LIFE IN KENSINGTON AND JOHANNESBURG FIFTY YEARS AGO

Andrew McDougall read this story yesterday (23 July 2015) on his programme The Canon Piper on Radio Today 1485 Here is a link to the programme: The Canon Piper 23 July 2015.

Recent photo of Windy Brow. Photo: Rev Fr Stewart Peart

Recent photo of Windy Brow. Photo: Rev Fr Stewart Peart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was born in Scotland and lived on and off in the United Kingdom for some years as well as in other places in South Africa, but I have lived in the suburb of Kensington, Johannesburg for most of my life since 1957. I came to South Africa from Scotland with my parents when I was five years old and spent my early years in Vanderbijl Park, a small town in the Vaal Triangle, where we knew most people. I cycled to the Vaal High School, coasting at speed down Faraday Boulevard in the morning and struggling uphill in the heat of the early afternoon.

In 1957 my parents made a sudden move to Johannesburg when my father was offered a job at Rogers-Jenkins with an old work colleague. The engineering company was situated in the Jeppe Dip of Main Street. Even in those days my parents were worried about the high crime rate in Johannesburg in comparison to our relatively crime-free small town. They put our furniture into storage and we lived at the Valmeidere Private Hotel in Roberts Avenue opposite Jeppe Boys’ High until we found somewhere permanent to live. I transferred to Form II (Grade 9) at Jeppe Girls’ High for the last term of that year. I was 13 years of age at the time the world was marvelling at the sight of Sputnik circling the earth each night. My parents thought the roads in Kensington were far too busy for me to ride my bicycle to school, so I caught the tram instead. The tramlines were in the middle of the road, so I prayed that oncoming cars would slow down long enough to give me time to reach the tram and mount its steep iron steps. On the first day at my new school I dodged the oncoming traffic as I walked halfway into the middle of Roberts Avenue to board the tram, and clung to one of the overhanging leather straps as the tram hurtled unsteadily down Roberts Avenue towards my new school. The conductor played a big part on the trip. He forced his way through the passengers to collect money for fares, giving tickets and change from the elaborate stainless steel machine attached around his neck with a leather strap, shouting, “Move further down the car,” to allow yet more people to squeeze into the tram on its peak-hour journey. “Hold tight, please! Move forward in the car. Kaartjies asseblief. All tickets please..” The ticket was to be guarded with one’s life in case the dreaded ticket inspector came on board. I didn’t know what the punishment would be if I lost my ticket, but I thought it must be jail at least, if not death by hanging.

In those days there was no such thing as off-the-shelf school dresses or gym slips. My mother had to buy material and take me to a recommended school dressmaker to be measured for my new uniform so I had to wear my Vaal High uniform until the new uniform was made. Girls in my new class eyed me curiously. One asked in hostile tones why I hadn’t gone to Queen’s High as the Vaal High uniform I wore was almost identical to that of Queen’s High. A kinder girl took pity on me and asked me to join her and her friends to eat my sandwiches with them at break. On the first day I wore my brand new Jeppe Girls’ High School uniform, I carried my regulation panama hat adorned with a band in school colours.

At the Vaal High, hats had not been a compulsory part of the uniform, although my mother had always insisted I should wear one to protect my pink and white Scottish complexion from the harsh sun of the Transvaal High Veld. The only vacant seat on the tram that morning was next to a large, fierce-looking Jeppe girl who sported a severe pudding basin haircut under her hat. She had a prefect badge attached to the front of her green school dress. She glowered at me in disgust, seemingly at a loss for words. I summoned up a watery smile, hoping to break the ice.For some reason she was extremely annoyed with me and I had no idea why. Eventually she managed to speak through her rage. “Why aren’t you wearing your hat? You are letting the school down. Put it on at once.” “I’m new. It’s my first day wearing my uniform. I didn’t know I had to wear it,” I muttered, pulling the offending object onto my head, the elastic tight under my chin. The girl softened slightly. “If you weren’t new you would be in detention this afternoon, writing out two hundred lines. Never let me see you without it again.” I learnt that it was a mortal sin to be seen without one’s hat at Jeppe Girls’ High! Apart from the fact that the girls don’t have to wear hats any more, uniforms of the Jeppe schools have not changed much in the last fifty years but they can be bought off the shelf now. The hard-working Kensington dressmakers of days gone by have long since vanished.

The red tram trundled on its way to school down the hill in Robert’s Avenue, past the suburban houses, interspersed with the Methodist Church on the right, the Kensington Hall on the left and the old low-rise, facebrick block of flats on the corner of Juno Street, which was used as an exterior shot on Egoli, M-Net’s erstwhile soapie. Soon I was venturing further afield on the tram, even braving the trip to the crowded city on Saturday morning.

Kensington remains much the same today as it was in 1957 with its neat suburban houses, the Jeppe Schools, the Kensington Clinic, known then as the Kensington Sanatorium and run by nuns, who later moved upmarket to the Kenridge Hospital in Parktown, now renamed again as the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre, the first private academic hospital in South Africa. The Reverend Fr. Stewart Peart sent me a photograph of Kensington Sanatorium in Roberts Avenue.  It  was designed by the Irish architect, John Francis Beardwood and built in 1897.

Kensington Sanatorium

On the way to the city– “going into town” – the tram passed through the suburbs of Fairview and Jeppestown. Nearer town was a big Chinese grocery store called Yenson’s. People came from all over Johannesburg to shop at Yensons because things were very reasonably priced. Then the tram swept along its tracks on Main Street into the city centre with its smart shops, such as Ansteys, John Orrs and Stuttafords.  Upmarket ladies of leisure from the suburbs, complete with matching hats, gloves, seamed stockings and hair newly set (sometimes blue-rinsed) whiled away their time, while  their maids, gardeners and nannies kept their homes, gardens and offspring in pristine condition.

Pritchard Street, Johannesburg, looking towards John Orr’s Department Store (far right).

These matrons met their friends for morning tea in one of the big department stores. Starched tablecloths, silver cutlery, pleasing crockery and an attentive waiter who probably knew his clientele by name served them. They drank tea or coffee and selected fancy cakes from three-tiered revolving plates to the strains of a discreet pianist or Hammond/Lowry organist playing popular tunes of the day. They were further entertained with a dress show of the latest fashions on sale in the shop. The mannequins paraded round the tearoom, discreetly informing each table of the cost of these creations, which could be purchased in the dress department of the store. Thrupps, the upmarket grocery store had a branch next to John Orr’s in Pritchard Street,  so the ladies often rounded off their morning in town by calling in at Thrupps to discuss the cost and quality of the Stilton cheese with the grocers, and take some delicacy home as a treat for their hard-working husbands to round off their evening meal. The centre of the city has probably changed in character more than any other part of Johannesburg. Many of the buildings remain, but they are used for different purposes today. The smart department stores have either closed or moved to shopping malls in the suburbs. The businesses which remain in the city have their solid security gates firmly locked  at closing time. The  city hall with its fine organ, was the venue for symphony and lunch-hour concerts fifty years ago. The symphony concerts are now presented at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown, and  there are very few concerts held at the city hall these days. Even the fine central library has been closed for renovations recently. I wonder if it will every open again.   We moved into a flat in Samad Court at the corner of Queens Street and Langermann Drive. Samad Court is still here, but the flats were turned into offices some years ago. In the middle of 1958 we returned to the UK and when we came back my parents bought a house in Juno Street. We lived next to the tennis courts and bowling greens of the Kensington Club – I passed there the other day and it looks as though the tennis court next to our old house has disappeared. A half-built building has taken its place.

