavy Silver Teapots with the railway Emblem engraved on !! Had excellent pies with curry gravy on top too and good chips . One of our childhood favourites. The early full house breakfasts were very good too if arriving by train.Very good sandwiches and Cakes. Many may remember the old Pie Cart that was near the station too. Their Pies and curry gravy was also a late night treat for Revelers. AND the Restaurant at the OK Bazaars, after the shopping was done. The Center City was also much frequented and not just the beach front with all the attractions that were there. Easy to reach the Botanic Gardens in those days by bus from town and the Cream Scones and Tea were a highlight there. The best Botanic Gardens in Africa.! It just was the very very best City in South Africa to live in during those days. Well managed, well organised, SAFE and clean and facilities bar none. Let me know what you are keeping yourself busy with now Danny. and how life has treated you along the way since. Yes, we ALL grow old and good memories are then such a blessing. Best wishes to all.

  10. Roger Wright
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    1950-60s it was corned beef sandwiches every Saturday for lunch sitting on the Eden Roc hotel ‘veranda/stoep’. The fabulous Zulu rickshaw plied passed regularly . . . just part of every day life. Miniature railway, and snake park were still popular.

  11. Graeme
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    That buliding is Poyton House????

  12. Beryl Coulston
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    Remember tbe Blue Lagoon at the mouth of the Umgeni. One had coffee there after Ice skating or whatever. I was in car which went into the river. Hit the headlines in 1957 or was it 1958. Have the cuttings still. There were 4 of us in a baby Fiat. I wonder if people still go there. I have been in the UK since 1959.

  13. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Beryl
    Yes,The Blue Lagoon is still in existence,and always very busy,its not like in the 60s,its now very different
    and a Tourist Spot, Its busy every day and is more modern.Many Eating Houses and has a extended
    Car Park.On your visit,you will be surprised

  14. Mariette
    | Reply

    Hi there.
    Can anyone stille remember the “coochie”/ “coochy” (spelling) hotel? My best memories of holidays were in coochie hotel in the early 70’s. If i just can know the address please..?

  15. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Mariette
    You are probably thinking of the Coogee Beach Hotel. Tyzack Street . Tyzack Street runs between Marine Parade and Point Road and is parallel to West Street.

  16. Mariette
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    Oooh… thank u soooo much!!!! I would LOVE to go see how it looks like these days!!!

  17. Valerie
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    Thank you for posting these old photos of Durban, they bring back such happy memories of an era long gone. I was born in Johannesburg in 1938 but my parents moved to Durban when I was about three years old. My earliest memory was attending a day crèche in Kent House in Smith street. My Grandmother Matilda Swift-Luke owned the Coogee Beach Hotel in Tyzack Street which extended through to Smith Street.
    All the family members worked in the Hotel including my parents. Gordon and Jane Loynes. My parents had a flat in the old Tyzack Mansions Building which my grandmother purchased. I attended Addington Primary School till Standard Three and then continued my education at the Convent in Broad Street.
    Thank you Gerald for posting these old Durban photos they bring back such beautiful memories of an era long gone. I now live in Vancouver, Canada and am in my early eighties.

  18. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    HI Valerie
    You mentioned Kent House and it rang a bell so I decided to try and trace where it was. It was at 509-511 Smith St and Dudley Andrews had his Dance Studio there. That was the memory as in the 60s there were quite a few dance studios in town, Kinrade Potter, Myklebust etc. The building was the premises of Silver Garbus Wholesale Tobacconists, Confectionery (Kilty Sweets) and General Sales. Kent House does not appear in the 1938 Durban Directory I have so must have been relatively new when you went there. The Convent you mentioned I assume is the one in St Andrew’s St which catered for Junior and High school . St Joseph’s which was on the corner of Smith and Broad Sts was only a junior school but the Convent itself for the nuns was in Broad St hence Convent Lane. The Coogee Hotel was being discussed on Face Book recently and there was confirmation it ran from Tyzack to Smith Sts. What years would your grandmother have owned it?
    The name Loynes also rang a bell there was a David Loynes at Marist St Henry’s in the late 50s early 60s. Big boy rather chubby if I recall. Any relation?

    Edit: Here is a picture of Kent House circa 1964. I think Dudley Andrews Studio was upstairs.
    Kent House Smith Street

  19. Roger
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    Wonderful read, thank yo Gerald. The Silver Garbus Wholesale Tobacconists building is most impressive architecture, it would stand its ground in many a High street to this day. Looks as though the shop-front sun blinds (awnings) are rolled up, as the sun hadn’t come round looking at the shadows below the vehicles. Roger

  20. Mariette
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    Hi there.
    PLEASE can someone send me pictures of the Coogie Hotel?
    I stoll remember the smell of that hotel.
    Good…. GOOOOD old days

  21. Wendy Jackson-Hill
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    I am trying to remember the name of a night spot at the Killarney Hotel back in the earl;y 60s not The Monks Inn or The Med, it was before that. Lovely place for Friday and Saturday night dinner dancing. Do hope someone can help my tired old brain!

    • Danny Moodley

      Hello Wendy, I think you are talking about the ELPASO
      or it might be the Zanzibar Room
      some of the Musicians would have been Colin Penn
      Billy Forrest, Jody Wayne with Little Joe and the Travellers
      this is in the 60s. It was a Big Green Painted Hotel
      hope I helped

  22. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Wendy Jackson-Hill,
    The only night spot I can find associated with the Killarney Hotel is the Golden Cage. This from a 1958 Directory.

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