Point Road

For many Durbanites who are now ex pats this may be of interest as no doubt the older ones may remember when Point Road was not that bad. In the late 60/70s , the bottom end of Point Road at night was always a hive of activity with Smugglers leading the way as an off beat entertainment centre. If you were young and daring and nothing on, a trip down that way would surely have some entertainment value; strip shows, music, dancing, the occasional fight (known as a raut in the slang used then ) taken out into to the street and a racial mix defying the laws of the day. 

Point Road as I remember it was like divided into 3 areas. The area nearest Smith Street was hotel accommodation and also commercial, dominated by the small shops in what was known as Point Road Corner. This corner was demolished in the 70s and replaced with a very tall block of flats. There was an OK Supermarket in the area roughly where the Currie’s Fountain monument stood for many years. This was the water trough with the cherubs which has now been moved to the Botanic Gardens. The hotels were not that grand in that they were old then. Amongst them was the Lucey’s Hotel, the Lucien (usually painted a bright light blue), SeaBreeze Hotel , St. James’s Hotel. In this area as well was the Fontbin Building owned by the Chinese Fontbin family who ran the Phoenix Chinese Restaurant in Point Rd. This was a very popular restaurant and normally you had to book to get in over weekends. The second area, beyond the St James Hotel, Point Road on the one side was residential and on the opposite side, (the Bay side) commercial. Blocks of flats and some single houses as I recall. One was Ark Royal which my father told me was the name of a British warship.  At street level of the Ark Royal building was a tearoom cum restaurant where decent Sunday lunches were served. On the commercial side I remember Natal Motor Industries ( Mercedes Benz) had a vehicle service centre and salesroom, TW Beckett (Five Roses Tea) had their offices , St Peter’s Catholic Church was on the left ( always thought it had sombre architecture for a church),  and then there was Elwyn Court virtually next door to St Peter’s which was a Durban Corporation block of flats. Elwyn Court is a massive block of flats built to cater for those who were in the sub economic class. I remember my late father in law who worked for the Durban Corporation Engineers’ Dept. relating that the building was the bane of that Dept. in that they had to attend to, on a daily basis, of something being broken, something not working , something needing attention. After someone fell out of a window, every window had to be fitted with burglar guards. A massive undertaking if you look at the size of the building.

Then the last area was that leading down to the Point Docks. Here was the Vasco da Gama Clock monument on an island in the road as well as public toilets which though not well kept had some fancy tiling which showed at one time they were quite graceful buildings. Most of the buildings down this end were all old buildings with interesting facades and which if they had been preserved would have made the area most attractive today. Down this end as well the railway lines crossed Point Road and headed to the SAR&H workshops as well as to the old North Pier which had a single track running down its entire length. The Harbour Master’s building was here as well though in the 60s I think it was not used at all. Down this way the ships’ chandlers , bonded warehouses and shipping agents had their offices and storage areas. At the end of Point Road was the Point Ferry which for a few pence you could take a trip across the channel and land up on the Bluff. I cannot remember the name of the ferry but it was run by SAR&H and not a private enterprise. One must not forget that the first train to run in South Africa was the Durban -Point railway which I have written up on FAD. I cannot remember any plaque that was mounted in this area to commemorate that event. And finally the Point trolley buses travelled the length of Point Road coming up West Street and turning at the Point Road corner. At the end of Point Road they did a U turn and head back to town.

Looking at the pictures I am posting, one would think that Smuggler’s Inn was beyond saving. Pictures courtesy of the Sunday Tribune.  Click on pictures to enlarge them.

Front of Smuggler's Inn
Front of Smuggler’s Inn

Smugglers 2

The next picture was the Lucey’s Hotel (562-564 Point Rd) on the corner of Point Road and Smith Street.

tonglok 1

Not many realise that whereas West Street used to run as a wide street all the way down to the shore line and meet up with the Lower Marine Parade (all changed now), Smith Street was only a wide street as far as where it met up with Point Road. It did however continue across Point Road but as a narrow street down to the Marine Parade and it is shown here in the picture with what looks like the old street name sign and its new name of Pixley ka Seme St.   The Lucey’s Hotel must have closed in the early 70s for as far as I know it was bought by the Chinese Ma family and turned into single accommodation. The Ma family converted what must have been the hotel foyer and dining room into the Tong Lok Chinese Restaurant. This became a very popular restaurant as well and we, as family, lunched there often on Sundays. I recall the entrance was a red circular portal and you entered to be met by members of the Ma family at the reception desk. All the decor was Chinese. The hotel rooms were all converted into flats and all the wooden windows were changed for aluminium frames. The whole building was well restored .  I am not sure what happened but the restaurant closed down in the 1990s, I seem to recall there was a failed sale and then the building was taken over by vagrants. From the picture it is obvious it has been gutted of all fittings and is now derelict.

I checked in the 1938 Durban Directory and Lucey’s Hotel is listed.

backpackers 1The last picture shows an old Point Road building which is now used as a Backpackers. From the picture it looks like No 154 Point Rd and from the 1938 and 1968 Directories that is the National Union of Seaman and the Seamen’s Institute building. Obviously a listed building which is being retained. Looking at the new building in the background, one of the Point Development projects, this building would be at the lower end of Point Road on the left hand side looking at the Bluff. Looking at the adjacent ,also derelict looking building , that would be 150/152 Point Road. From the two directories, in 1938 that was Clock Hairdressing Saloon and in 1968 Clock Hairdressers.  The CLOCK in the name would refer to the Vasco da Gama Clock. Another instance to show how many properties remain in situ over many years in Durban.

