Chris Allen some years ago inherited a copy of the official
programme, put out by the Borough of Durban in 1934, to mark
the visit of HRH Prince George** to the Town. He was kind
enough to scan the original and send it to me via e-mail.
Click to view enlargement
is a very neatly produced booklet containing all the information
that Durbanites and visitors to the town might possibly have
wanted to know about the visit. It was apparently sold for
sixpence a copy and included a section outlining Durban's
history and extolling it's many virtues.
is included which, however turgid, leaves you in no doubt
about Durban's sentiments towards its Royal Visitor:
Prince of Peace
Son of a Sailor King,
Prince of a sea-girt land,
A loyal Port of the Southern Seas
Greets you with heart and hand.
of a race renowned in war,
Whose dearest wish is Peace,
Our marts shall close, Our shops and shows,
While we acclaim you, cheer you, name you,
George, our Prince of Peace
to the programme, the Prince's train was due to arrive at
Berea Road Station at 4pm on 5 May 1934. He was to be received
on the platform by the Mayor, Councillor P. Osborne, the Town
Clerk, Mr A.O. Jones, and the Chief Magistrate.
moment on, he can't have had a minute's peace until he left
for Ladysmith on Thursday morning. His first duty would have
been to inspect a Guard of Honour mounted by the Royal Naval
Volunteer Reserve, under Commander W.B. Collier, and before
proceding to Church Street, in front of the Town Hall, for
the official welcome.
between the station and the Town Hall were to be lined by
what probably amounted to everyone in Durban who owned some
sort of uniform. To be represented were the RNVR, Durban Light
Infantry, Natal Mounted Rifles, S.A. Engineer Corps, S.A.
Signal Corps, S.A. Medical Corps, S.A. Service Corps and the
Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Members of St John's Ambulance
were to be on hand in case they were needed and, I imagine,
although the programme doesn't mention it, that the Borough
Police would have been in charge of traffic arrangements.
No fewer than three bands, including the Municipal Military
Band, were to play at the welcome ceremony.
noted that, by courtesy of Messrs. African Broadcasting Co.
Ltd., all the proceedings were to be broadcast by the firm's
on in the evening the Prince was to be a guest at a civic
banquet at the Marine Hotel. At the same time, there were
to be various events at Ocean Beach including a Grand Fancy
Dress Dance at the Pavilion and a 'humorous' swimming gala.
It was hoped that the Prince would put in an appearance at
events were to include:
at the Marine Hotel with the Rotary Club
- A Rally
of Scouts and Guides
event at the Track Grounds, Old Fort, which had been organised
for the 'Native' (for native, read black) residents of Durban
- A visit
to Kingsmead where a Currie Cup cricket match between Natal
and Western Province would be in progress
Indian Community Banquet at the DLI Hall
- A Grand
Ball in the City Hall
Grand Fancy Dress Dance in the Pavilion
Celebrations in Albert Park
- A School's
Demonstration at Kingsmead
with the Durban Turf Club and a special race meeting at
which the Prince George's Cup, over a mile and a quarter,
was to be the main race and the Prince was to present the
dance at the Pavilion, this time a Grand Bal Masque
was due to leave Durban from the Central Railway station at
8 am on Thursday, 8 March, 1934.
As I have
noted, the rest of the programme is given over to singing
Durban's praises and, as I liked the language so much, I have
included two excerpts.
is interesting to view an old print of Durban as it was
in the middle of last century and then to turn to a panoramic
view of the Durban of to-day. The power of commerce is apparent,
and, in place of a small settlement comprising a few wood
and iron buildings set among sand dunes, the picture now
portrays a magnificent land-locked bay through which the
great ships and many nations come and go, while in the background
the outlines of lofty commercial houses, the pinnacled towers
of public buildings, and the green slopes of the Berea -
the beautiful residential quarter of the town - complete
the landscape. So much change can human and wise enterprise
bnd the lapse of a few swift years bring about. The charm
of Durban is its versatility. First and foremost, it is
acknowledged to be the finest harbour on our Eastern shores
- the link that brings us into direct contact with the East;
it is one of the chief commercial pivots of the Union; it
is a quickly growing industrial centre; it is the perfect
seaside resort for the South African winter months and also
greatly favoured during the summer season when, in spite
of a slight humidity occasionally, it is always blessed
with delightfully cool and ozone-laden breezes; and, lastly,
it is the most healthy and cleanly place of residence in
the land, worthily upholding its appellation as the 'Brighton
of South Africa.'"
is a beautiful resort in every way, and its citizens may perhaps
be pardoned for taking such a pride in their town which combines
such a sparkling medley of life, commerce and gaiety. To-day
this varied combination is more apparent than ever with the
visit to our town of that charming "Ambassador of Empire,"
His Royal Highness the Prince George."
is very similar in tone and content to one I have in my possession,
which was put out by the Town Council in 1927 to mark the
visit of HMS Durban to Durban. I can only assume that the
Council did this sort of thing regularly to promote their
Town and I think it's a very good idea.
George later became King George VI after the abdication of
his brother, Kind Edward VIII, in 1936. As King, he was to
visit Durban again in 1948.