Streets, Townships and Suburbs

Travel back in time to 1886. Gold has just been discovered on the Witwatersrand, and the koppies and veld between Pretoria and Heidelberg, home to a handful of boer families, their tenants and workers, are starting to attract the attention of the world. The dusty track connecting the Viljoen homestead, nestled below the ridge among abundant orchards, to Pretoria has been extended south and west to the city of tents which has mushroomed on the uitvalgrond between the farms Doornforntein, Langlaagte and Braamfontein.

Craighall is a popular, and some would argue trendy, suburb to the north of Johannesburg. It is hard to imagine that it was once the scene of dusty roads, dairies and a famous lake and hotel. In 1987 Sheila Timmermans compiled a short history of Craighall (and Craighall Park) which was published in the Johannesburg Historical Foundation's Journal Between the Chains. The article contains some fascinating insights into the forgotten spaces and places of the suburb. 

Over the last few months many Joburgers will have noticed that the inner city has some new street names. Although it may seem that these are quick decisions, the opposite is true. The City of Johannesburg via it Directorate of Arts, Culture and Heritage follows a rigorous process. Below are a few excerpts from various reports compiled over the last few years to give readers a deeper understanding of the process.

Most people are familar with Douglasdale (the suburb and the famous milk brand of course) but who was the Douglas in Douglasdale? Below are a few excerpts from the 1980 journal of the Sandton Historical Association answering this question.

Douglasdale is situated in the north of the municipality of Sandton, west of Bryanston and just south of Fourways, with the western boundary following the Klein Jukskei river.

Who was the Marshall in Marshallstown, Marshall Street and Marshall Square? How did the suburb Melrose in northern Johannesburg get its name? Where did the name of the famous Glenhove Road which leads into Rosebank come from? If you are intrigued by any of these questions please read on. The article below gives an overview of the life of Henry Brown Marshall one of the pioneers of Johannesburg.

Malcolm Wilson returns to tell the fascinating story of an historic road just a few kilometres from the Sandton CBD. He unpacks the layers and personalities associated with Panners Lane and reveals the big changes that have happened in the area over the last few decades. [Originally published in 2014)

In November 1987 members of the Johannesburg Historical Foundation paid a visit to the 'village' of Parkview. I use the word 'village' deliberately because this has always been a friendly suburb with a particular character of its own where I lived as a child and never visit without a feeling of nostalgia. After all, don't street names like Kilkenny, Kerry, Roscommon, Westmeath, Kildare and Wicklow evoke visions of somewhere green as shamrocks, fresh and soft as Irish mist, where the road rises to meet you and the sun shines warm upon your face?

During rush hour every day tens of thousands of people experience the slow and maddening commute along William Nicol Drive in northern Johannesburg. The road connects Bryanston, Fourways and many suburbs beyond to Sandton and Hyde Park (and ultimately Rosebank and the Joburg CBD via Jan Smuts Avenue). Given its landmark status today it is hard to imagine that just over sixty years ago no road existed. The following brief excerpt from a speech by Bill Hedding traces the origins of the road that Joburgers love to hate.

We are very grateful to Trish and Murray Myhill for sending us "The Mill Hill Story". The article was compiled about fifteen years ago by the late Jilly Hayes, former mayoress of Sandton, and explores the rural roots and development of this upmarket Johannesburg suburb. Mill Hill is located to the west of Bryanston and to the north of Randburg.

We found this very interesting historical snippet in the archives of the Egoli Heritage Foundation. The referencing is unclear but we think it may have appeared in the book Down Memory Lane by Harry Zeederberg published in 1971.

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