Rissik Street Post Office

This Heritage Month, the newly established Gauteng Heritage Action Group (GHAG) launched its 'Heritage Horror Stories' campaign. Sites that have been neglected for years have received 'black plaques' (the opposite of the prestigious blue plaque) with the aim of shaming owners into taking action. Many of these owners have made big promises over the years but have failed to deliver. 

 

In the 1991 edition of Restorica, significant space was dedicated to the debate over the Civic Spine project. The overview of the controversy has already been published on The Heritage Portal (click here to view). In this piece, the voice of the architects is brought to the fore. Thank you to the University of Pretoria and the Heritage Association of South Africa for giving us permission to publish.

From 1989-1991 a major project unfolded in the historic centre of Johannesburg. It was known as the Civic Spine Project and aroused considerable debate. Below is an article from the 1991 edition of Restorica which looks at arguments on all sides of the controversy. Thank you to the University of Pretoria and the Heritage Association of South Africa (HASA) for giving us permission to publish.

Seldom in life does one get an opportunity to take decisive action in what appears to be a major emergency. But let me recount one very small such moment in my own life. When I was a youngster growing up in Johannesburg a notable feature of life in the city was the weekly street collection, run by the City Council in order to assist worthy causes in raising funds.

Louis Bonaparte Neapolitan Collins (Lou Collins) was a clockmaker based in Pritchard Street who was commmissioned to install a number of landmark Johannesburg clocks including the original Rissik Street Post Office Clock and the Markham's Clock.

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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