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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43 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.?

  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.

  10. Jill Smith
    | Reply

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

  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.

  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.

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