Our home in Kensington (1959)

Our house had a coal stove in the kitchen where the food was cooked and we had a coal fire in the sitting room so we were never cold in winter as we often are today when we are trying to cut down on electricity usage, and there’s a shortage of gas for heaters. Periodically we would have coal delivered to our cellar from Mac Phail’s, whose slogan was “Mac won’t Phail you”. My mother had an account with the local butcher and Ford’s grocery store and she  placed orders at these shops by phone. She had leisurely discussions with the butcher about the best cuts of meat, and with Mr Ford about the quality of his fruit and vegetables. These orders were delivered to the house, and a quart of milk arrived from the dairy early each morning, and a fresh loaf of bread with a tiny label stuck to it was delivered periodically by a local bakery.My closest friend at school was Daphne Darras, whose father owned the big plant nursery at the corner of Juno Street and Kitchener Avenue, the site of the Darras Shopping Centre today.

Jacaranda time in Juno Street.

There were two cinemas in Kensington in 1957 – the Regent in Langerman Drive where Kentucky Fried Chicken is today, and the Gem at the other side of Kensington, bordering Fairview. I remember seeing Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins at the Regent many decades ago. My father took our dog for a walk every evening and sometimes he would walk to the library at Rhodes Park which was open until 8pm in those days. If he was still alive I don’t suppose he would risk taking these evening walks now. Saturday mornings On Saturday morning, the town was crammed with shoppers and cinema-goers. In 1957, girls wore wide skirts with starched hooped petticoats so it was a real crush walking along the pavement with all those skirts brushing against each other.  Shoes with pointed toes and high thin heels made walking precarious, not to mention setting us up for corns and bunions by the time we reached middle age. My mother was adamant that I should wear sensible shoes with tickey (small) heels rather than hurple around in three-inch heels, probably putting my insides and my spine out of alignment into the bargain. The Jo’burg cinemas were impressive art deco palaces, but the décor was enshrouded in a smoky fug, in an era when smoking was still allowed in cinemas – but not in theatres. I certainly wouldn’t survive in a fug like that now with smoking banned in public places, but it didn’t worry me then. We saw Debbie Reynolds in Tammy and the Bachelor in the Colosseum in Commissioner Street, where the interior was created like a fairy castle with little turrets and windows on the walls, and the ceiling a night sky of deep blue, glimmering with stars.

Colosseum, Commissioner Street, Johannesburg

There was also the Empire and Her Majesty’s. Both these cinemas were sometimes used as venues for live shows, variety, musicals and opera. Stars like Johnny Ray, Tommy Steele, Tommy Trinder, Max Bygraves and Cliff Richard graced the stage of one or other of these theatres in the fifties. The first variety show I saw in Johannesburg was British comedian, Tommy Trinder at His Majesty’s. I was mesmerised. “If its laughter you’re after, Trinder’s the name,” was his by-line. We sat in the dress circle and I was so excited by the experience that I missed my footing on the deeply carpeted steps at the interval, and, to my deep mortification, I rolled all the way down, unable to bring myself to a halt until I reached the bottom of the steps. A year or two later, Cliff Richard came out to do some shows with The Shadows at the Empire. I didn’t really like that kind of music but I went into the city with some school friends to find a mob of people blocking Eloff Street outside the old Carlton Hotel where he was staying. They were all screaming for their idol, “We want Cliff…”. At last the crowd was rewarded when he appeared briefly on the balcony of the hotel to wave rather diffidently at the massive crowd to the accompaniment of cheers and howls of mad adulation from his besotted fans, who were oblivious of the fact that they were causing a massive traffic jam in the centre of the city at rush-hour.

Old Carlton Hotel, corner Eloff and Market Streets, Johannesburg. Demolished in 1964.

The Music Studios After I left school I took music lessons in town. I studied singing with famous British duettists, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth in their studio on the eighth floor of Polliack’s building in Pritchard Street just off Eloff Street, and piano with Sylvia Sullivan whose studio was in Edinburgh Court in Von Brandis Street diagonally opposite  the Jeppe Street post office.

Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler (1963)

OK Bazaars, corner Pritchard/Eloff Streets, Johannesburg

Sylvia Sullivan Chorister. I am in the middle, wearing a hairband.

Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth (1963)

Sylvia Sullivan with her great-niece

In those days most music teachers of any repute had studios in town and their pupils travelled by bus from all over Johannesburg. My parents bought me a leather music case and I was always interested to recognise fellow aspirant musicians with similar cases to mine on the way to their music lessons at one or other of the studios. These days music teachers work from their homes in the suburbs and pupils are usually taken to their lessons by car.

Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth outside their first home at Waverley, Highlands North (1956

Sylvia Sullivan was a highly qualified and gifted teacher of singing and piano. She took her work very seriously and expected her pupils to do the same. She was very strict but always gave credit where it was due. She was at her studio for early morning lessons, then off to teach class music at Parktown Girls’ High School and Nazareth House, then back to the studio for more lessons after school finished, until late in the evening. Mrs Sullivan had a suite of rooms in Edinburgh Court, with grand pianos in the two bigger studios, and uprights in the smaller ones so that pupils could put in some last minute practice before their lessons. In addition to their  private lesson she expected her pupils to go in to her studio early on a Saturday morning to work at ear tests, sight-reading and duets. Once a month she held a performance day when everyone had to play or sing to her and fellow pupils – quite an ordeal – but it got us used to performing in public and at examinations. The morning was rounded off with choir practice as members of the Sylvia Sullivan Choristers.

Anne and Webster had a large, airy studio, with an inter-leading office, and a tiny kitchen in the narrow hall, where pupils waited for their lessons if they arrived early. They had a Chappell Grand piano and a full-length mirror, so that pupils could look at themselves while they were singing, not only to make sure that their posture was good and they looked pleasant, but that they were opening their mouths on the high notes and singing with flat tongues no matter what vowel they sang.  On the wall were innumerable pictures of themselves with various well-known celebrities, taken in their hey-day when they had been top of the bill on the variety circuit and, in addition, Webster had been one of the foremost oratorio soloists of his generation in the United Kingdom. When I was nineteen they asked me to accompany for Webster in the studio when Anne had other engagements. Acting as his studio accompanist was one of the highlights of my life.

 

 

Seeing the photograph of the Kensington Sanatorium in its early days reminded me of  an incident when I was playing for Webster and he drove me home after we had been working in the studio one Saturday morning. My best friend, Ruth Ormond had tickets for the forthcoming recital by the distinguished soprano Maria Stader and she asked the Booths to accompany her to the concert. On Saturday morning, Webster came into the studio feeling tired. He grumbled about having to go to the Maria Stader concert that evening with Ruth and Anne when he would have preferred to have had an early night.