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84 Responses

  1. Tony Miller
    | Reply

    Mr Barnard The Shoemaker was the go to man for the repair of dancing shoes.
    Having 2 daughters doing tap, Ballet and Modern , Mr Barnard’s Repair shop was a regular port of call.
    I often bump into him in the Glenwood area.
    What a gentleman.

    Another gentleman many of us may remember is Pieter Spies.
    He operated a photographic studio on the corner of Clarke and Cleaver Roads for many years.
    Mr Spies and his wife did many wedding photos, including my own, as well as school photographs.
    He was very particular and always produced the most incredible photos.

    Talking of photographers….Bernard Mills took baby photographs for almost all of the Durban Families. His son Doug continued the business, eventually working from home. Doug and his wife has subsequently relocated to Canada.

  2. Tony Miller
    | Reply

    Many may recall The Crystal Corner, a Bakery and delicatessen in Point Road, in the block next to OK Bazaars. They were open 24 hours and had the best Shawarmas. After a night out it was a definite stop over.

  3. ivan beal
    | Reply

    what was the name of the hotel towards the end of point road that used to have a band friday or saturday night, i can remember one time that they had a band called the baron knights, i am not sure but i think they may have come from england. the hotel was also known as a place where a sailor could take a girl and get a room with no questions asked

    • mel

      The only hotel that I remember in that area that had live music on weekends (some of my musician friends had regular gigs there) was the Palmerston, in Palmer Street – just around the corner from, and close to, Point Road.

    • Derek Hodge

      Hi Ivan
      I lived next door to the lead singer of the Barron Knights in the UK, they only came out to South Africa in the mid 70s with the Petula Clark Show, they stayed a couple of weeks touring the major centres.

  4. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Ivan,
    I looked up Point Road (now Mahatma Gandhi Road) in the 1968 Dbn Directory. Point Road numbered from the that end of Point Road upwards towards West Street. Keeping to the “lower” side of Point Road on the LHS were at No 85 The Criterion Hotel, and the next one way up at No 253, the Drumcree Hotel. On the RHS, at No 124 the Alexandra Hotel, and the next one way up Point Road was the the then rather grotty St James Hotel at No 444. The St James was not far from the the well known Chinese Eatery, The Phoenix owned by the Fontbins.
    Of the three contenders, I would say the Alexandra. Search for Alexandra Hotel there is a picture of it on this site.

    • Neil Herholdt

      Hi Gerald, I’m looking for a picture of a building in point road with a joker on the roof. Please can you help me? We use to pass the building on the way to the harbour. That was in the 90s and it was a scrubby place, so my dad did not want to stop for a picture. I have look on the internet can’t find it. Thank you, Neil.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      HI Neil,
      Cannot recall that at all. Whereabouts in Point Road was it? Near town end or harbour end? Maybe someone familiar with the area will comment.

  5. ivan beal
    | Reply

    mon cher gerald
    thank you for the pointer, i have been on to google and wandered down point road, it is indeed the st james hotel and bar. in fact i actually stayed at that hotel for about a month while i was waiting for my flat to come through. i had to apply for the flat and put down a deposit, in the meantime i stayed at the st james. it was a pretty rough place and it was there that the baron knights played friday or saturday nights. i was very young then, an apprentice at hayne & gibson. i remember when i started at h & g, my first year’s pay was 32/6 per week. one pound twelve and sixpence, does that bring back memories for you? OY VAY!!!

  6. Mike
    | Reply

    Thought some may find the attached interview rather entertaining, from somebody who obviously was there in Point Road during the “early days”…


  7. Mike
    | Reply

    A link to a rather bizarre memorabilia of Smuggler Inn……


  8. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Looks a bit sedate to me Mike. Interesting though. Wonder what she would say if she saw the condition of the Smuggies today!

  9. Connell
    | Reply

    Just wondering if anyone would remember or have any info with regards to a Mr Dimitri Lahana who owned a small little shop in Point Road called OK Cycle works in the 50’s -70’s. He was the brother of Stelianos Lahana who lived on the bluff

    • Keith Titmuss

      Hello Connell, I have just come across your post. I was at Grosvenor High School on the Bluff and remember a chap called Mitty or Mitti Lahana at the same school. I did not know him personally, but wonder if there is some connection with your query. I suppose at that time he would have been about 16 years old.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Connell and Keith.
      Obviously a Greek connection there. Looked up Lahana in my 1965 Durban Directory. S Lahana lived at 2325 Marine Drive Bluff and the OK Cycle Works were at 144 Point Road.

  10. Peter
    | Reply

    Thanks for the memory’s. I lived in Point road Ark Royal from 1980 -1985
    Worked for the SABC. I live now in Richards Bay. Durban isn’t anymore what it used to be. 🙁

  11. Jenny
    | Reply

    I remember Elwyn Court. I lived there, and I remember the little boy who fell out of the window. He was called Tommy Burns, and miraculously survived. They were on the 7th floor. I used to babysit occasionally – there were numerous children in that family!! I do not, however, remember that we all had to have burglar guards fitted. Will have to ask my Mom about that. if she remembers – she’s 85 now. Just to be clear, Tommy did NOT fall out the window whilst on my shift!! It happened in the daytime. But he was fine afterwards.

