Maternity Homes

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Friend of Facts About Durban William Paterson is keen to know what nursing or maternity home a Durban woman would have gone to to give birth in 1919/20. I do know that St Augustine’s and Addington were in existence by then but can’t confirm they would have been the maternity facilities of choice. Please leave a comment below if you know anything.

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65 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi William,
    That is going far back in time but out of curiosity I looked up Maternity Homes in the 1938 Directory but none were listed as such but appear under Nursing. Strangely Addington not listed in this category but is listed as a hospital. There were quite a surprising number of “Nursing Homes” dotted around Durban and Entabeni and the Sanatorium are listed amongst them. Remember the bus route going to the San and Entabeni was called Nursing Homes. I could list these for you but could not state that they were Maternity Homes and whether they were in operation in 1919/1920.

  2. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    I am listing the Nursing Homes listed in the 1938 Directory. If I am not mistaken, midwives were generally available for home births as well. Addington is not listed as a Nursing Home but as hospital.

    Berea Nursing Home off Ridge Road , Central Overport Tram Terminus. (Close to the Overport Centre)
    Cato Road Nursing Home 103 Cato Road
    Chelmsford Medical Nursing Home 89 Chelmsford Road
    Claribel Nursing Home 1 Claribel Road
    Enfield Nursing Home 31 Enfield Road
    Eskotene Nursing Home 432 Essenwood Road
    Ferguson Road Nursing Home 36 Ferguson Road
    Malvern Nursing Home Third Avenue Bellair
    Mission Nursing Road 28 McCord Road
    Parklands Nursing Home 59 Bellevue Road
    Rhodes Nursing Home cnr Rhodes Avenue and Edmond Road
    Sanatorium (St Augustine’s) Chelmsford Road
    St Joseph’s Nursing Home 3 Wolseley Road
    St Martin’s Nursing Home 55 Kelvin Place Durban North
    Westminster Nursing Home 26 High Street Overport.

    • Anna Cressey

      My mother, Joan Cressey, was born in Enfield Nursing Home in 1923. Would love to know more about it – or see a photograph? In my archive trips to Durban from London, I’ve not come across it in any documents.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Anna,
      Endfield Road is a small road running diagonally between Frere Road and Umbilo Road. I personally do not know the road but out of interest checked to see if the Enfield Nursing Home was still in operation in 1957. On 1957 the address is now given as the residence of Mrs M. A. Grant. It appears that there were quite a few “nursing homes” operating in Durban in the 1920s / 1930s. I would say that many of these were homes with a registered nurse operating a “nursing” home from home.

  3. Elizabeth How
    | Reply

    I was born in Cato Nursin Home in 1947

  4. Anna Cressey
    | Reply

    Thanks for your reply, Gerald. I spent days in the City Reference library with the Braby directories but forgot to look for the Enfield Nursing Home! (I live in Devon, UK). If you come across a photo of it in any period prior to 1950, please let me know.

  5. Rodney Coyne
    | Reply

    Not mentioned is the Mother’s Hospital, Greyville. I found the following information on the internet :

    Salvation Army Mothers Hospital, Greyville Durban

    The Mothers’ Hospital was opened in 1923 by Commissioner Hay (good name that). He was a dynamic leader and buildings bearing his name may be found across the Territory. The original Mothers’ Home was in the old building, now the administrator’s quarters. It was enlarged in 1929 when the main building and nurses’ quarters were added.

    The Salvation Army in those days was more pro-active than it is today and was the leader in many fields. Now we have become followers and try to duplicate what others are doing.

    The Salvation Army established Maternity Homes in several SAfrican cities, notably Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth because the public health service did not provide specialist care. People flocked to the Army centres to have their babies.

    However, with the rise of medical aid societies and the introduction of maternity hosipitals by the provinces, the support of Army maternity homes declined and they became financial liabilities.

    The Salvation Army is expert in reinventing itself and the Durban Mothers became the Allister Smith Eventide Home in 1981. As residents became frail competent officers with nursing qualifications were appointed, the last being Major Miriam Ward. In 1998 this ministry came to an end and the Durban Family Care Centre was born which was a crises centre for the destitute. This closed at the end of December 2010.

