Hotel Cecil

posted in: InfoRequests 2


Arthur Gammage wrote in with a query about the Hotel Cecil:


G’day Allan

Hotel Cecil image

Please will you publish this photo on fad and see if Bob Gooderson or anyone else can date this celebratory illumination of the Hotel Cecil complete with Union Jacks, or has another image of the hotel. It was at 14 West Street, adjacent to the Beach Hotel in its second manifestation.

On the right is the Electric Theatre, an early cinema. Behind at first floor or roof level is a Union period gable, which closely matched those on the Beach Hotel before it was replaced by the present multi-storey building.

Both Gerald Buttigieg and I remember a ZUT Boutique towards the end of West Street. Our family also used to watch 8mm films at home, rented from a shop in this location.

In the 1970s the old Cecil building was altered for the Mykonos Restaurant.

Arthur Gammage

Arthur also wonders if anyone has a picture of a church designed by Philip Dudgeon

I am researching some buildings shown along the Addington portion of Point Road on the Durban 1892 map. On the corner of Point and Hospital Road was a Presbyterian church, designed by Philip Dudgeon, who designed the first Town Hall through a competition entry. Maria Helena Martin in her thesis on Dudgeon, speaks of a prolonged and fruitless search for a photograph of the building, other than a few remnants after it had been replaced by the existing little Presbyterian Church, on the narrow part of Smith Street leading one-way onto Point Road. A three storey hotel was built on the street corner, masking the Gothic style church, which by 1931 was being used for Zulu services.

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2 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    For general information, this picture appears on Page 107 of Ian Morrison’s book, Durban a Pictorial History. If you click on the photo above it will enlarge and details will be clearer. Arthur and I and others have been trying to define when this photo was taken and the reason for the decorations showing the Union Jack and England’s flag, the Cross of St. George. The Electric Theatre is not listed in the list of “Bioscopes and Theatres” in the 1938 Durban directory so one can surmise that it did not exist in that location next to the Hotel Cecil by 1938. The only royal occasions that I can think of that may have been celebrated by the decorations would be Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee 1897, the Coronations of King Edward VII , George V and George VI. One suggestion has been the “switching on” of electricity in Durban.

    The gable reference Arthur alludes to is shown in a 1956 postcard which I posted in a post of FAD some years ago. It shows the Beach Hotel as it was then and the gables are quite evident. The hotel was virtually rebuilt as it is today in the late 1950s. Here is a link to the postcard which I notice as having become quite iconic as it appears all over the internet. I know its mine as I still have the original and fish moths attacked the bottom edge!

  2. Rodney Coyne
    | Reply

    Does anyone remember the Cooee Hotel in the beach end of West Street? It would have been about opposite to the Hotel Cecil. When our family lived in Port Shepstone, we stayed at the Cooee several times when visiting Durban. That would have been in the late 40s, early 50s.

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