  12. Norman Sander
    | Reply

    My Uncle was the crane Foreman for Durban docks and they lived up Camperdown Road in a beautiful old railway house next to the animal quarantine centre. If one continued up this road you end up at Vetches pier and ‘Gremlins Beach’ (Gremmies) where I took my first tentative steps (so to speak) on a surfboard. In the building next to the Seamans Institute was the ‘Port Natal Marine Club’ where snooker tournaments were the order of the day. This club had the most interesting art memorabilia of sailors in comedic form consorting with the ladies of point road and undertaking other nefarious activities. Downstairs was a Cafe’ (forget the Greek man who owned its name) where I used to go and buy one of those pink cakes with coconut sprinkles and remember spending my pocket money listening to Otis Reddings ‘Dock of the Bay’ on the Jukebox. In later years I remember frequenting the Alexander hotel, Smuggies, St James and after surf lifesaving training and duties repairing to the pub (in the old Polly’s Lodge), the ‘Victoria Bar’ The owner was Carlos and his Dad (both RIP) and his Mom did the cooking and his sister ran the restaurant next door. I used to pop into the St James from time to time and invariably ended up buying a beer or two for the ‘battlers’ who would drink there, men out of work or down on their luck. One night there were 3 up country gentlemen mocking and taunting the patrons when I arrived. I asked them to quieten down, they wouldn’t and threatened to ‘beat the sh!t out of me’. I went outside and got my motorbike helmet and put it on to protect my head and went back in to ‘sort these guys out’. After that I was the hero of the pub….for as long as people memories lasted 🙂 . Part of my childhood, part of my life. Now, as a 12th generation Natalian, living and working abroad I look back at my town and my country and the decline and know that a part of me is gone forever. I’m 64 years old, my grandchildren will not know their heritage and my children have forgotten it largely, living their lives in the NH. I am indeed saddened by what I see.

    • Brady G'sell

      Thanks for your comment. I am a historian working on a history of the Point neighborhood. (my information is here: https://lsa.umich.edu/history/people/graduate-students/brgsell.html). I would love to either interview you or ask some questions over email about your time around he neighborhood, if you wouldn’t mind. I have interviewed one other family who lived on Camperdown, but I don’t think it was a relative. My email is brgsell (at) umich.edu.



  13. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Norman,
    Thanks for your reminisces. Although 10 years older than you I can relate to your memories of Point Road. I looked up the Port Natal Marine Club in my Durban 1965 Directory. The club was located in the Rees Building at 146 Point Road. The closest cafe to that was at No 142, Cosmopolitan Cafe next door to the OK Cycle Works at No 144. Unfortunately no name of the cafe’s owner is given. I assume NH stands for Northern Hemisphere. I looked up Sander and a NH Sander lived in Elwyn Court.

    • Rogan Coles

      Hi, I was at school with a guy by the name of Oscar Menzies. His family were of Portuguese extraction. He made mention of the fact that his father either owned or managed a joint somewhere in Point Road. It may have been the Cosmopolitan Cafe – otherwise known as the “Cosmo”. He often came up with fanciful stories about Smuggies (Smuggler’s Inn) and the Seaman’s Institute and that he had ways and means of spying on the goings on’s in the private rooms of either of these joints. Kids being kids, Point Road seemed to loom larger in our imaginations than it may have really been. Between finishing high school and doing my national service, I spent a few months working as a checker on the docks. Point Road was just across the way. The nefarious associations with the place were still there and thus, didn’t head over that way – which was all the pity. This in terms of the area’s colourful history.

  14. Louise Kinrade
    | Reply

    Hi. Interested to read about Point Road and especially Elwyn Court. My gran (Daphne Holding) lived there in the 60’s and 70’s on the 9th floor (?908) – recall one of her neighbours being Stella Blackbeard and the Gonzalves family (daughter was Anna Maria). Recall 901 being occupied by the Scotts who had a son (Terence ). All of us cousins spent our school holidays with Gran and uncle Peter because she could take us to the beach and the Big Top and if we were good also to the aquarium. We walked Point Road quite safely between Elwyn Court and West & Smith Streets all throughout our young years with no problems. Spent many hours in the playground of the flats. Hated the lifts as my cousins would jam them to tease me so I usually did the 9 floors by the staircase.

  15. Maria
    | Reply

    9th floor Elwayn court!
    Stella Blackbeard had a son guy. One of his children was a famous swimmer but can’t remember the name.

  16. Maria
    | Reply

    Mrs Blackbear’s son’s name was Guy!

  17. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Maria,
    Not sure but was not Paul Blackbeard his name.

    • Sandra Scott

      Hi Louise Kinkade, I remember u as a little girl, your Dad was Gerald, great Friend of my parents Audrey and Gordon Scott. The Young Terence Scott was my Hubbies cousin the Son of Val and Mr. Scott( Metro Cop) they had 3 children ,Gail, Terence and Darryl. Terence passed away quite few yrs ago, young age, his older sister passed away last wk age 67. Darryl is the only sibling still alive. He lives in Cptn. Val their Mom died just over a yr ago age about 86. Hope you’re well. Do you live in Durban or have you relocated ? Regards Sandra Scott.

  18. Maria
    | Reply

    Yes, now that you mention it.

  19. Jenny Karp
    | Reply

    Does anyone from the 1950s-1980’s remember my Grandfather Louis Joseph KARP, known as Joe Karp? Joe’s wife was Evelyn (Or Engela) & my Dad is his son Leon. Joe & Evelyn owned/ran a stall (Leo’s) at the Amusement Park on the waterfront. I believe that Joe also had 2 more sons with his second wife Johanna – the sons were Maurice (born 1976) & George.
    I am trying very hard to trace Joe & his ancestors in turn, without any success.
    I would love to hear from you if you have any news/photos.
    I live in New Zealand.

  20. graeme
    | Reply

    you so right Louise Kinrade. My late wife lived there with her mom. Terrence Scott, mite be wrong, but big fashion expert now. My parents were married close by in th church there. I was babtised there. thanks for jolting the memory.

