HMS Durban

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As part of the research for the book Facts About Durban I collected details on a number of ships which were named after Durban and I posted them on the site here. A little while later I not only discovered that HMS Durban had visited Durban in 1926 but managed to buy a copy of the souvenir booklet produced by the Durban Publicity Association in honour of the occasion.

It was packed with interesting information about the Durban of those days and I posted a page with some of the details. A little while ago a reader asked if I could provide the entire contents of the booklet for some research they were doing so I scanned the whole thing and uploaded it to this site. The download link is on the visit page if anyone is interested.

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8 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    That is a real collector’s item, Allan and I have down loaded it to add to my collection of Durban memorabilia. What I find interesting about these type of publications is that within them you get clues about what was current at the time. My particular interest is in the telephone exchanges of Durban and here we are given that two exchanges had just been opened on the Berea. In addition it states that the Central Exchange had not yet been automated by 1926. As there were only 6 telephone exchanges ever built by the Durban Corporation Telephone Department, the information in the booklet gives a timeline. No doubt somewhere in the archives there could be found when all 6 exchanges were commissioned but that type of information is not readily available. However what can be deduced is that the Stamford Hill Exchange in Windermere Road has the year “1923” on the facade which must be one of the exchanges. The only other exchange on the Berea was The Toll Gate exchange (in Berea Road near Hunt Road) which means it was commissioned in 1925/1926. The Stamford Hill Exchange code was “3” (all numbers began with 3) and Tollgate’s code was “4”. So what of the other code digts then? Well “2” was used in Central so all Central numbers strated with “2” but as the booklet states not automated yet meaning calls were put through by operators. In the 1930’s a new exchange was installed at Central Exchange which had exchange code “6” and was used to service the Durban North area. Also in the mid 1930’s another exchange was commissioned called Congella at the corner of Francois Road and Bartle Road (now a pre primary school) with exchange code “5”. So by the mid 30s, codes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 were in use. In the early 60s, due to the expansion of the network, a new central switching exchange was commissioned and coded “Central 31”. This exchange necessitated that all the satellite exchanges working off it had to add an additional code digit added and codes 3, 4 and 5 became “33”, “34” and “35”. In April 1969, the Durban Corporation Telephone Network was taken over by the Dept. of Posts and Telecommunications due to the introduction of National Subscriber Trunk Dialling (NSTD) which saw the demise of the “Number Please/ Nommer Asseblief” with telephone subscribers being able to dial trunk calls themselves.The exchanges “2” and “6” were earmarked for decommissioning and these were replaced by two new exchanges built at the Beach Telephone Exchange Complex, Seaview Street, namely “Beach 37”, followed by “Beach 32”. Beach 37 was my “baby” as I was posted to the complex building whilst it was being built and then was involved with the installation of the exchange itself followed by its commissioning in 1975. Both exchanges were built to full capacity that is they could each serve 10 000 subscribers. They were Siemens EMD exchanges.

    • Jenny Aitchison

      Dear Gerald,

      Can you tell me when telephones were first introduced in Red Hill? I am writing something about my mother’s life as a child growing up in East View Road, Red Hill. I gather from what you have written above that it was only in the 1930s.

      Thank you,
      Jenny Aitchison.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Jenny
      I cannot give you a definitive date for Durban North telephones but it would have been in the early mid 1930s. I have a 1938 Durban Directory and Durban North is still listed as a seperate Durban Suburb and all the telephone numbers were 6 -xxxx. As I said in my post the “Level 6” exchange was initially to be used by the growing Durban CBD but obvioulsy it was under utilised and so use was made of it when Durban North was opened up. Looking at the map they have supplied in the directory, it would appear that the Durban North area extended only as far as Stirling Crescent. There are separate entries for Greenwood Park , Briardene & Kenville, and Redhill & Avoca. All these areas were served with 6-xxxx numbers but all in all not many residents had telephones in those days. In later years the Dept of Posts and Telegraphs built a separate exchange for the Durban North area with the code 83-xxxx. I would have to confirm but the exchange I think was in Northumberland Place. It is interesting to note that beyond the original boundaries set out for Durban that is the Umgeni River, the Umbilo River, Ridge Road and the sea front, all exchanges built beyond the boundaries were government exchanges. This regardless of the fact that Durban boundaries were extended to include all the outlying “districts/suburbs ” circa 1932. Even the Bluff was not considered part of “Durban”. Unfortunately I do not have access to more definite facts.

  2. Mike
    | Reply

    Some rather nice photos of the crew in Durban (expand the picture by clicking on it).

    Also click the following for some more photos….from the first page as above.

    see HMS Durban, China Station 1926-28

  3. cheryl tebbutt
    | Reply

    named JENNIFER ADENDORF, think she lived on the Berea. (this was after 1968

  4. Jenny Aitchison
    | Reply

    Thank you Gerald.

    I think my grandparents’ number was 83 2384. Their surname was Atkinson and they lived at 218 East View Road. I might be mixing their number up with that of my parents!

    I will tell me grandchildren that my mother who was born in 1921, grew up without a telephone. They might not believe me!

    Jenny Aitchison.

  5. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Jenny
    You can tell them to believe you.

    Listed in 1938 Directory E W Atkinson 218 East View Road, Redhill. No phone number listed.
    1957 1965 and 1968 Directories E W Atkinson 218 East View Road 83 2384.
    Looks like your grandparents lived in the same house for years.

    I knew the Pieterses at 148 East View Road 83 4284. Dave Pieterse worked for Beachway Motors and then started his own car repair business.

  6. Jenny Aitchison
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald,

    Ernie and Meg were married in 1915 and were living in that wood and iron house when my mother was born on 1921. My grandmother died in 1981 and my grandfather moved out in about 1986 and died when he was 97. So yes, he lived there for more than 60 years.

    Thank you again,
    Jenny Aitchison.

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