Johannesburg

For reasons that I have never fully understood, between about 1968 and 1972, the Wits campus underwent a period where posters of all colours and sizes proliferated, advertising everything from Rag Ball to intervarsity rugby, from Nusas teach-ins to visiting lecturers, and from Fresher’s Reception to rock and roll festivals. Every now and again the apartheid thugs that ran the country would provoke a rash of political posters, and the SRC elections were always an active time for poster artists.

I recently came across the souvenir album Barnett's Views of Johannesburg and Suburbs. I photographed a panoramic view of the early town (in three sections) and thought I would share it. The book has no date but the look of the cover, very art nouveau design with floral garland, and the street scenes and buildings leads me to believe that it was published in the late 1890s or early 1900s.

In November 2018, the Legacy Living website announced what many South Africans had been hoping for... that the Leonardo in Sandton will be Africa's tallest building on completion (it probably won't hold the record for long with the Pinnacle under construction in Nairobi). Assuming the announcement is accurate, the building will reach 234m into the sky. This will be 11m higher than the 223m Carlton Centre completed in the mid 1970s.

 

Phillip Tobias passed away in 2012 aged 87. Lucille Davie was lucky enough to sit down with him in 2009 and chat about his remarkable life. Below is an article she wrote after the in-depth interview. It was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 19 November 2009. Click here to view more of Davie's work. The image above shows the Tobias bust at the Sterkfontein Caves.

Many readers will be aware that the Joburg Cenotaph was vandalised recently. The City of Joburg's Heritage Department pulled out all the stops to ensure that it was cleaned before the hugely important National Remembrance Sunday Service on 11 November 2018. Below are before, during and after photos via The Heritage Portal and Sticky Situations.

 

Before

Markhams Building, located on the corner of Eloff and Pritchard Streets in Johannesburg, is a landmark of the city. It is striking because it has survived. Built in 1897, it is nearly as old as the city itself.

 

In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie tells the story of the creation of the Fietas Subway mural. The article was first published on the City of Joburg's website on 10 November 2010. The mural is impressive but it has not been given the respect it deserves. In 2018 it is a shadow of its former self covered in graffiti and advertising.

Many readers will have heard of the discovery of the original Yeoville Water Tower blueprint earlier this year. This discovery sparked a research journey which has culminated in a wonderful series of articles by Kathy Munro. Below is the first installment which covers the early water supply history of Johannesburg and the origins of the Water Tower. The piece was first published in the Sep / Oct 2018 issue of Architecture SA. Thank you to Paul Kotze for giving us permission to publish.

Johannesburg has dozens of remarkable staircases inside its houses, hotels, offices, churches, fire stations and apartment buildings. Some are well known while others are more obscure. Below are ten of my favourite. Enjoy! Feel free to send through pics of your favourites.

Stewarts and Lloyds Building / Marshdale House

In a recent article published by the author (click here to view), reference was made to a modern photographic phenomenon, namely “found photographs”. In short: “Found photographs” are discarded vintage photographs typically found at charity stores, car boot sales, flea markets or antique fairs. As a single image, any “found” or the converse thereof, “lost” photograph, has sadly lost its original context when viewed by a total str

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 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".

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