After we finished working he drove me home at lunchtime in his blue Hillman Minx convertible. It was a lovely warm day so he put the roof down. He said sombrely that it would be better if I could go to the concert in his place. But then he added, “It would break Ruth’s heart if I didn’t go.” Without being bigheaded he was perfectly aware of the power and influence he exerted over us lesser mortals.

Just as we were passing the Kensington Sanatorium he said, “It’s such a lovely day. Let’s just keep on driving all the way to Durban”. Lovely impossible idea.

Instead of driving to Durban, he dutifully took me home, and he and Anne went to the concert with Ruth that night as planned. I heard all about the concert on Sunday when Ruth and I went to the SABC to a studio recital given by Shura Cherkassky, the world-renowned pianist. I remember his brilliant performance of the Mozart sonata in B flat, which was in my own repertoire, and Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

I remained close friends of Anne and Webster and Sylvia Sullivan until their deaths.

Changes in Kensington  Houses in Queen Street and parts of Langerman Drive are largely used for business purposes today. I remember two elegant houses at the corner of Langerman Drive and Queen Street when they were large private residences. Windy Brow has been used for various business ventures, while the other was demolished completely to make way for a garage, but most of the original Kensington houses are still standing. Kensingtonians are lucky that the CBD shifted to Sandton rather than to the East, so the suburb has not changed as much as many other Johannesburg suburbs. When I look back on the South Africa of my youth and compare it with South Africa today, things have changed so much that I sometimes feel as though I am living in an entirely different country. But although there have been many, changes in Kensington, some for better, some for worse, it is still much as I remember it fifty odd years ago and retains an ongoing sense of community for its inhabitants.

3 March 2015 – Update Yesterday I had a phone call from the Rev. Fr. Stewart Peart, who had attended the funeral service of Mrs Marcella Gill  at St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Kensington that morning.  While he was in the area he managed to take some lovely photographs and I am posting them here. I am very grateful to Stewart for sharing these photographs with me. I was musical director at St Andrew’s for 13 years and retired at the end of 2005 so I was pleased to see that the church in Ocean Street looks very much as I remember it.

St Andrew’s, Ocean Street, Kensington. Photo: Rev. Fr. Stewart Peart

The next photograph is of the Atwell’s former home in Ocean Street. Unfortunately a large wall has been erected so one cannot see much of the house itself, but I’m sure it will still be of interest.

The Atwell's former residence, now with a large wall surrounding it. Photo: Rev. Fr. Stewart Peart.

The Atwell’s former residence, now with a large wall surrounding it. Photo: Rev. Fr. Stewart Peart.

Many people wondered what had happened to the once-beautiful home at the corner of Langerman Drive and Queens Street – Windybrow. Stewart took two photographs of the building, which is now in a sad state of decay.

Windybrow, corner Langerman Drive and Queens Street, Kensington. Photo: Rev. Fr Stewart Peart.

Windybrow, corner Langerman Drive and Queens Street, Kensington. Photo: Rev. Fr Stewart Peart.

Windybrow, corner Langerman Drive and Queens Street, Kensington. Photo: Rev. Fr Stewart Peart. Sadly in a state of decay.

Windybrow, corner Langerman Drive and Queens Street, Kensington. Photo: Rev. Fr Stewart Peart. Sadly in a state of decay.

 

Recent photo of Windy Brow. Photo: Rev Fr Stewart Peart

Recent photo of Windy Brow. Photo: Rev Fr Stewart Peart

Photo: Rev Fr Stewart Peart

Photo: Rev Fr Stewart Peart

Photo: Rev Fr Stewart Peart

Photo: Rev Fr Stewart Peart

Updated – – 16 June 2015

Jean Collen ©

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220 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kevin Keenan
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 00:09:58

    Hello Jean, I’ve just read your very interesting article about Kensington in the 50’s. I’m a recently-moved-in resident (three years ago) and love the neighbourhood, so much so that the company of which I am a director is currently considering buying the very building you mention that is still standing on the corner of Queen St and Langermann Drive. Sadly, no-one can give me any information about the building, except to say they believe it is a heritage site, but don’t know why. Perhaps you could give me some information about it. I hope so as that may add to the charm and historical value of the building, which we would like to preserve.
    I thank you in advance for your reply and look forward to hearing from you.
    Sincerely

    Kevin Keenan

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    Reply

    • Valerie Moussouris
      Mar 03, 2014 @ 15:56:07

      Hi Kevin,
      I live in a Retirement Village in Kensington and have read your article on the building on the corner of Queen St & Langerman Drive.
      My dad had a café on the corner in the very early years. I think it would have been about 1933 to about 1946. Not sure.
      The house my parents lived in was at the corner of the parking lot in Queen St.
      It was called the Golf Tea Lounge and my MOM used to tell me that the Gold Course had just opened and my Dad’s shop was very busy.
      When I was born we lived in Langerman on the corner of Panther and Langerman.
      Regards Valerie Moussouris

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      • jean2371
        Mar 03, 2014 @ 16:31:33

        Hello Valerie,
        Thank you so much for adding your interesting memories to this page. What a pity the golf course is no longer there! I hope Kevin will see your post and respond to it.
        Regards,
        Jean.

        Like

      • Basil Goldstein
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 19:43:25

        When did you live on Panther Street?
        We lived in 46 Panther & I was born in 1948. I lived till I married in 1974.

        Like

      • Joan Dawn Wells
        Aug 29, 2016 @ 20:34:50

        Would this be Valerie Paizes, who had a sister called Natalie. I went to Leicester Road school and Jeppe Girls with her.
        Dawn Dommann.

        Like

    • Percy Lugg
      Sep 19, 2016 @ 15:37:21

      I would like to add three photographs that i took of Windy brow in 1983

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  2. jean2371
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:36:18

    Hello Kevin,
    Thank you for your interesting comment. It is a shame to see this building, which was once a very attractive private home, going to wrack and ruin as it appears to be empty at the moment. It has been used as a restaurant and for various other business ventures since it was sold about 25 years ago.
    I suggest that you have a look at the link to the I Love Kensington Heritage Association and make further enquiries about it there. The link to their page on Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ILKA-Kensington-Heritage/199141386799487?ref=ts

    Kind regards,
    Jean

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    • Kevin Keenan
      Oct 13, 2011 @ 14:34:55

      Hello Jean, thanks for your prompt rsponse. I did find the ILKA details and subsequently spoken with them and been referred to their expert, with who I will speak shortly. Be assured that if we do buy the building, we will restore it back to glory, perhaps not quite the former glory it once obviously had, but certainly to a better state than that in which it now finds itself.

      By the way, it was originally the mayor of Kensington’s home, though that is yet to be verified.

      We also noticed that the whole front facade is obviously much more recent than the riginal part of the building. It is that enclosed room that runs along the Queen Street side of the building. Do recall it as being developed in that way or is that since your childhood?

      Thanks again.

