Flo Bird

Ladies and gentlemen. What a marvellous, almost miraculous Day this is for friends, neighbours and all the conservationists who stood with us holding protest banners 10 years ago. We were devastated when the buildings were demolished and for nearly three years there was a complete impasse. The authorities would not take any action, stop orders were in place and we in the heritage lobby could not see a way forward.

 

Flo Bird, Founder of the Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust and founder member of the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation was a surprise guest speaker at the 17th annual symposium of the Heritage Association of South Africa held at Heidelberg last week. Flo’s speech was given at the remarkable  NZASM constructed Heidelberg Station.   

[Originally published 11 March 2013] On Saturday 9th March the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation had a walking tour around Fordsburg looking at heritage buildings and talking of the dramatic history. At 3.30 pm the group reached the historic Fordsburg Square where a plaque was unveiled recording the final battle of the 1922 Strike which took place in the Square. Dino Badroodin, proprietor of The Train on the Square, and Flo Bird of the JHF unveiled the plaque as shown in the photograph above.

Since February this year members of the heritage lobby have been attending meetings with the Department of Public Works discussing the development of the Marshall Street Police Barracks and the site they call 85 Anderson Street. We were more than sceptical at the first meeting, became even more suspicious when no heritage architect was appointed, so only at the final meeting on 18th May did we accept their bona fides and really enjoy the discussions.  

As we enter silly season I have been warned to be brief. No one has time to read long pages of diatribes against those who own wonderful old buildings and don’t maintain them. I am just back from a week in Cape Town, travelling there by train. The most disgusting views of Johannesburg came from the eastern section behind the Art Gallery where literally tons of filth are simply pushed over the side from what used to Union Grounds. This continues for some way.

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