Facts About Durban Diary - Page # 23

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3 November 2006

I knew it had been a long time since I last sat down to add to the site but even I was amazed that the last addition was back in August, nearly three months ago. Apart from my usual bread and butter earning activities, around that time I was asked to restart my long-running computer column in the Sunday Tribune and that takes up quite a bit of time; much more than you'd expect from a mere 400 words a week. There is an archive of the columns here.

I have never stopped collecting information, however, and it is probably a reluctance to tackle the growing mountain of stuff which has so often led me to find other pressing jobs to do, such as bottling fruit and redoing my photo albums. I once even washed the car but, finally, there are no more excuses left and so here goes...

The first items on the agenda are two requests for information from readers. I have reproduced them on the research page where you will find a number of other requests as well. The latest requests come from Theresa Finnan of The South African Red Cross Society, who wants to know about the arrival of the vessel Duchess of Bedford in Durban in 1942, and Henk de Winde wants to know about some whale catchers bought by the Union Whaling Company in Durban in 1937. Full details on the research page.

I am indebted to my informant Milandie Birch for who alerted me to the fact that Durban was probably where the third (or televison) umpire was first used in a game of Test Cricket to decide whether a player was out or not.

On visiting the superb Cricinfo website, the report on that match confirmed the the story. The game in question was played at Kingsmead between India and South Africa from 13-17 November 1992.

The incident with the third umpire took place on the second day when Sachin Tendulkar was given out leg before wicket (LBW). The report does not say definitely who the third umpire was but does list the three umpires who officiated at the match. They were Steve Bucknor, Cyril Midgely and Karl Liebenberg, who, I would think, would most likely have been the third umpire.

Cricinfo is an amazing website which has literally everything you might want to know about cricket. I did a story on the site some years ago and, at that point, it had a match report for every test match ever played and they were aiming at putting up one on every first class match ever played. The site also provides player biographies, records and stats, and the latest news and live commentary on test matches.

On my page about aerial incidents and accidents in and around Durban, I mentioned a crash in which two sisters, Marie and Lorraine Mills, died in 1952. I have since heard from their niece, Marie Tomlinson, who sent me some pictures which I have put up on the page here.

Picture courtesy
Marie Tomlinson

3 November 2006

Some time ago I received a query from Howard Galloway in the UK about woment taxi drivers in Durban in the 1960s. I quizzed my informants Gerald Buttigieg and Dodo on what they could remember from the period and I also asked them about the Bats pop group and the Little Top.

I had always believed the Little Top was the bright orange ball on the beachfront near the Mermaid Lido, which functioned as a mini-stage. I noticed a report some time back in the papers that it had been demolished and I wanted to know more.

See the new page The way we were.

8 November 2006

I recently did some research to write an editorial on the current state of the ship building and repair industries in Durban. See the new page A window of opportunity opens.

9 November 2006

I mentioned my informant Dodo on The way we were page I put up a few days ago. I have now put up her own page with some other stuff from her, including some very evocative old pictures of Durban, mainly of the beachfront.

- Dodo

17 November 2006

If you haven't already visited Dodo's page, I'd recommend that you do so. Since putting up the page, I have added a contribution from Gerald Buttigieg, which has to do with LM Radio.

Picture Courtesy Gerald Buttigieg

22 November 2006

Today I have the story of a floating dock which was built in Durban durinng WWII. There are pictures and newsclippings which give a great insight into how well things operated here despite wartime shortages of skills and material, which had to come from the UK. It also gives a perspective on just how important Durban was to the allied war effort. Click here to view the page.

23 November 2006

Wow! I just thought to take a look at the statistics for the site and I see that we've had more than 6000 unique visitors every month since July. In October, we had 8291 visitors who viewed 13802 different pages. Click the image below to see the graph.

To say that I'm surprised and pleased would be a radical understatement!!

Today we take a look at an article on the Port of Durban which appeared in Shipping Wonders of the World in 1936. Click here to view the article.

