I always welcome books about books and book people. If people are interested in the making of a book they are extending their grasp and reach of all things bookish and book collectable. I was delighted to acquire this new book on a recent visit to Cape Town and found myself reading it from cover to cover in a couple of hours (it is just over 100 pages).
As the 21st February 2018 marked the 101st anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi, I thought much about men at sea and the perils of travels by ship during war time. The First World War saw well over 140 ships lost at sea through U-boat action or sinking; there is a page on Wikipedia recording all such disasters where over 30 lives were lost.
Reviews of two Denis Godfrey books. First up The Enchanted Door published in 1963 followed by Antiques and Bygones: Notes for South African collectors released in 1967. Both books were published by Howard Timmins.
In the Footsteps of Gandhi An illustrated history of Johannesburg's Linksfield Ridge and environs by Alkis Doucakis, 2007, published by Colors, illustrated, 80 pages. This is a fascinating work of local history. It starts with the advantage of an appealing title, hanging the history of the north eastern suburbs of Johannesburg (Linksfield Ridge, Linksfield, Orange Grove, Norwood, Sydenham, and Observatory) to the association of Mahatma Gandhi and the Johannesburg German, Jewish architect Hermann Kallenbach in the early years of the 20th century.
Michael Walker is a Cape Town local historian and resident. He has written a number of books covering South African shipwrecks, railway journeys, coastal memories and then extended himself to the history of Simon’s Town, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and St James. Now Michael has combined his interest in architecture and postcards to publish three works of interest to all interested in architectural heritage:
The Barnett Collection A Pictorial Record of Early Johannesburg, published by The Star to commemorate the City's 80th year (Johannesburg, 1966). This large volume of sepia toned photographs of early years of life in Johannesburg was such a success that it became volume 1 of the now much sought after two volume set. The Barnett brothers, David and Joseph were photographers of the town. Their collection of over two thousand prints became a valuable and essential photographic record and resource of the emerging town and pioneering gold mining initiatives.
Africana Repository, R F Kennedy. Published by Juta, 1965, illustrated, 178 pages. This book is modestly subtitled, "Notes for a Series of lectures given to the Hillbrow Study Centre". It is an essential and scholarly guide to Africana book collecting. Kennedy was the Johannesburg City Librarian and was able to draw on and also shape the resources of the JPL and the Africana museum. Kennedy knew what he was talking about, he shared his knowledge with a lay lecture audience, keen collecting enthusiasts, historians and librarians.