    All the records for the Mother’s Hospital are at our Territorial Head Quarters in Johannesburg and can be accessed through Mrs Colonel J Donaldson.

    • Emmalene Morgan

      Hi Rodney, is it possible to get an address or telephone number for Mrs Colonel J Donaldson for the Territorial Head Quarter’s in JHB.?

    • Guy Young

      Hi, who can I contact for some records dating back many years. My mother (now deceased) was adopted from there in around 1938

      Help please

    • Jax

      Good day Rodney,
      Did anybody ever manage to find the contact details of Mrs Colonel J Donaldson? I am trying to find some records re the Mother’s Home that you so fortunately provided info on.

  6. Rodney Coyne
    | Reply

    My nephew and niece were born at the Mother’s Hospital about 40 years ago. I don’t know if the building is still standing (or parts of it). I think that it was situated in Mitchell Crescent but have been unable to find any photos of the Mother’s Hospital on internet. Maybe someone more competent than me in that field can locate one.

    • Leon le Roux

      I have a photo of Mothers Hospital.Email me and I will send it to you.

    • Allan Jackson

      Hi Leon
      I would appreciate getting a copy of that photo for the site. My address is Thanks.

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      I looked up Mothers’ Hospital in the 1938 Durban Directory and it is listed there as Mothers’ Hospital (Salvation Army) I was not aware that it was a Salvation Army institution. As far as I can recall Mothers was strictly a maternity hospital in the 1960s and not a general hospital. It was well known for this. Close by was the Concord Missionary Home in Windermere Road again another institution I know little about yet also a long standing one. The photos show the Mothers’ Hospital in more recent times and I would venture to say that the property on the left has been incorporated in the Mothers’ property whereas originally it was a separate residence.
      Mothers' Hospital

      mothers' hospital entrance

    • Gill
      |; is the address you can try for further info. Ask them for photo’s or more info.

  7. Elizabeth How
    | Reply

    A relative of mine was an unmarried Mother 45 years ago. Her baby was born there and there was also a home for unmarried Mothers attached to the Mother’s Hospital.

  8. Valerie Poisson (Jordaan)
    | Reply

    I was born at Mothers 19th April 1946.
    My 3 daughters were all born at Mothers.
    1965, 1969, and 1971.

  9. Anna Cressey
    | Reply

    Does anybody know the reasons why women went to one Nursing home over another? My grandmother, Audrey Cressey, gave birth to my mother, Joan, in the Enfield Nursing Home in 1923. What issues might have gone into that decision? Would she have had to pay for her healthcare? (She was living at the time in Fifth Avenue, Durban.). Any bits of information would be gratefully received.

    • Esther

      Hi Anna,

      I expect the reasons women chose one nursing home over another, were things like: the homes reputation amongst her friends, their previous experience in there on previous deliveries – did the staff care about them or were they just ignored? How close to home it was, might have played a part; Probably the recommendation of their family doctor, who would certainly have had his opinion on the matter would have influenced their decision, he probably told the woman or her husband how to proceed for the best outcome. Probably cost also came into the decision. I am sure that they were required to pay for their care, wherever they went. Even if they had their delivery at home and a Midwife or similar attended to them there, would be a cost involved.
      Mother’s hospital was started as “a mission” by the Salvation Army for the very poor who could not afford maternity care and for unmarried mothers, so your grandmother would probably not have fallen into that category – hence she would not have gone there to have her baby. ( i.e. another reason for her choice of nursing home).
      I trained as a Midwife at another Salvation Army Mother’s hospital in the East End of London. There were Mother’s Hospitals in other countries – all set up by the Salvation Army for unmarried mothers and the poverty stricken. Certainly the Mother’s I worked at was well regarded by local mothers who had many choices( in those days), where they could register to have their babies.

    • Joan Mills

      I remember my Mother telling me our GP
      Dr Harry Lazarus ( uncle 2 Dr Harry Miller ) saying that he wanted her to go back there to have me ( June 1949 ) as he liked & was happy with the services & as my Mom had had my sister there ( Jul 1946 ) that’s where I was born.

