John Lincoln's wonderful book 'Stories from a Diamond Mine' tells the story of the Premier Mine (today the Cullinan Mine) and the village that grew up around it. We are honoured to be able to reproduce the book as a series (click here to view index). Below is the first installment which traces the history of Minnaars' Farm and reveals the complex story of how the land was acquired by Thomas Cullinan.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie profiles master coppersmith Larry de Klerk. De Klerk's workshop dates back to the late 19th century and is a declared Provincial Heritage Site. The piece was first published on the City of Joburg's website on 14 December 2001. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie reveals some of the forgotten and fascinating history of the Johannesburg suburb of Linden. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 14 September 2004. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie ventures across old Joburg mining land tracking the activities of 21st century gold prospectors. She reveals the secret nature of their enterprises and describes the innovative processes used to extract the gold from multiple sources. The article was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 4 October 2006 (Joburg's 120th birthday). Click here to view more of Davie's work.
I think Heritage Portal readers will be interested in my archival sleuthing. I have found the blueprint of the original plan for the Parktown home Gordon Leith designed in 1927. Then called Morgenzon for the Coddingtons and built in 3rd Avenue Parktown, Johannesburg. The name changed to Le Tholonet and the house became the home of Clive and Irene Mennell after World War II.
In March 1922 the Italian painter and sculptor Francesco La Monaca produced a bust of Sir Henry Rider Haggard, the author of King Solomon’s Mines, Allan Quatermain and She, which formed part of an exhibition at the Bromhead, Cutts and Company’s Fine Art Gallery, 18 Cork Street, London, featuring 34 busts in bronze and marble by La Monaca of eminent English figures of the time including George Bernard Shaw, Sybil Thorndike, and Randall Davidson, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The recent devastating fire at Brazil's National Museum (which gutted 20 million items) and last week’s tragic fire at the Bank of Lisbon Building in Johannesburg yet again highlights how political and official neglect and maintenance cut backs are placing lives – and South Africa’s valuable heritage – at risk.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie reflects on the 2005 restoration of Salisbury House. The article was first published on the City of Joburg's website on 4 July 2011. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie reveals the deep connection that famous author Herman Charles Bosman had for the spaces and places of Johannesburg. The article was first published on the City of Joburg's website on 21 January 2004. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
Herman Charles Bosman watched as they demolished the old Magistrate's Courts in downtown Joburg. And felt "a kind of silent fury".
A few weeks ago I was privileged to be invited by Clive Chipkin to join his Joburg tour for a group of visiting American students from Brown University, USA. The group of 22 postgraduate students spent a week in Johannesburg at the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) in Parktown. Hats off to Brown for devising a study abroad programme on the complexities of South Africa beyond 1994 and its transition to democracy.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie reveals the rich history of Lonehill in Sandton. She also uncovers some wonderful details about the places, spaces and people of Sandton before it became the financial capital of South Africa. The piece first appeared on the City of Joburg's website on 25 February 2003. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie tells the story of the creation of the Constitutional Court's iconic South African flag. The piece first appeared on the City of Joburg's website on 8 September 2006. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
The Constitutional Court has a new artwork – a beautifully beaded and embroidered South African flag, positioned above the judges’ seats in the courtroom.
Thirty Three Nostalgic Coloured and Monochrome Postcards - Johannesburg. (Edwardian). Published: Braune & Levy, Printers & Engravers, Johannesburg, Circa 1904-8. One postcard was used with postmark and stamp. The remaining 32 were unused and have been removed from an old album and carry slight paste marks to blank side. All postcards printed by Braune & Levy, Johannesburg. Thankfully photographed for an auction on Antiquarian Auctions.
I recently came across a remarkable set of 33 period coloured and monochrome postcards of Johannesburg (click here to view). The postcards date from somewhere between 1904 and 1908. They are photographic images and show street and architectural views of Johannesburg in the Edwardian period. They were published and printed by a company called Braune and Levy of Johannesburg.
In the fascinating article below, journalist Lucille Davie explores the history of four landmark Joburg castles. The piece was first published on the City of Johannesburg's website on 23 July 2003. Click here to view more of Davie's work. Unfortunately, in 2018, the Three Castles Building has deteriorated significantly and remains endangered. Local heritage organisations are concerned by the lack of information about the state of the Kensington Castle.
The series of articles below tells the story of the controversy surrounding the destruction of the Top Star Dump and Drive-In. The articles were written by journalist Lucille Davie between 2006 and 2010. Despite talk of redevelopment the site remains vacant in 2018. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
Top Star Drive-in fights for its life
October 26, 2006
This small handbook was literally a pocket filler. It was an annual Johannesburg City publication Vade-Mecum. The meaning of the word, Vade-Mecum, is the Latin expression "go with me". It is a small slender volume issued by the City Treasurer's Department and by 1949 was in its 19th edition. What a contrast to current glossy city reports and promotional books.
Residents of Arcadia and Pretoria are mostly unaware that trams were used to serve as public transport in the early 1900s, later being replaced by trolley buses and eventually buses as we know them today.
Trams are loosely defined as light rail vehicles running on steel tracks, serving as urban public transport, designed to travel on streets, sharing road space with other traffic and pedestrians.
Fire is the most destructive and frightening of all elements. A Johannesburg heritage home in Parktown, Le Tholonet, at 6 3rd Avenue, was lost to fire on 17th July 2018. On Wednesday this week Clive Chipkin and I embarked on an expedition to discover and if possible photograph Parktown and Saxonwold homes of a certain period. We were in search of the Cape Dutch architectural style and its variants in the old elite northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
The wonderful article below, written by journalist Lucille Davie, looks at the history and preservation of one of Joburg's grandest historic mansions. The piece first first appeared on the City of Johannesburg's website on 23 March 2004. Click here to view more of Davie's work.