    • Maria van Niekerk

      Yes Terry owns the hairdressing salons called Terry Scot.
      One in Musgrave centre, Pavilion, Gateway that I know of.

    • Louise Kinrade

      Hi. This Terry Scott at Elwyn Court is not Terry Scott, the hairdresser. The Terry Scott in Flat 901 was about our age and was into surfing etc. I in fact knew Terry Scott (hairdresser) and Sandra Scott as a youngster and they were already dating and soon got married. I always remember thinking how cool it was to get married and keep your same surname. My father was very friendly with Gordon and Audrey Scott (Sandra’s parents) – they were part of his social circle when I was in primary school. Gordon was a QS or architect in Durban. This crowd were regulars at the 67 Restaurant and the Los Angeles Hotel for Saturday afternoon live music. Gordon and Audrey’s old house (overlooks the Council flower bed verge on the corner of Mitchells Park) was also one of their regular party venues – I recall many nights being put to sleep in their bedroom. The house is now municipal property but still looks pretty much the same as it looked then – just lots of Spanish bars covering the windows and much of the garden (trees) is lost to the new verge layout.

  21. graeme
    | Reply

    Hi Rogan,
    I was friends with the one son…maybe older than the guy you knew . Peter, I think….moved out to the Werstville area later.

  22. Belinda
    | Reply

    We also lived in Elwyn Court in the 70’s. Along with the Rosslee’s, Du Toit’s, Horns, van Heerden’s and Oelofse’s, to name but a few.
    We were the three Robinson girls. We would all play down in the enclosed playground till late into the night, or until somebody’s mother shouted from one of the floors that we had to all go inside.
    Living in Point Road brought no angst, and we weren’t even aware how poor we all really were. It was a big family in that block of flats, where the Night Watchmen lived in the quarters under the flats, and would sit keeping watch, and sported large gaping holes in their earlobes which fascinated us kids, as they’d push nugget polish tin lids into the lobes to keep the holes open.
    We even had Tom Jones come to the flats when one of the playground walls fell on Margaret van Heerden.
    Not to forget Bangelina Mary who used to sit in the foyer, with a face full of caked makeup, stockings and dressed to the nines, with her banjo under arm. Only problem was she never changed or bathed, so the makeup grew thicker, the clothes dirtier, and the stockings unfortunately filled with her excrement. Odd thing was, we were so accustomed to seeing (and smelling) Bangelina Mary, that no-one batted an eye. Then again, we also had Aunt Peggy that never changed out of her beach gown, and her daugther that kept a sewer rat as a pet and chewed its tail. It must have enjoyed it, as it remained on her shoulder throughout, whilst Vivienne would chew at its tail. That too was something we didn’t even flinch at. It was the norm as far as Elwyn Court and its inhabitants went. Thinking back on it now, we really were so dirt poor in those flats, that everyone and everything was acceptable. Quite sad actually…

  23. Gerald
    | Reply

    Hi Belinda
    My late father in law was a Clerk of Works with the Durban Corporation and he used to tell tales of Elwyn Court which he would have to visit now and then. Apparently it was a real headache for the Durban Corporation with wanton damage and breakages which had to be constantly repaired. Your descriptions are quite frightening but I believe you. Poverty does somehow cause people to do strange things.

  24. Belinda
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald.
    I can’t recall much damage, but as a young child growing up there, it all seemed normal. I do recall that most often than not, the lifts didn’t work, or they took you to the wrong floor, or the doors would open and close on their own. We would usually opt for the dimly lit, black painted stairwell instead, and run like hell to get home before anyone/anything caught us on those stairs. The more frightening were the back stairs. They were on the opposite end of the building, and at the end of each corridor on some of the floors, was a waste room of sorts, where all the garbage would be placed until removed. Some of those rooms had old mattresses in, and there were many a tale of young girls being grabbed and thrown into those rooms. We would sprint past them like lightening. Sometimes you would see one of the doors slightly ajar, so that would mean back-peddling to the previous floor, running across the corridor and back up the front main steps, just to avoid those rooms. Many harrowing stories are hidden in the bowels of Elwyn Court. There was also an incident where one little boy burnt his sister alive by locking her in a cupboard in their flat, and setting it alight. I still recall the Firefighters carrying out her charred little body. Despite many a disturbing sight and occurrence in those flats, they also held some fond memories of close-knit friends and families. No matter how many years pass, I can remember those days like it was yesterday

  25. Gerald
    | Reply

    Hi Belinda
    Some memories will remain with you for ever no matter what. I can still recall when Elwyn Court was built. I was a young teenager and it must have been the biggest block of flats in Durban at the time. I think its length made it look extra large because it was no skyscraper so to speak. I used to pass it quite often early on Saturday mornings as I used to accompany my late uncle on fishing trips to North Pier. From Point Road, stretching far back, one would think that a lot of people were living there. It must be easily over 50 years old now. Do you have any photos we could post here?

  26. Belinda
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald.

    You’re right; the building loomed due to its stretch across from Point to Prince Street. We would always give our address as Prince Street and not Point Road, despite the post boxes being located on the Point Road side. Anything to avoid the Point Road association. The Prince Street side was really considered the exit of the building, but it was constantly used as a public thoroughfare to cut across from Prince to Point, or vice versa, and it provided a very easy avenue to get to the beach, The Little Top, Addington Hospital, or Addington School (Primary and Senior Primary).