      Regards

      Kevin

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      • Barry McCarthy
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 11:41:24

        Word has it that the building is haunted. The supposed ghost will not allow any business to run there. Lots of people have tried and lost big money there.

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  3. jean2371
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 15:49:13

    Hello Kevin,
    Thanks for your subsequent comment. I’m glad you have managed to make contact with Kensington Heritage. I’m not sure whether a Jo’burg Mayor ever lived there – possibly even before my time – but remember that the house was called “Windy Brow” when it was a residential property. There have been extensive renovations done to it since it was sold. As far as I remember, most of the changes have been made to the front of the house. I hope you will be able to acquire it and I will look forward to seeing this very fine property being suitably restored.
    Regards,
    Jean

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  4. Ethel Sleith
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 23:36:23

    Hello Jean,

    I happened upon your article by chance, and was very glad to have done so. I found myself nodding and smiling at many of your references to life in Johannesburg 50 years ago. I recall trips to town with my dad on a Saturday morning. He’d have coffee and I’d have a Coke and a bun in a little cafe in Market Street. It was my treat for the week. We lived in Brixton, another very old area. In fact, the house I was raised is was some years ago declared a national monument! It’s an original brick and iron house, and I doubt there are many of those left.

    I’m delighted that Kevin’s company is considering buying Windy-Brow. It was truly a beautiful home and the renovations to turn it into a restaurant completely spoiled the lovely facade. I’m sure the ILKA Heritage Association will know it’s history.

    Kensington became my home 6 years ago, and I don’t envisage ever living anywhere else in the future.

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  5. jean2371
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 00:12:29

    Hello Ethel,

    Thank you so much for your interesting comment on this article. It is fascinating to hear of your memories of Johannesburg all those years ago. I loved going into town in those days, but I haven’t been to the centre of the city for at least ten years. I’m glad you are living in Kensington now. It is a very pleasant suburb and I don’t think we will ever leave it after living here for so many years.

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  6. Phil Riley
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 08:57:19

    Hello Kevin Are you still interested in Windybrow? I own a business directly opposite from there and would like to discuss further with you. Regards Phil Riley 011 622 6189.

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  7. Susan Centonzo
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 11:26:27

    Dear Jean,
    My Great Auntie was Sylvia Sullivan. My Mother was named for her.
    I still have the “Rendezvous” LP.
    I wish I could have known her.
    Thank you so much for sharing your memories.
    Susan

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    • jean2371
      Jan 31, 2012 @ 12:40:21

      Hello Susan,
      Thank you so much for your comment – I was delighted to hear from you. Sylvia Sullivan was a wonderful person, as well as being an excellent musician and dedicated teacher. We remained friends until her death and I have very fond memories of her. Are you related to Svea, her niece? I well remember when we made the recording of “Rendezvous” when I was a young girl in 1964 – nearly fifty years ago. With all good wishes to you and your family. Jean

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  8. Stewart Peart
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 13:36:12

    Dear Jean,
    What a delight your article was, and it brought back many, many happy memories.
    We lived in Ocean Street, and I went to Leicester Road Primary and Queens High, matriculating in 1966.
    I remember going to work with my Dad and travelling on the F1 tram to Loveday street, on the side of the City Hall. Also going with my Mother , My sister and Aunt to John Orr’s, and having tea just as you described it, Mrs Jean Kirkland (a friend of the family) was one of the manequins, and it was a great delight when she stopped and chatted with my Mom and Aunt.
    In as much as “Windy Brow” is concerned, I have stayed there, as friends of the family lived there, and my Mom and Dad decided to go on a holiday, when I had just started working and was unable to go with them. A really beautiful home, all panelled and lovely black and white tiled floors.
    I now live in Eden Glen near the airport, and sometimes drive through Kensington, sometimes my old heart gets quite heavy at some of the changes that have taken place, but there are many many happy memories that still remain.

    Thank you so much!
    Stewart

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    • jean2371
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 19:32:04

      Dear Stewart,
      Thank you so much for your delightful comment on my post. You brought back some memories I had forgotten, such as the number of the Kensington tram being F1! Loveday Street was the terminus for trams to Kensington in those days and I particularly remember waiting for the tram there with other Jeppe girls after we had attended a matinee performance of the opera, “La Traviata” at the Empire. Mrs Mabel Fenney (later Perkin) was music teacher at our school for a term while Miss Heller was on long leave and she had arranged the outing for us.

      I agree that there have been many changes to the Kensington we knew years ago, but I don’t think the suburb has changed in character as much as many other Jo’burg suburbs have done. Who would have thought that Sandton would become the new CBD?

      All good wishes,
      Jean

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    • Dorothy Bates
      Oct 28, 2012 @ 22:52:34

      Are you the Stewart Peart that worked at British Engine Insurance, Johannesburg ? (1967)
      Dorothy Bates.

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      • Rev Fr Stewart Peart
        Oct 29, 2012 @ 07:26:57

        Hello Dorothy Bates

        Yes indeed it is I, from many years ago. Offices in Commisioner street as I remember.

        Like

    • Peart
      Dec 23, 2012 @ 20:19:06

      Are you the Stewart Peart that posted on Roots Web in 2002? If you are, please visit the site – we are searching for you.

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    • Katharina
      Apr 18, 2013 @ 15:40:40

      Dear Stewart,

      Thank you for sharing your memories! I stumbled across this blog while trying to locate respondents for a research project (I am a post graudate student as well as a research assistant at Wits University).
      Are you still in contact with Mrs Jean Kirkland and do you perhaps know whether she worked at John Orr”s between 1940 and 1970? This is the period for which I am trying to find respondents who worked in Jo’burg departments stores such as John Orr’s, Stuttafords, Greatermans, etc.

      I would be delighted if you could provide me with more information.

      Looking forward to your response,

      Katharina

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      • jean2371
        Apr 18, 2013 @ 19:30:30

        Hello Katharina, Thank you for your kind comment and your memories of living in Ocean Street and going to Leicester Road and Queen’s High. I hope you hear from Stewart Peart and that you will be able to trace those who worked in those big department stores in Jo’burg. Sadly, these stores seem to have disappeared without trace, although I believe that Anstey’s is going to be (or is) a store again.

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      • Leonor Simões
        Apr 19, 2013 @ 10:16:12

        I worked at John Orr`s for about 2 years from early 1968 to end of 1969 in the credit department. At first in the typing pool and then promoted to secretary to the credit manageress. Unfortunately I do not remember any of the names but do recall that the credit manager was Irish and the credit manageress was very sweet. I also remember spending my lunch hours, after having had my lunch in the canteen, on the roof catching a bit of sun and reading.

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      • jean2371
        Apr 19, 2013 @ 10:24:44

        Hello Leonor, Thank you for your interesting comment about working in John Orr’s. I often went into John Orr’s as the department store was near Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth’s studio in Polliack’s Corner in Pritchard Street. It was a wonderful store with all the different departments, a pleasant “rest room” and restaurant. The building is still there but it is a completely different firm these days.