19 February 2007

It's been a long time since I added to the site but, as usual, it was personal slackness and not a lack of material. Today I have a couple of things including a picture of the Little Top on South Beach. It was demolished last year. I have also put up a contents page for all the material on entertainment and beaches during the 1950s and 60s.

Picture courtesy Gerald Buttigieg
- click image to view enlargement -

January 2007 saw, for the first time, more than 10000 visitors to this site. See the latest graph here:

21 February 2007

I have added a long article on Durban's aviation history which orginally appeared in an aviation magazine in 1956. It is pretty long, but interesting and I thought it would be worthwhile scanning it into the computer and converting it into text for this site. I hope that, in the interests of making the information available, the publisher won't mind too much. View the article here.

22 February 2007

I quite often get interesting pictures sent in by readers but I sometimes battle to figure out what to do with them if they don't belong on an existing page. So, I have added a vintage photo album page where I'll post the pictures together with whatever detail I have about them. Check back often, you'll never know what you'll find. See the page here.

23 February 2007

Here's a picture of the old Cuban Hat and Nest which were beachside roadhouses, long passed into history, where many Durban youngsters would spend happy hours socialising and having refreshments. I've put the picture up on our new beach / entertainment page.

6 March 2007

I've had a couple of comments about the Cuban Hat and Nest picture I put up (see diary entry for Feb 23) and so I have moved it to its own page together with the comments. The new page is here and here is the beach / entertainment page.

8 March 2007

Gerald Buttigieg has contributed a news clipping from his father in law's albums on the collision, in 1962, between an SAA Skymaster and an SAAF Harvard. View the clipping on our air accidents and tragedies page here.

8 March 2007

Gerald again. This time, prompted by the building of the new soccer stadium in Walter Gilbert Road, he sent in clippings to do with the original stadium which started out in life as New Kingsmead and ended up as King's Park Soccer Stadium. View the page of the two King's Parks here.

18 March 2007

Wade Kidwell sent in five great pictures of old Durban and I've put them up in the photo album here.

21 March 2007

Today we have the story of Marist Brothers St Henry's first soccer team, which must have caused quite a stir with Rugby being second only to religion as far most were concerned in those days. The story was contributed by Gerald Buttigieg, who was there. Click here to view it.

27 March 2007

Today, there's a story contributed by Terry Hutson to the effect that work is about to begin on the widening of the harbour mouth. The story first appeared in the Natal Mercury on 28 February 2007 and said that North Pier had already been closed to the public. Two weeks later, I decided to go down and see if I could sneak in for a last visit. I managed to get in and now I've also put up a page with some pictures I took on the occasion.

22 April 2007

I snapped the two pics below at separate times over the Easter weekend. On the left is the QE2, a regular visitor to Durban, and, on the right, HMS Enterprise, a survey ship of the Royal Navy.

** Click images to view enlargements.

24 April 2007

A growing number of readers are contributing their memories of Durban's past to the site. I'll admit to not being a model of consistency when it comes to filing, but I am trying. All readers' contributions are [hopefully] linked from the main contents page and a separate contents page especially for reader's contributions.

The latest addition to the collection are Rose Enstrom's reminiscences of Durban in the 1950s & 1960s. I had hoped to get her page up in time for her 50th wedding anniversary on 23 March and I'm pleased to say I'm only a month and a day late; not bad at all for me.

Read her reminiscences here and let the nostalgia roll.

25 April 2007

I've got a slight update for you on the North Pier page. It's some photographs I took earlier this month. The North Pier page is here and the new pictures are at the bottom here. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who knows the names of the restaurants I've missed.

8 May 2007

The secret's out that a new printed version of Facts About Durban is expected soon, probably by early-mid June. So that's what I've been doing, mostly. I see that March was quite a high point in terms of visits to the site, with over 12000 unique visitors viewing 21000 pages. Click to view the graph.

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