    Unfortunately, unlike today, cameras were very scarce among those who lived there. A camera was a major luxury. At the time we lived there (1973 – 1981), it was rare to find people with home telephones, let alone cameras. So no,… unfortunately no photos, except those within my minds eye. I really wish I did have some, as I’m busy writing a book on those particular times and thereafter, and photos would have been a wonderful inclusion.

  27. Gerald
    | Reply

    Hi Belinda,
    I can sympathise with you about having no photos. I have a fairly good representation of my own personal life in photos and these are treasured because they recall times now so long in the past that with out them they would be forgotten. That is why I am rather enthusiasitic about this site because individuals are what Facts about Durban is all about. Living or having grown up in Durban is a Fact about Durban and each one has their own story to tell.
    I looked up Elwyn Court in my 1965 Durban Directory and from the flat numbering scheme it appears there were 14 flats per floor and the block was 10 storeys high. One thing I cannot recall was the Prince Street side of the building as you say a thoroughfare. I hope you have the resolve to complete the book you are writing. It is kind of uplifting remembering life’s journey.

  28. Belinda
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald

    Thank you. I have many regrets of not having photos from those days, but it was beyond our control as young children. Nowadays, even those that are within a similar bracket to what we were, have access to cellphones and being able to capture their childhood memories.

    As for the thoroughfare; anyone growing up in Elwyn Court during that time would recall it. In fact, the thoroughfare from Point to Prince and vice versa, was available in both the front and back of the building. The front of the building, which sported the playground and the living quarters of the maintenance staff, had a complete thoroughfare from exiting the lifts, going past some doors to the right, then up a few stairs that would make you adjacent to the playground. Just after the staff quarters were more stairs, which at the top, had a sort of additional landing, where you could turn left and access the first floor (right by Aunt Peggy’s flat, which we daren’t do or face her wrath!). Continuing forward would take you past the “07’s” of the flats (which all began at the Point side with “01” and ending in the Prince Street side. (Unless my memory fails me on this, I’m sure I recall none of the flats having the number 13. Those days it was still considered superstitious so all the 13’s were left out). In our time there, we must have moved a dozen times, to various floors, and flats. My mother had the propensity of moving every few months to see if one of the other flats were “better”. They weren’t. Anyway, continuing down that thoroughfare would result in you being directly opposite the back entrance of Addington Hospital (which came in really handy when I was hit by a car right outside the Elwyn Court Prince Street-side entrance/exit by an Eagle Taxi, and then carried into the hospital by a nurse who happened to be alighting a Putco bus that had stopped to drop off passengers at Addington’s bus stop).

    The other thoroughfare which ran at the front of the building, and parallel to the church also passed a small hall-type establishment under Elwyn Court, where movies sometimes use to be screened free. Not sure if it was arranged by the church or some other benevolent party. It could even have been by the Supervisor at the time, Mr Trollip. Anyway, that thoroughfare also brought you through some gates (which were at times locked, and others not….very inconsistent), and you would end up on the Prince Street side.

    Would love to hear if anyone else lived there during that time remembers all this.

  29. Gerald
    | Reply

    Hi Belinda
    In both directories, flats with “13” in the number are listed so perhaps this corrects your assumption.

    Just to place Elwyn Court for others as far as locality is concerned, it stands on Point Road between Hospital Road and Masonic Road. From The 1968 Durban Directory and along Point Road heading down to the harbour:
    Masonic Road, No 376 Christ Church of England in South Africa and Church Hall, then No 360 Apostleship of the Sea (Seamens Club) and Eleanor Frank Day Care Centre, Nursery School. Then Elwyn Court (no street number) then No 368 St Peter’s Catholic Church,then Hospital Road.

    As an aside from the 1938 Durban Directory, No 368/370 Point Road are listed as vacant land. From the Christ Church Hall, the Sunnyside Kindergarten School operated. St Peter’s Church is not listed so it must be of a later date.

    • Alison Chadwick

      Hi Gerald what does your directory say for address 40 Point Road. It is now the Waterfront Hotel – but such a beautiful building – so interested to see what was there before the hotel which was originally called Docklands. Thanks

      EDIT: Here are pictures sent by Alison regarding 40 Point Road. The one is a very early picture of Point Road, a portion of which in the early days was called Scott Street. The second is a recent photo of the Waterfront Hotel.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      HI Alison
      1938 : No 40. J.P. Banks Looks like it was a private residence. Next door No 44 was Miller, Weedon and Carruthers (Pty) Ltd. Forwarding Agents. I have an idea their building is still standing.
      1957: No 40 P.D. Oliver still a residence.
      1965: W.E. Lewis still a residence
      1968: No entry. Residence probably demolished.
      That’s all I got.
      Can you send me a photo?

    • Alison

      Hi Gerald – how do I attach a photo to this post (help) – my email address is Alison@msdbn.co.za – I can email to you. Thanks for the reply really appreciate it.

  30. Belinda
    | Reply


    Odd re the 13’s as I definitely recall there being something about that.

    For the 8-odd years we lived there, I walked those thoroughfares many a time, and I’m sure anyone else that lived there at even time can attest. The church was definitely there, as we used to attend Sunday school there and a group of students belonging to Scripture Union, would often take all the under-privileged kids for outings to the beach. Those were very memorable times and probably the highlight of living in Elwyn Court and being in close proximity to the church.

  31. Gerald
    | Reply

    Hi Belinda,
    I think you misread my post. The Church, St Peter’s was not there in 1938 as at that time the land was vacant.

    • Lukas Herholdt

      Point road is were I went to school.my family stayed in a place summer place.i use to work at that ok bezar as a child with my brother at the age of about 10 or 11 years old as a packer.and pushing trolleys. There was a park the to my mother use to take us there over the road of the flats.i went to Adington school opesit the spar.and later went to Adington on the other side of Point rd.

