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.
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.
On 26 July 2018 concerned stakeholders including representatives from the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation (Kathy Munro), the Kensington Residents Association (Isabella Pingle) and the Johannesburg East Joint Plans committee (Andre Marais) met with Eric Itzkin, Zoleka Ntobeni, Councillor Carlos Da Rocha and Cebo Mhlongo of the City. We paid a site visit to the Bez Valley War Memorial.
In the remarkable article below, journalist Lucille Davie describes her tour of the Consitutional Court with Justice Albie Sachs. She delves into the history, art and architectiure of a hugely significant site. The piece first appeared on the City of Joburg's website on 6 August 2004. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
If you wish to depart this earth in a puff of smoke, Johannesburg has just the place for you. It has an excellent state of the art crematorium that has kept up with the times. Here is a heritage building with a difference. I have known about the crematorium since I was a child and attended a cremation service for the father of a friend.
In the article below, journalist and joburg enthusiast Lucille Davie takes a look at the restoration of one of Parktown's historic homes. The piece first appeared on the City of Joburg's website on 31 March 2010. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
In 2010 journalist Lucille Davie went on a behind the scenes tour of Soccer City shortly before the stadium opened. Her experience and discussions with the architect helped her to write the wonderful article below. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 28 January 2010. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
Anyone that has travelled in and out of the Joburg CBD recently will have noticed the massive MTN adverts covering Old Park Station, one of Joburg's priceless heritage structures. Not only has this been done illegally but it has shown an acute disregard for Johannesburg's heritage.
This is Number 12 Park Lane. This property lies between Clarendon Place and Park Lane. It is a property that abuts Hillbrow; it is the other side of the fence to the grand Reya Vaya rapid bus transport system. James Ball reported on the disgraceful state of the property in November 2017 (click here to view). Alas there has been no improvement. How very sad!
It has been about four decades since the people of Johannesburg rallied to put pressure on the Johannesburg City Council and the Foschini Group to save the Markhams Building from demolition. The article below, written by J Campbell-Pitt representing the then Transvaal Institute of Arhitects, reveals the architectural and historical significance of the building. The piece was published in the August 1979 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie takes a look at the exceptional life of Kathy Munro. The piece was published on Davie's website on 4 July 2018. Click here to view more of her work.
She is the daughter of the City of Gold and she is gorgeous. Sandton is definitely coming of age with landmark buildings around every corner. If you love her during the day, you should see her at night! Property owners and their lighting experts have created quite a show when the sun goes down. Below are a few photos taken by The Heritage Portal team to encourage you to explore the city at night.
The Drum Café has established itself as the foremost entertainment destination in drumming. For more than a decade the Drum Café has successfully offered corporate team building drumming events and performances. Its shows have gone round South Africa and been taken abroad. Drumming has become something of a South African export.
A Peep Into My Life, The Memoir of William Eastwood was reproduced in 2016, 82 years after it was initially published. This was done at the request of Eastwood's granddaughter Mary Drabbe, who is now proudly distributing his original work. Photographs and some relevant research has been added by compiler and editor Jennifer Els.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie tells the story of Taffy Long who was executed for a murder that took place during the 1922 Rand Revolt. The piece was originally published on the City of Johannesburg's website on 5 July 2002. Click here to view more of Davie's work. The image above shows Fordsburg Market Square during the Revolt.
On Saturday morning 16th June 2018, I attended a Johannesburg East Plans committee meeting. Our work is about heritage preservation while considering appropriate changes and new developments. Isabella Pingle, the representative of the Kensington Ratepayers and Residents Association, placed a photo before us showing the damage recently done to the Bez Valley World War I Memorial. The Memorial has effectively been destroyed despite the recent efforts of the local councillor Carlos Da Rocha and the community to clean the small park.
A short distance from the entrance to the Market Theatre is the famous jazz club Kippies. In the article below, Joburg journalist and explorer Lucille Davie reveals the story behind the building and the man that gave it its name. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 13 September 2002.
The recent Jozi Walks weekend brought a new verve and vibe to Hillbrow. Gerard Bester and his team of extraordinary young people of Hillbrow showed off the good, the funky and the dramatic side of Hillbrow life. It was a Hillbrow experience of note! Both the Saturday and the Sunday tours were fully booked. It is a first for the Theatre Community Centre and for the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie looks at the epic transformation of spaces across three buildings to form the Wits Art Museum (WAM). The piece is unique as Davie was able to draw from her experience on a behind the scenes tour shortly before WAM opened. The article was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 6 March 2012. Click here to view more of Davie's work.