  10. Jill Smith
    | Reply

    Has any one heard of Clarence Nursing Home in Durban? My husbands grandfather was born there in 1906

    • Joan Mills

      My late mother was very friendly with the Doctor that owned it & it was him who picked up that my Mother had bad female problems & insisted that she came to Claribel & was given a private room so that my father could bring my sister & myself 2 see her. If my memory serves me right it would have been around 1960/1961

  11. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Jill
    I looked up Clarence Nursing Home in the 1938 Durban Directory and no mention at all. Obviously must have closed down by then.

    • Joan Mills

      It became the Claribel Nursing Home

  12. Bonita Logan
    | Reply

    I was born in Mothers on the 6th of January 1971. Would love to know how many other babies were born there on the same day and year as me.

  13. Emmalene Morgan
    | Reply

    Good day, the home for unmarried mother’s attached to the Mothers Hospital did it have a separate name? Is it possible to have an e-mail address to submit a enquirer about records to Mrs Colonel J Donaldson?

  14. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    I cannot answer your first question. Have no email address for the person you want to contact. Suggest you contact the Salvation Army itself.

  15. Charmaine Chapman
    | Reply

    Has anyone heard of a maternity home in Florida Road. I believe I was born there in 1953

    • Penelope Lloyd

      Hello Charmaine, yes, I was born in 1944 at the Florida Road Nursing Home. Recently there has been a request to demolish the original building. It was a private home, I think built in 1907, and then converted into a nursing home from 1944. Either shops or a boarding house now 258 Florida Road ERF number 659. I hope that helps.

    • Jean Law Hadenham

      I was born in the Florida Road Nursing Home in 1945. Am under the impression It was situated where the new Pick n Pay is situated. Would love to know more about it.

  16. Valerie Roberts
    | Reply

    I was born at Mother’s in July 1938 and my brother in December 1944.
    So excited to see a picture and some history in the Saturday Independent Newspaper recently as I am presently compiling a life book for my daughter.
    I wonder if it is possible to trace where my mother and father were born in Durban, KZN, if all I have are their dates of birth.
    Is there perhaps some sort register of inhabitants of that city in the 1900 to 1912 years?

  17. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Valerie,
    No register that I know of. All I have is a Durban Directory going back to 1938. That would make your Dad a 16 year old if born in 1912. If you do not know where your grandparenst lived I could look it up. I would need their name and initials and the area if you know it.

  18. Valerie Roberts
    | Reply

    My paternal grandparents lived in Young’s Avenue my Grandfather’s initials and surname H.T. Leech
    My maternal grandfather’s initials and surname W.O. Venn last address Mansfield Road

  19. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Valerie
    I have WO Venn living at 58 Bewsey Grove in 1938. I know the area as I lived in Mansfield Rd late 50s. Bewsey Grove ran from Old Dutch Road through to Mansfield Road not far from the Mansfield Road School. Sadly Bewsey Grove no longer exists as it was taken over when the DUT Varsity llwas established and it took over the whole block from Botanic Gardens road through to Bewsey Grove as an extended campus. I can find no reference to HT Leech, there are others though. I know Youngs Avenue as well as it was a narrow road leading off Botanic Gardens Road and ran down to Ritson Road where Mansfield Boys School was. If you do not know Mansfield Boys School has also closed and the school I think is also part of the DUT Varsity.

  20. Marianne Grundlingh
    | Reply

    Hi Gerald,
    It is most interesting to read about the comments on Mother’s. After returning from Germany in 1975, where our daughter was born, our son was born at Mother’s in 1976 and our twin sons were born by Caesarian section in 1976 in the same hospital. We were told that they were the biggest twins to be born in Mother’s, weighing 7lb 10,5 oz and 7 lb 6 oz respectively. They were two weeks overdue!

  21. Christine Turner
    | Reply

    My daughter was born Christmas Eve 1974 in Durban mothers hospital Greyville . I can remember the sister who took her to our car had been there since my cousin was born in 1956 can anyone tell me what her name would have been.lovely lady with White hair in 1974?