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      • Stewart Peart
        Apr 23, 2013 @ 09:07:49

        Dear Katharina
        Was just sitting here thinking about what you had said about “working” at those Department Stores, and because Mrs Kirkland was a mannequin/model, I presumed that that was what you were talking about, I worked as a “Trainee Manager” for OK Bazaars from 1967 to 69, moving from Eloff Street, to Kerk Street, Braamfontien and then finally at Orange Grove. Don’t know if that will help, give me a shout if there is anything I can do.
        All the best,
        Stewart

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      • Rhona Matthews
        Oct 09, 2013 @ 19:42:01

        Hi Katharina, my husbands late Mom worked at Greatermans as a Womenswear fashion buyer for 30 years….1956 to 1986.
        Her name was Helen Matthews.

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      • Valerie Arnott nee McFarlane
        Mar 10, 2014 @ 23:06:11

        I live in Queensland Australia. I just wanted to tell you about my great aunt Hilda Hembury she work for John Orr & Co from when she left school until she came to Australia in 1968 in her late 70’s. I lived in Ocean Street until 1947 when we moved to Durban. I attended hill rest school and my brother went to Jeppe Boys High. Our name was McFarlane.

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      • Valerie Arnott nee McFarlane
        Mar 10, 2014 @ 23:47:12

        Dear Katharina , my first reply is a bit of a mess the school I went to was Hiilcrest school just off highland road. My mother Dorothy Gibb worked at John Orr’s in the 30-40’s I’m not sure for how long but she worked alongside her Aunt Hilda Hembury. Old John Orr was still in charge of his store when they worked there. The reason Hilda was allowed to work so long was because in John Orr’s will the very old staff was to be allowed to work as long as they liked. Apparently the ladies did not hAve a pension plan and he set it up that when they did eventually leave they were to get a pension. I’m sure that is what I was told. It was great to hear about kensington. I’m not sure if our no was 21 Ocean street . The house on the corner had a lot of fruit trees and they were guarded by geese,very vicious geese, we were chased a lot as we tried to pinch fruit and then hop the wall into our own yard.

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      • Peter and Carol Billings
        Mar 11, 2014 @ 11:34:23

        Hello Valerie. We have read your comments regarding Kensington with interest. Do you remember the Billings Family who lived at 23 Ocean Street. Peter seems to remember you, and thinks that you may have been friends with one of his sisters – either Linda or Susie? Peter says that you would not have lived at 21 Ocean Street, as their neighbours at 21 were the Flucker Family – Margaret, Jill and Joy and at No. 25 was Mrs Cross with her daughter Jill. In No. 19 was Malcolm and Graham Fraser/Cook. Accross the road from Peter the Hubbard Family lived – Pamela, Cynthia and Geoffrey, and next door to them was the Fick Family – Dawn and her brother? At the time the Mayor of Johannesburg, the Attwells also lived in Ocean Street, and accross the road from them were the Davids Family – George and Johnnie. George was a Radio Announcer for LM Radio and went under the name of George Wayne. That was when David Davies was also with LM Radio. Both of us were confirmed in St. Andrews Church, and also got married there, and both our Children, Byrone and Lauren were Baptised in that Church. You can read our Blog on the right hand side of Jean’s Article on Kensington, and you will see some of our Photographs. Also noted that your Mother and Aunt had worked at John Orrs. Carol’s Aunt Sue Barbour used to work in the Mail Order Department of John Orrs in the 1960s. Carol’s sister Alison Birch has also written her Memories of Kensington on Jean’s Website. Look forward to hearing from you. Peter and Carol Billings.

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    • Jennifer Leslie Hammond
      Oct 16, 2016 @ 18:09:49

      Hello Stewart, Was your sister Margaret ?

      Kind regards
      Jennifer Hammond nee Hutton

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  9. execelsior
    May 03, 2012 @ 03:46:23

    I have really enjoyed reading your article and the comments. Thank you for this post.

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    • jean2371
      May 03, 2012 @ 13:52:15

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I look forward to reading your posts.

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      • Heather Brenda Montjoie Cantrell
        Oct 30, 2012 @ 07:23:49

        Hello Jean, boy does this bring back memories. I used to walk home from Jeppe High with my best friend Rena Landsman, over the koppie into Magnet Street, then visit with my aunty Ruth and her family, then walk with Rena to Essex Street, and then go further up the road to Lorentzhill where we used to live before moving to Mufulira. I am now totally homesick.

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      • jean2371
        Oct 30, 2012 @ 08:09:37

        Hello Heather, Thanks for your kind comment on my post. I’m so glad my article brought back some happy memories of those far-off days.

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  10. Marlene
    May 06, 2012 @ 21:34:20

    I came across your article by chance and really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for the interesting things mentioned. I lived in Phoenix Street as a child, went to Kensington South Primary, then to Queens High and Opt’Hof Commercial. My late mother always said that Kensington remained a good suburb because it did not have a hotel.

    Today I visited ‘Lindfield’ Victorian House Museum (22 rooms) in Auckland Park. Absolutely stunning and fascinating. Words just can’t describe it. To view it you can phone (011)726 2932 for an appointment to view it. The owner, Katharine Love, in the guise of a Victoria parlourmaid, is the guide.

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    • jean2371
      May 06, 2012 @ 23:11:23

      Hello Marlene, Thank you for your kind comment. Your late mother was probably right about Kensington remaining a good suburb because there is no hotel there. I have a feeling that the owner of the land on which the suburb was built stipulated that no alcohol licences should be granted in the area, although I know there’s a bottle store in Langerman Drive, so perhaps this ruling fell away.

      Thanks for telling me about “Lindfield” Victorian House Museum in Auckland Park. I didn’t know of its existence, but I will certainly try to visit it some time.

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  11. Leonor Simões
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 23:13:54

    Hi Jean
    Reading your story has brought back many memories. We also emigrated to South Africa from Portugal end of 1956 and lived in Malvern until I married and in 1968 bought my first home on Highland Road corner Orion Street, Kensington, We renovated the old house and lived there for a few years, later we built a house on Van Buuren Road in Bedfordview, but Highland Road was very beautiful with its jacaranda trees. We moved back to Portugal in 1987 and have returned on a few occasions to South Africa on holiday. On my last visit about 5 years ago the house we renovated Kensington hadn’t changed much, the old precast wall was replaced with a brick wall, otherwise everything was the same. Would love to go back again, but I don’t see it happenning. Best wishes.