  32. Louis Pillay
    | Reply

    Hi. I used to work at SAR&H at B shed which was directly opposite Browns Road not far from Smugglers In. I used to some time have lunch there especially on Fridays when there was a lunch special. Recently when I visited the area, I found it completely transformed. I travelled to work daily from the North coast and travelled almost the length of Point Road. There was many shops and much activity. It brings back a lot of memories.

  33. Beverley Clark
    | Reply

    Hi. My Name is Beverley Clark – we also doing some research on my late dad Norman Walter Clark – fondly known as Bonnie – he was married to a Lambert – I noticed on his baptism certificate his abode was “Table Mountain” whilst the rest of the babies baptised were either living at S Lucey’s Hostel or S Cross – this was in 1929. Does anyone remember anything like that?
    Thanks so much.
    Kind regards
    Beverley Clark
    Email : eatsouthafrican@gmail.com
    +27 (0) 834741307

  34. Vanessa Cook
    | Reply

    I lived in Ark Royal 1971-1975 as a small child – the tearoom and also a habadashery were downstairs – the lift has a brass door and gate you had to shut . My Dad worked at the corporation too x

  35. Alan dB
    | Reply

    Hello all,
    My name is Alan – As a young boy I lived in Point Road.from 1955 – 1959. My father was the Manager of the Drumcree Hotel. I had a friend (Stuart) who lived at 32 Ark Royal.

    • Dolores Coullie

      Hi Alan… I am doing some historical research on my family and recently found a copy of my parents wedding certificate from 1944.. their address is listed as The Drumcree Hotel… I wonder if you had a any photos of this hotel.
      It would complete an amazing circle if you have.

    • Alison Chadwick

      Dolores I have some photos taken now if that will help?

  36. Mamosebetsi
    | Reply

    If I may ask who owns this buildings though?

  37. Ivy Baxendale (nee de Witt)
    | Reply

    I lived in point road in the 60s probably from around 61 to 66/8..i think. We were always at the beach, my dad (when home, as he worked away for Stewart’s and Lloyd’s installing boreholes on farms etc) would take us down to the beach at 5/6am..we loved that.. We walked to the Ark Royal whenever we could scrounge up a few cents for sweets.. My older sister and I would also walk all the way to town to go and watch movies on a Saturday.. Roxy, Oxford, embassy sometimes.. Watched Sound of music there with our mom.. We were quite safe walking in those days.. We usually walk the Prince street side.. Past the blood Bank.. And the hospital.. Addington Infants school.. Was there until Std 1..

  38. Ivy
    | Reply

    Our Gran lived in Alton Court, the old St James Hotel on the right (facing the building from the road) and Basil Manning tackle shop in the store fronts downstairs along with a Francis Frere dry cleaners depot as well. I think that may have been the original because my Granny always spoke about Francis..

    • Maria

      Yes I remember Francis Frere’s dry cleaners well! I think it was in the building, on the ground floor of Idlewild flats.

  39. Gary Rees
    | Reply

    Above Gerald there is a comment by Norman Sander dd 27/03/1917 to which you responded on 28/03/2017.Norman mentioned the Port Natal Marine Club and you identified that it was located at 146 Point Road in the Rees building. The Rees building was owned by my Grandfather who had the same Christian and Surnames, i.e. Rees Rees. He was a Welsh immigrant and was a qualified pharmacist. Not many men were university graduates during the Edwardian era. he married my Grandmother, also Welsh at Saint Paul’s Cathedral at Durban. They owned a large Victorian house at 16 Bulwer Road where they raised a family of five girls and my father, the youngest who was born in 1921. My grandfather did enormous trade with the sailors frequenting the Point Road area of Durban. By the time they were about to take their next berth they were broke and many of them had collected ‘gifts’ they hadn’t bargained for. In discomfort and pain they would approach my Granddad and ask his help promising to call on him first thing when they returned to Durban at the end of their voyage to pay off their debt. Risky business? Not at all and very, very few sailors failed to pay their dues. The few that did regretted their actions, for once my Granddad was aware that they had returned to port and failed to pay him what they owed he wrote details of them and their debts warning all other traders to beware such crooks. he also wrote a note advising the sailors not to call on his shop as they were not welcome. The details were posted on a board in one of the windows of his chemist shop, located on the ground floor of Rees Building, for all and sundry to read. Apparently a number of the delinquent sailors rushed to my Grandfather and apologising for the oversight quickly settled their debts. The reason was simple, being sailors they never learnt from their mistakes and many of those who had sought help before would be back again just before they were due to sail, broke again and seeking a repeat of their previous arrangement. My Grandfather also owned a farm on part of the Clare Estate where he ran a dairy herd and bred a variety of pedigree terriers for sale. There were Fox Terriers, smooth haired and wire haired, Airedale Terriers and Pembroke Corgis
    I tried to add a picture of my Granddad in his Masonic Regalia. He was a Grand Master of a masonic lodge at Durban. For whatever reason I could not post the picture (sorry not a computer nerd).

    • Alison Chadwick

      Hi Gary you will be pleased to know that 146 Point Rd is now an awesome blues and jazz bar owned by a delightful Mr Langa – he has his architect practice next door. I do walking tours of the Point, the area is fabulous and steeped in history. I love what is going down in the Point – exciting times.