    • Felicity Gray

      My 2 girls were born in Mothers hospital 1977& 1979. There were 2 elderly nursing sisters who were called Mother Goose and Mother Duck by all the patients and staff alike. They tended to me when I gave birth and were fantastic.

  22. Glen
    | Reply

    How could we get i list of Claribel nursing home new borns 1944

  23. Kotie
    | Reply

    Hi there

    Hope someone can help me I was born in 1977 and was adopted straight after birth. My mom was in a home for unwed mothers, the address was 141 Prospect Road Umbilo. I would like to find out where I can get some information regarding my adoption and so on.

  24. Merethe Gooding
    | Reply

    Hi there. Would you know how I could possibly get a copy of my original birth certificate showing both my parents names? Do you know where all the records were sent? I was born 1969. My son is applying for Danish residency and they want both my parents names. If I go through home affairs I won’t get it in time.

    Thank you

    • Rod Skjolde

      Those records are kept in Pietermaritzburg in the archives of the Supreme Court.

  25. Gill
    | Reply

    I lived in Amanzimtoti in 1980 and there was no hospital there. So my son was born at The Mothers Hospital and yes it was run by the Salvation Army. Because my son was born by C Section, we stayed in for a full week. On Sunday the Salvation Army would play their band in the gardens whilst we were propped up on the upstairs balcony. Can remember it like yesterday. My son was born 26th February 1980.

  26. Gill
    | Reply

    For more info on Mother’s Hospital. Contact below:

    Major Magdeline Phore
    Social Programme Secretary
    Tel: (011) 718 6719
    Email :

    Mrs. Emmelina Radebe
    Tel: (011) 718 6756

  27. Lorette Millar
    | Reply

    My grandfather told me that two of his older sisters were nursing sisters – Emma (never married) and Olive (married Turner) and one of them ran Sr. Puckrin’s Nursing Home in Durban. I have not been able to find anything on this and would love to know more about this Nursing Home and where it was.

  28. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Lorette
    I can find no reference to Sr Puckrin’s Nursing Home in the Durban directories I have. There is a single entry for J W Puckrin but no reference to a Nursing Home. This is 1965. Please remember to give a period date that we are talking of. It makes it much easier to track if a probable date is given. For example if the sisters operated the Nursing Home in the 1920s it would be impossible for me to trace. For one, very few people would be alive today who would be able to give you the information you are looking for.

  29. John Coetzee
    | Reply

    Both my sons were born at Mother’s in 1974 and 1976. The service was absolutely outstanding if I compare that to friends that had their children at other hospitals. So pity it is no more.

  30. Linda Hutton
    | Reply

    I am trying to find out some information on a home for unmarried mothers in Windermere rd around 1970’s. I think it was knocked down and Durban child welfare building was built in its place . My mother used to manage it and I spent my toddler years there. I have vivid memories but no photographs or any further information and trying to find some answers to some questions I have about my childhood.

    • Rachel Watt

      Hi Linda, let me know if you find out anything about the home for unmarried mothers in Windermere Rd, it’s where my adopted husband was ‘born’ (address on adoption papers) and trying to locate his birth mom at the moment, thank you.

  31. R T
    | Reply

    Is there any record of a nursing home in Musgrave Road in the 1940-50s?

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      HI RT
      1957 Durban Directory 640 Musgrave Road Corneel Nursing Home. Only one listed in Musgrave Road. This would be not far from Springfield Road heading towards Florida Road. However cross referencing looking up Corneel Nursing Home the address is given as 457 Musgrave Road ?? In the 1968 Durban Directory no mention of Corneel Nursing Home but Glyndale Nursing Home is at 446 Musgrave Road next to St. Augustine Mansions. It would be interesting to see on site what is now on these locations and whether they lend themselves to being suitable as Nursing Homes.

  32. Glen
    | Reply

    It was in Madelaine road and is still standing

    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Hi Glen
      I looked up Madeline Road in the 1968 Durban Directory I have and the only “odd” residence I can find apart from normal residences is Number 17 Women’s Residence Club. I have no idea what this Club was and what its purpose was. One would have to look at No 17 today and see what stands there. Unfortunately I do not have directories later than 1968.