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    • jean2371
      Jun 16, 2012 @ 10:10:51

      Hi Leonor,
      Thank you for your interesting memories of living in Malvern, Kensington and Bedfordview. Many parts of Johannesburg have changed beyond recognition, but Kensington is still very much the same as it was years ago. Sandton has turned into the new Central Business District and is very busy and congested now, but Kensington is still a middle class residential suburb as it was fifty years ago. The only change is the cost of houses. My father bought our house in Juno Street in 1959 for around R6000. My husband and I bought our Oxford Road house in 1974 for R26000. Nowadays most properties here are well over a million Rands.
      All good wishes, Jean

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    • Katharina
      Apr 22, 2013 @ 09:23:36

      Hi Leonor,

      I am having difficulty replying to your comment above, so I’m replying here. Thank you for sharing your memories of working at John Orr’s! Would you be willing to give a Skype/telephone interview at some point in time for us to find out more about your experiences whilst working there? (The head researcher would conduct the interview.) If you are willing, please send me an email at: katharina.alexandra@gmail.com

      Best wishes,
      Katharina

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  12. Lisette
    Sep 02, 2012 @ 02:02:49

    I enjoyed reading about your life in Kensington. I lived on Minerva Street and was 10 years old in 1958, but you may have known my neighbor Pauline Brain who was 14 and also went to Jeppe Girls High. I went to school at Jeppe Prep. We left that year, moving to the United States, and I have never had the opportunity to go back. Thank you for an interesting read.

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    • jean2371
      Sep 02, 2012 @ 12:15:53

      Thanks so much for your interesting comment. You would probably find Minerva Street much the same as when you lived there all those years ago. Apart from Queen’s Street and Langerman Drive where businesses are replacing private houses, Kensington hasn’t changed too much over the years.

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      • Lisette
        Sep 02, 2012 @ 21:56:20

        Several years ago I found Colm Burns there in Kensington (he is active in ILKA) and he agreed to take some photos of our house (#19 Minerva St.) and the surrounding streets. So kind of him to do that, and great for me to have as I have been putting together a scrapbook and writing about our life there and our trip to America via the Netherlands in the spring of 1958.

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      • jean2371
        Sep 02, 2012 @ 22:03:35

        I often get emails from Colm Burns in connection with ILKA and affairs in Kensington. I like the idea of your scrapbook. It is important to share our memories so that people have an idea about what life was like in those days.

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      • Lisette
        Sep 02, 2012 @ 22:08:33

        I have two young grandsons (2 and 5) and by the time they may be interested in my early years I may not be here anymore. My next project is to write down what my parents told me of their experience in occupied Holland during WW2. Other relatives have told me things too – very important that those memories don’t get lost!

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      • jean2371
        Sep 02, 2012 @ 22:42:47

        I quite agree with you, Lisette. Life in occupied Holland must have been very hard and not many people are still alive to recall those days. You should publish a book about it.

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    • provo48
      Jun 26, 2014 @ 16:13:43

      Hello Lisette,
      If you go to maps.google.com, you can actually go to “Streetview” but firstly going to Kensington on the map and then dragging the little yellow man in the bottom right of the screen onto a road of your choice and do a virtual tour with your computer mouse.
      I loved Hillbrow as a teenager, but going there now is extremely dangerous, but I did a tour of Hillbrow but using the above and it was great.
      Barry Eslick

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    • Jeanette Airey (nee Fisher)
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 21:58:30

      Pauline Brain was in my class at Jeppe Girls and in 2011 we had our 50th Matric Reunion at the school and Pauline was there – hadn’t changed a bit!! Last time I had seen her was in Matric in 1961. I lived in 255 Highland Road, Kensington

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      • Joan Dawn Wells
        Aug 29, 2016 @ 20:32:44

        Jeannette Fisher was my Patrol Leader when I joined Girl Guides in Kensington in about 1958, 26th Johannesburg Coy, we met in Rhodes Park. Her Dad drove an old Peugeot car!! Will she remember me, I was Dawn Dommann and lived in Bez Valley, I went to Leicester Road School and Jeppe Girls. I will be 70 next year and have lived in the UK for almost twenty years.

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  13. Katherine Munro
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 21:50:48

    Thank you for your Kensington memories. I read with enjoyment and nostalgia. I grew up in Johannesburg in the same period and attended Johannesburg Girls High School. We are celebrating a 50 year reunion of my matric class of 1962. Do you remember that Jeppe and JGHS were great rivals at the interschool swimming gaa at Ellis Park pool an annual jamboree. I can remember my uniforms being purchased at McCullogh and Bothwell and they were off the peg but bought in very large sizes , so one could grow into the dress or blazer and extend its life. We wore white panama hats in summer and black felt in winter and yes, the uniform was incomplete without the hat. Our white dresses needed daily laundering . I remember my mother taking me to Kensington for a last tram ride from Market Square to Roberts Avenue. I also remember going to both the cinemas you mention and they both survived for decades. Evelyn Yenson of the Chinese Yenson family of grocery fame was a good friend .. I remember attending her goodbye party in athe Catholic Hall when the family emigrated to Kensington. Family friends lived in Highlands Road and we visited often with pleasant walks in the neighbourhood.

    Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were great favourites and I keenly sought their autographs for my autographs book. what about Eve Boswell? I did not sing but for several years I was a pupil of Ivy Conmie who taught ballet in a number of church halls. I can remember rehearsing for a concert in the Anglican Church hall in Kensington . What about the ballroom dancing classes of Arthur Murray in the studio in Jeppe Street? Stiff petticoats and a wide skirted pretty dress were essential to show off your steps doing the cha cha and of course your legs. One felt very grown up taking a municipal trolley bus to town for shopping or the dentist or dancing or the movies.

    I still live in Johannesburg in an older suburb and still view the old city with affection and celebrate its raw edged history . I love the mine dumps and the old headgear where they have survived (take a visit to Selby and see the old Top Star drivein disappearing through reminding) . Joburg still the place that gives many newcomers and immigrants their foot up in the world. the litter, filth, the missing man hole covers, the graffiti, hand made shop signs, burnt out inner city buildings and the mass of humanity on the street corners give the city a different feel , but it’s the same exciting place for old and new residents. it’s more African in feel, but still cosmopolitan, Enough people have faith in Johannesburg to see it saved, revived and resurrected for 21st century living,

    On a point of information the Johannesburg Public Library has indeed reopened and the redevelopment (the architect is Jonathan Stone) was supported by the City of Johannesburg and the Carnegie Foundation. The new library is brilliant and serves the citizens who appreciate the rich holdings in music, fine arts, children’s books, reference works . it’s modern and a delight and city money well spent but with a sensitivity about heritage , its treasures and its history. Citizens should be flowing back because we have an extraordinary public library in Jhb. At the same time resources have been put into technology and internet connectiity and the provision of study spaces for young students. I have written an article on the JPL in the June/July issue of Architecture SA.

    Your piece certainly brought back good memories. Thank you

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  14. jean2371
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 22:28:27

    Thank you for your interesting comment, Katherine. You certainly brought back more memories of old Johannesburg to me. I was delighted to hear that the Central library has been restored and I have seen some of the photos of the library after its restoration. It was always one of my favourite places in Johannesburg. I spent a great deal of time in the reference and music libraries when I was studying for my music diplomas.

    Our fiftieth reunion at Jeppe should have taken place in 2010, but nothing was arranged, possibly because so many people from our year have left the country. I hope you have a wonderful time at yours.

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    • Dennis Juniper
      Aug 30, 2016 @ 00:19:09

      Hi Joan Dawn Wells,

      I see where the confusion comes in my sister was at Johannesburg Girls High School (JGHS) in know that Jeppe Girls did not have a borders.