  40. Chris
    | Reply

    I lived in Hospital road in the 60/s with my Mom just between Point rd and Prince st, went to Addington school from class 2 to standard 5, was part of the “pumphouse” crowd (Mike Esposito etc etc) where we surfed at Addington beach. Remember watching movies by Addington soccer field on Sunday nights……………., old Safari surf shop, was there…………………aaaaaaah the memories

  41. Amanda Smit
    | Reply

    Hi did anyone living in Point Road know Fernando Lopie Lopez and Hester they lived there from about 1964 to 1968/69

  42. Logan N
    | Reply

    My parents lived close to the end of Point Road(close to the water). My father was of Indian descent and my mother Irish (they married before the legislation against mixed-marriage was passed) This abhorrent laws wreaked havoc on many families but not on mine, directly. Of course, we couldn’t enter certain public place etc. Despite the disadvantages suffered as an “inferior race” my siblings and I excelled in education.I left the country in 1986 and married an American of German descent. I visited my beloved country in 1988.I would like to return to S.Africa permanently. However, my wife loves U.S.A. too intensely.

    I knew the Point area very well and felt very secure there although some people cautioned me to be careful as the area was known for criminal activities.Except for repugnant racist laws, my life in S.Africa
    was a happy one interacting with people of various races. I felt that my life was at risk when two security branch members issued an implicit threat that I should desist from any agitation against apartheid.

    May S.Africa move through her transition without hardships, violence , poverty and racial hatred towards any group.

  43. Garry
    | Reply

    Hi all Point road and the whole of South Africa will never be the same,I was back in Durban about 6 months back after been in Texas for 22 years I just about started to cry what a mess .
    But like all of you I have very fond memories of Durban I did my time with Schindler lifts there and got to know Carol the owner of Smugglers Inn very well she was always so kind to me .
    Blessings to all you fabulous South Africans wherever you might be now living

  44. Gary Rees
    | Reply

    Hi Gary,

    I also recall Smugglers Inn. I was an auditor during the mid 1960’s and my firm used to conduct audits at both the Drumcree and Criterion Hotels. I often confused the location of Smuggers believing it to be located in the Drumcree rather than the Criterion.

    I recall the owner as being a large, blonde lady – I cannot recall her name – who looked rather tough. Legend had it that during an altercation with a large Scandinavian sailor she had become upset which resulted in his jaw being broken.
    Typically of large ladies her prowess was renowned yet she was as gentle as a lamb with an very good sense of humour.
    On several occasions a friend – another auditor – and myself would visit Smugglers of an evening and the large lady would take care of us advising all and sundry that we were off limits. Being callow youths at the time we were not worldly enough to understand the full implications of her warning.
    It was only years later that the penny dropped and we realised she wasn’t simply warning the rough set against seeking a fight with us but also the scammers, bum bandits, wide boys and the like.
    As I recall we always enjoyed ourselves at Smugglers, especially the fare – perhaps not be gourmets it wasn’t as good as we thought.
    I must say returning to Durban in the early 1960s to commence my working like was an exciting time. It was during the hated Apartheid era but not being a political animal and rather naive in some respects I never gave much thought to racial issues, I was a young man enjoying the British wave of musicians washing over the world, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, etc. I was a working man and life was for carefree living. I simply enjoyed partying, girls, surfing, and pretending to be debonair and wealthy when I was neither. To me it was just a fabulous time to be alive.

    Patriotic to the core I cheered the Boks whenever they won against overseas opposition and commiserated when they lost Being a true Natalian I always backed Natal to win the Currie Cup, which never eventuated during the 60’s and 70’s.

    Life was good in those days and yes we had servants. We had an African woman known as Beauty, who came to work each morning, Monday to Friday and left for home around three each afternoon. We also employed an elderly Indian gardener over the weekends. I cannot ever recall anyone in the family ever being rude to either of our servants and they were only ever treated with respect.
    When my family eventually grew up and first my siblings moved away and then my parents abandoned me when they decided to return to Rhodesia our servants were terribly upset. Beauty asked me if she could have one of my dogs called Max, which I gave to her. She and Max had a special relationship and he would follow Beauty around as she hung out the washing, talking to her all the while, not barking but making strange noises in his throat. Somehow Beauty seemed to understand him and they got on famously. It was a strange time by any standards as my mother would do the washing in her brand new twin tub washing machine while Beauty vacuumed the floors and carpets. Once the washing had been through the spin dryer Beauty would take out and hang it on the line until dry.
    Beauty visited me several months later just to show me how well Max was doing. He certainly had not become a ‘ (edited out) dog’, all skin and bone, not by any stretch of the imagination. He had been washed, had no sores of any kind and was plump from being well fed.

    I retained the elderly Indian gardener named Peter for several months longer and he took over the household duties which now only applied to me. Eventually I decided to abandon the family home which we rented as I found the house just too large for me and I decided to seek some rooms in a private home. When I was leaving I invited Peter to take possession of an old scooter we had plus sundry items I simply couldn’t take with me.
    He smiled broadly and asked if he could bring some of his family over the weekend to help remove the scooter as well as many of the other items. I was amazed at how disciplined and polite his family were and there was absolutely no doubt that Peter was the Patriarch of his family. He ruled with an iron fist which was still apparent even though his older sons were well into their forties. I remember we had accumulated a large pile of Personality magazines which his family fell upon with relish. In a language I didn’t understand but assume was Gujarati, he told them to leave the magazines alone until he had vetted them, which he did, scanning each before he would give his approval for one of his children or grandchildren to take it. Any magazine he considered too risque he put aside and later he burnt them saying to me he didn’t want his family to become corrupted.
    Strange times indeed but for all that I have some very fond happy memories of that time of my life, which I spent in my hometown.