  33. Bernadene Roberts Jenkins
    | Reply

    Hello me too! I remember Florida Nursing Home Durban. Two siblings born there 1950 and 1953.
    I was born at Innes Nursing Home in 1947.
    Does anyone out and and about in world have pics of these places. Love to have a look.

  34. Stuart Ackerman
    | Reply

    I was born in Mother’s Hospital in Greyville in March 1960 and the man who delivered me was a Dr Blade. Is there any way of finding out what happened to him?

  35. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    HI No reference to Dr Blade in the 1957 or 1965 Durban Directories I have. Closest was a Dr Blaine. Unless someone knew him as a patient I doubt you will find out what happened to him.

    • Stuart Ackerman

      Thank you Gerald. No worries.

  36. Carl Ronan Schulz
    | Reply

    Hello Gerald. I was born 15th October 1953 at the Sanatorium, Chelmsford rd. Run by the Sisters of St. Augustine, then? Where can I get more information, history or records relating to my birth? Would you be able to assist. You are welcome to email me privately. Thank you.

  37. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Carl
    Unfortunately I do not get involved in tracing families for the general public. Being born in South Africa your best bet would be the Dept of Home Affairs where you can apply for your Birth Certificate. Not sure where you are presently but look at their website if you are overseas.

  38. Neil
    | Reply

    Our twins was born in Mother’s in March 1974. The gynecologist was Dr Wineburg and there pediatrician as Dr Loening. They were premature and spent 2 months in an incubator. The hospital arranged sponsorship from S26 milk and other baby products for a year. Wonderful hospital and staff.

  39. Joan Mills neê Brown
    | Reply

    St. Augustine’s
    One of my earliest memories goes back to July school holidays either 1955 or 1956!
    Our GP Dr Harry Lazarus had told my parents that I needed to have both Tonsils & adenoids out & that he would be operating & it would be done at the ” San ”
    I was quite happy 2 go as long as I would ” get better ” & stop being sick.
    Well my folks took me there by Taxi ( we didn’t have a car then ) & I was fine bouncing on the bed & full of chirps & my parents said that they now had to go home to my sister & we were in the middle of hugs & kisses when this apparition came flying into the room to tell my folks they must now go! Well when I saw that BAT I screamed blue Murder & told my folks they were not leaving me there alone! ( it was a nun in her full regalia ) my poor Dad had to catch 2 buses to go home & come back to get clothes for my Mom, the Nuns & porters had to put another bed in my room while my Dad was gone & normally I was fast asleep before 7pm but not that night! I was awake until my Father returned, my Mother changed into sleepwear & I insisted on climbing into bed with her. But that’s not the end
    While Dr Lazarus was operating, due to my bad health they couldn’t give me the normal amount of gas, didn’t I wake up with his hand in my mouth with those SCISSORS down my throat!! Even all these years later, over 66 I can still vividly remember that incident.

  40. Jax
    | Reply

    Hi Rachel Watt, what year was your husband born? I am also trying to find some info from re the late 1950’s from the Mother’s Home. Perhaps we can compare notes.

  41. Jenny
    | Reply

    I once lived at Enfield Nursing Home 31 Enfield Road. It must have been around 1968 or 1969. We were mostly young and/or students who each rented a room there. We weren’t allowed to cook or keep food in our rooms, so we learned how to secretly heat canned beans or to cook eggs in a milk warmer over a kettle. It was fun living there, despite the landlady/owner, Mrs Vera McCann being quite formidable. One of the lads who only came down at weekends to Durban from St Lucia smoked weed, and he would roll a joint and throw the seeds out the window where they took root at the side of the house where no one went. It ended up as quite a lush plantation, of which Mrs Mac was totally unaware, but whenever she was being especially cantankerous there would be the suggestion to call the cops and have her taken away for growing weed. Of course, no one ever did. Fun times.

  42. Bevin Shirley
    | Reply

    I was born on 27th August 1946 at Florida Road Nursing Home when my parents lived on a small holding on Greys Inn Crescent Westville. Google Earth street view shows 258 Florida Road as a Pick n Pay Centre with the Seven Seas restaurant sign.

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