Then and Now

It took a house plan to get Marc Latilla hooked on history.
 
The pony-tailed author, DJ and music professional recently launched his book, Johannesburg Then and Now. It’s a treasure for Joburg enthusiasts: a leisurely stroll down what the early gold prospectors built on a stretch of veld over 130 years ago, juxtaposed against what those buildings and sites look like now. The Then and Now books are a worldwide series, profiling cities like Melbourne, Rome, Charleston, and Cape Town.

 

The Balcony Building (numbers 58-62 Main Road) is today mainly associated with The Factory Shop, which was opened in this building in 1983 and has expanded over the years to occupy most of the building. It was owned by a Swiss national, Jörg Friedrich, who managed it until 2013. The present owner, Fransien Koegelenberg took over at that time and has expanded the business further.  Fransien was kind enough to show me the interior of the building.

 

Clarendon Circle was a landmark intersection of the north east route into Johannesburg. It was a circle of note located where East Avenue crossed Empire, Bruce, Twist and Klein Streets. There was an island on East Avenue separating the traffic lanes with an attractive line up of palm trees and shrubs.

In 2011 bold plans for the demolition of the Village Walk Shopping Centre and the redevelopment of the valuable site were announced (Village Walk is located in the heart of Sandton opposite the Johannesburg Stock Exchange). Many commentators were excited yet cautious when renders for a massive three billion rand mixed use development (shops, offices, hotels and gym) were released. Tenants were given notice and demolition was expected to take place in mid 2012.

{Originally published 9 March 2015] In a recent newsletter we carried a link to an archived article on the Significance of Northcliff Hill. The response was impressive to say the least with a large number of views and incoming emails. One of the emails we received was from Rod Kruger who sent in a wonderful combination of 'Then and Now' photographs.

Subscribe to Then and Now