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  15. Alison Birch [nee Falwasser]
    Oct 31, 2012 @ 18:31:09

    Jean,
    I too came across your very interesting article by chance. It brought back so many good memories.
    We lived in Roberts Avenue across the road from Jeppe Girl’s tennis courts. We, my sister Carol and I went to Jeppe Prep and then Jeppe Girls.
    Those ‘were the good old days’ I remember so well the butchery which you spoke about! 3 brothers Steve, Vic and Brian. Dawn was Brian’s wife and she was the cashier [they lived across the road] Always time for a chat! Also Mr Ford at the grocery store.
    Jean, I do remember hot bread being delivered. The van would stop across the road and whoever needed would go out and buy [no packets; but later the little strip of paper to wrap around the bread.]
    The Lancaster shopping centre consisted of a Dairy [even though milk was delivered to your home] Katy Ameridakis’s granny had the fish and chip shop, which was very popular, especially when we had sport’s activities in the afternoon.
    Mrs Richardson’s haberdashery shop; where you could buy everything imaginable – from buttons to material. Then there was the Shoemaker…in those days we had shoes re-heeled and re-soled!
    On the corner was a Veggie shop; his goods cascading onto the pavement. No-one seemed to mind!
    Kensington Trading store the grocery shop owned by Mr & Mrs Hurwitz – tins packed right up to the roof. There was a ladder for those articles not too high up and then for the very high one’s; a long pole with a hook which they used to “fish” the tins; and would then have to catch them. I honestly cannot remember seeing one dropped! If you had a large order you could phone it through, it would be delivered by bicycle and you would pay the delivery man.
    The Lancaster tearoom with pin ball machine’s in the back [horrors] and next door Schwartz’s Chemist. And another veggie shop / cafe.
    Just down Lancaster Street was a hardware shop, Franks and Manny’s fruit / veg shop. My mom, sister and I would walk down there on a Fri evening. Mom would choose her produce, put it in a huge basket, pay for it and then it would be delivered by bicycle on the Sat.
    We also walked down to Rhodes park library in the evenings. The swimming pool was a huge attraction [in those days no home had a pool] Rhodes park always so well ‘manicured’
    Kevin Keenan [and a couple of others] enquired / commented about the house on the corner Langerman Drive and Queen. When we were at school that house was owned by the Gray’s of “Gray Smith” – general dealer and bottle store which was situated in Fairview / Jeppe. Linda Gray was in my class.
    Hope you enjoy some of my memories of Kensington…

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    • jean2371
      Oct 31, 2012 @ 19:23:46

      Hello Alison,
      Thank you for sharing your memories of Kensington. I certainly enjoyed reading them and I’m sure others who read this page will enjoy them too. I’m glad that some of the things I mentioned had not been mere figments of my imagination! I also remember going to the “Lanc” after school to buy a snack before some after-school activity or other – sport or the dramatic society. I often went to the swimming pool at Rhodes Park during the holidays, but it has been out of commission for some time, and I believe there is a plan to demolish the Rhodes Park restaurant which has been standing empty for a while. Sadly the lovely house at the corner of Langerman Drive and Queen Street looks as though it has been abandoned after it was converted into a restaurant some years ago.

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      • Maurice
        Feb 17, 2014 @ 23:45:38

        Dear Jean
        I was a little kid – the son of Italian immigrants – of around 10-13 yrs of age at the turning point between the 1960’s and the 70’s, living with my parents in Bez Valley going to sir Edmund Hillary school then Athlone Boy’s High. I remember in the afternoons me and my best friend crossed Rhodes Park and went to the Public Library there which was almost my second home. So many books and all available to read! In the park we fished in the lake, with home made fishing rods, or played hide and seek – sometimes hiding in a long dark tunnel that was right in the middle of the park. Other times we would slide down very steep grassy slopes in the park sitting on pieces of cardboard and sometimes getting quite bruised! At the entrance towards Bez Valley there was a fancy bowling green, very English in style, with gents and ladies dressed in white, chatting and bowling. On weekends there were often classical music concerts or military tattoos, lots of people listening. Of course the swimming pool was a major popular attraction especially for us kids. Very cheap entrance fee in those days, if I remember well, one cent or something like that !! On windy days we would go to the park to fly our home made kites. Sometimes the circus would be in the grounds near the park and that was very interesting, we would roam from one caged animal to another for hours!! Since I was 5 yrs old I went by bus or even walking from Bez Valley or Kensington to the city center (Cumberland Avenue). I remember the Colosseum cinema, the Wimpy Bar and the Roxy Bioscope in Hillbrow where we would stay for at least 6 hours watching at least 3 films in a row and eating something too, for a very low price… As long as spectators stayed inside they didn’t pay for each successive film! I came back with the woman who is now my wife for a visit in 1999 and things seemed changed a lot but not completely. Bez Valley perhaps changed more than Kensington because it was a lower class suburb… Or are there other reasons? Can you please give your impressions ? Since 1974 I stay in Italy but I have nice memories of the old days in Bez Valley and Kensington. Maurice

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      • jean2371
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 14:02:59

        Dear Maurice,

        Thank you for your interesting memories of living in Bez Valley as a youngster. It is amazing how many people who are now living in different parts of the world still have happy memories of our part of the city. I never went to the Roxy bioscope, but I believe there were several Bio-cafés in the city and Hillbrow in those days. I don’t think there are any left now. Things have changed a great deal – even since your last visit in 1999 – you would probably find even more changes to Bez Valley. Quite a few street names have been changed too. I’m afraid I haven’t been in to the city centre for years. We’re inclined to stay in our immediate area these days. I hardly venture further than the shopping centres at Bedford Centre and Eastgate. Our postbox is at Darras Centre, which used to be Darras plant nursery, where my old school friend, Daphne Darras lived.

        Kind regards,

        Jean.

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      • Peter and Carol Billings
        Mar 01, 2014 @ 19:41:30

        Hello Maurice. Enjoyed reading your Memories of Kensington and Bez Valley. You mention that you went to Athlone Boys High. What is your surname? Did you know the Fayard Brothers? Was Miss Phillips the Headmistress at Athlone? She was my Science Teacher when I went to Jeppe Girls. If you look on the right hand side of Jeans Website you will see that she has made me a Guest Blogger, so you can read my Memories, and my sister Alison Birch has also wrote her Memories. We note that you live in Italy? Whereabouts? Peter’s sister Susie married Vincent, an Italian and they live in a little Village to the North of Rome, called Force, near Ascoli Piceno. We visited them in 2006, and loved Italy. If you are on Facebook have a look at the “Jeppe Prep” and “Lost Johannesburg” pages, and they will really take you for a walk “Down Memory Lane”. Regards Peter and Carol

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    • Shirley van der Hoek (ee Davies)
      Jul 28, 2013 @ 14:05:13

      Hi Alison – loved your comments on Jean’s blog and also the aricle by Carol. I guess you remember that we were at the Prep and High together. Please get in touch – would love more of a catch-up and don’t see you on the Jeppe Oldies Facebook Group. I have sent the Kensington article to Linda Gray (now Midlane) – she and I have been buddies since birth and are still in touch fairly regularly. We have been Capetonians for about 13 years now. Kind regards Shirley van der Hoek (nee Davies)

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      • Alison Birch [nee Falwasser]
        Aug 03, 2013 @ 15:19:45

        Hello Shirley,
        Of course I remember you – what a surprise! Will be great to ’catch up’
        Regards, Alison

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    • John W. P Hamilton.
      Jul 02, 2014 @ 07:39:16

      Hi Jean and Alison
      you certainly have brought back memories
      I spent most of my childhood in Kensington
      Stayed in 3 Collingwood Str went to Jeppe Prep 1955 to 57
      Stayed in 92 Sommerset Rd, between the two Jeppe schools went to Jeppe High School for Boys 1963 to 67, We moved to 428 Highland Rd in 1965
      Amongst other things, played on the mine dump where Bedford centre is now.