  45. Alison Chadwick
    | Reply

    Thanks Gary I enjoyed that read.

  46. Maria van Niekerk
    | Reply

    Thank you Gary for sharing your story. Love reading about Point and syurrounding areas. Have fond memories of living in Wellington road in the late 50’s, early 60’s.

  47. Slapnello
    | Reply

    Looking for the name of a random tiny gothic/electro club that only opened after midnight and stayed opened until midday, somewhere near Point Rd (Durban). Anyone remember the name? Didnt stay open long.

    • Maria van Niekerk

      Morning Slapnelo. The only club I remember in point road in the 90’s was 330. It was painted black on the outside and yellow 330 sign painted outside. It did look Gothic but I know it was not….I went there a few times with my girls on special occasions but it was not my usual hangout! 😊 The El Cacador was were it was more fun for my age group. 😇

    • Roby

      There were two, one called “Burn” and I could not remember the other but it was more of a Pub that played live music. I used to go to both when I lived in Elwyn Court.

  48. Garry I Hughes
    | Reply

    I was a old Schindler lift boy in Durban ,back in the day and worked on them all round that area ,they where very good days ,I now live in Texas for the last 22 years but still think back on Durban with much fondness .
    I was back there last year to have a look see ,I was very disgusted in what I saw what has happened the that fine city and SA for that matter what a mess ,well we know it was the best .

  49. Maria
    | Reply

    I know of a club called burn but not sure where that was. What year are you talking about more or less? The other place I am thinking of where they played live music was the Harlequins in Rutherford street. There was also a club called Behind the Moon where they played live music too.

  50. Desmond Kuhl
    | Reply

    I played in a band call Celebration in 1975 at the Smugglers Inn and was wondering if anyone watched us at that time,. The owner was a gay man call Barney, good guy though and ran a tight outfit.

    • Maria van Niekerk

      Hi Desmond.
      I remember you from Smugglers. Moke on keyboard and can’t rememberthe bassist. Vivien was he drummer. Did you also play at a club in Margate?

  51. elizabeth margaret mazgon
    | Reply

    Jenny! did you by any chance babysit a baby boy Sandor is his name, back in the 1975 ish.? was your sister ‘s name JUNE? My name is Linda, in Canada. Thanks.Plse.

  52. Alex Moir
    | Reply

    Wow!!! Reading all these posts brings back memories I would otherwise not have remembered. I grew up in Point road and although my parents moved between Durban and Ladybrand in the Free State many times I remember loads and of course we stayed in many flats in Point road. I think my earliest memory, and for some strange reason the one that chokes me up, was a building I remember as Maritime Buildings. Even though I was very young when we lived in that building and it was where I suffered from sun stroke and meningitis, I have images of black and white tiled communal toilets, chicken mesh on each floor sort of court yard to stop objects from falling on someone’s head, a very large hall where for a donation, or not, you could sit on the floor and watch a movie. I must have been between 7 & 9 so around 1971-1973. We were very poor and I think everyone that lived there was too. When I was about 22 I actually met a girl and her sister, Marianne and Charlotte Homan, who I knew when I lived there. Marianne was pictured on a soap powder box, I think it was Omo. I have a few photos taken in the room but not any of the building itself. The building in the original Blade Runner reminds me of Maritime Building. My father worked on the docks as a foreman stevedore and my grandfather worked at the tarpaulin factory. I remember the smell of that factory. I also remember the smell of the Juba on the pavements. There’s a bus stop with a sort of tiles picture of a yacht on the back wall. It’s still there!!! I used to play on the balcony of the building opposite the bus stop as I had friends there. I think their parents owned the butcher shop underneath it. As I said we lived in many different flats besides Maritime Building and I can hardly navigate 2 blocks on google maps to identify somewhere where we had lived at some time or other. Why does one feel sad when thinking back to these times even though they were very hard?

  53. Colin
    | Reply

    I Frequented Smugglers Inn in the 70’s and had the dishonor of being banned from Carols bar for taking pictures. I would like to share some memories of Smugglers.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Colin
      You can relate your tales in the same manner. Please keep it above board and refrain from mentioning names.

  54. Graham Moss
    | Reply

    Back in early to mid 40s, I was very young, but do recall going to a dining room that I believe was on Point Rd. It was an old style establishment with fans in ceiling and maybe even white tablecloths (although my memory may be playing tricks on me!) . It may have been called Browns Dining room, but not sure about that. It was owned by someone connected in some way to my Dad’s family. We were told that some of the cutlery and other items were bought on auction by owner and had come off an Italian ship that scuttled itself at outbreak of WW2. (Again needs checking!)

    Another Point Rd connection, was a Fish & Chip store part way down that my parents went to occasionally. Also owned by parents friends or family, I believe.

    When I was at university in Durban we conducted a charity “rag”. I was once assigned to Point Rd. Knocked on doors and rode on buses asking for donations. Many poor people. Everyone joined in the spirit of the event. I recall being amazed at the interior of a Chinese family home that didn’t look like much from outside! They were really nice people and made a generous donation.

    At that time (early 60’s) I do recall the Smugglers. Not a good place to spend an evening and then drive home!

  55. Graem
    | Reply

    Howzit Lucas. What year were you at Addington primary school. I might know you if it was 1955/6.???

  56. Garry
    | Reply

    Wow what will I give for the old days I live I Texas now for 24 years and was in Durban 2019 I felt like crying what a mess so sad.

  57. Amanda Smit
    | Reply

    Hi did any of you maybe know Hester Knoesen

  58. Maria Van Niekerk
    | Reply

    No, sorry.

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