      Nostalgia, those were the Days

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      • Elizabeth Scherman
        Sep 04, 2015 @ 13:11:04

        Hi John
        Were you perhaps related to Marilyn Hamilton?
        Elizabeth

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      • Ronel de Freitas-Smit
        Apr 28, 2016 @ 21:28:40

        Hello John,

        I’m so glad to find someone who lived on Somerset Road back in the day. Two years ago we bought a house on the corner of Somerset and Kennet, next to Jeppe Girls.

        Do you perhaps the remember the house? I think it used to belong to the Dutch Reformed Church but I can’t find any reference that it used to be a ‘pastorie’.

        Kind regards,

        Ronel

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      • Excelmeat
        May 08, 2016 @ 18:03:02

        Hello Jean

        Do hope that you have had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and were spoilt rotten by your Family? Hope that you are also all keeping well. Believe that it is bitterly cold up in Gauteng with the wind blowing like crazy too.

        Many thanks for advising me that there was a further comment on my Blog which I have just responded to now.

        Alison and I also noted this Post on your Website, and actually wanted to comment on Ronel de Freitas_Smit’s Post, but unfortunately there was no place or marker to pass a comment. I also sent this onto Sharon Heibner, as she used to live above Jeppe Girls, so could also be aware about the Pastorie.

        These are Alison and my comments :-

        On the corner of Kennet Street and Roberts Avenue were the Surtees Family. They had an Engineering works in Benrose.

        On the other side of our house on Roberts Avenue was the Jankelow Family.

        In Kennet Street at the corner of our Back Yard and next to the Surtees were the Jacques and their neighbours in Kennet Street – c/r Somerset Road were the “Andrews” Carol, Colleen and a brother. Across from that house was an Afrikaans family – a very good looking guy but I cannot remember their name or if it belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church.

        Then one house away from that corner was a Francois Badenhorst who worked with Alison at Malcomess.

        Directly behind us in Somerset Road was the Bennett/Holroyd Family.

        What Alison and I feel is that maybe Ronel should join Kensington Kids, as there are quite a few people who lived in that area, and may be able to shed some light. There is Max Isaacs, Wendy Maher, Gail Gem, Sharon Heibner, James Ian Gordon to name a few of the Members.

        Many thanks Jean.

        Hope that you have a wonderful day further, and a great week ahead.

        Take care. Keep well.

        Fond Regards

        Peter and Carol

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      • jean2371
        May 08, 2016 @ 19:44:54

        Hello Carol, I have managed to add your interesting post to the comments section and hope that Ronel de Freitas-Smit will read it. All good wishes to you and Peter. Jean.

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      • Jennifer Leslie Hammond
        Oct 16, 2016 @ 18:38:56

        Hi John, What a coincidence our family lived at 428 highland Rd but left there when I was about 8 years old that would have been in 1955 or 1956. You mention going to Jeppe Boys. Both my brothers were there Martin and Richard Hutton, Martin left in 1965 and went to Wits to study dentistry and Richard left in 1973 I think.. How interesting!

        Jennifer Hammond nee Hutton

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    • Kerry Taljaard
      Mar 15, 2015 @ 15:28:57

      Hi Alison my name is Kerry Taljaard (nee Fisher) my father was Vic my uncles were Steve and Brian I found out late in early twenties they were my family but lost contact please could you be so kind as let me know if you have any information as to where I can get some info on them

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      • jean2371
        Mar 15, 2015 @ 15:39:45

        I do hope someone who reads the site will be able to give you some information, Kerry.

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      • Peter and Carol Billings
        Mar 15, 2015 @ 17:20:31

        Hello Kerry. Read your post to my Sister Alison Birch with great Interest. Please let me have your email address and I will let you have more information, as we have been discussing them on Kensington Kids. Are you a Member of KK? My Husband Peter is a Master Butcher and Polony Maker, and his Brother Rene and his Friend Dudley Gunn actually worked for Brian and Dawn Gungarine at their Butcher Shop at the Lancaster Square shopping Centre. As youngsters our Mom used to buy her Meat from Brian and Dawn. There is another Lady on KK who actually bought her house from their Uncle. Apparently both Brian and Dawn have passed away, but we will be able to connect you to the Family. Kind regards. Peter and Carol Billings.

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      • Alison Birch
        Mar 15, 2015 @ 18:00:01

        Kerry please contact Jean for my sister Carol Billings contact details…she will be able to ‘fill you in’

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  16. Elize
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 10:42:57

    I am a new resident ….. by “new” meaning I moved to the area in March this year. From day one I was completely in love with Kensington. Being a firm lover of fairytales I was enchanted to learn that there is a castle (a real castle!!) in Highland road!! Does anyone know if it is possible to visit/view the castle? And I often take the “scenic route” on my way to Eastgate or wherever to see all the lovely houses. Old, character houses as well as modern houses. I do hope that it will be possible for me to live in Kensington for many years!!! Thanks for your lovely blog … this, as well as all the comments, kept me out of my work for quite a while 🙂

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  17. Sharon Fitzgerald
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 11:34:34

    Hello, I was born in Kensington in 1953 and went to Jeppe Prep and Jeppe Girls High School. My mother was also born in Kensington and went to both schools. I finished Jeppe Girls High in Form III in 1968. My mother would have gone there in the 1940s. We lived in Merlin Street, Kensington which is off roberts Avenue. From our house you could see the Kensington Castle. When we were kids we would go up the Coppie below the castle and climb up the walls to see what was in the gardens. All I can remember the grass being very high and huge statues of people and animals in the gardens. I now live in Australia but have heard it is now some sort of museum. My name was Sharon Shapiro and my mother Lilly Segill. I would love to hear from anyone who may have known our family or went to school the same time we did.

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    • Gail Reinertsen
      Nov 04, 2014 @ 20:53:13

      Hi Sharon Fitzgerald, I have been so taken with all the stories about Kensington and all the good times we had growing up in Kensington and Jeppe. I was at Jeppe Prep with you.

      Like

      Reply

      • Alison Birch nee Falwasser
        Nov 05, 2014 @ 15:21:53

        I was at school with Ingrid Reinertsen [think she married Trevor Beuthin] – not a common name – sure you must be related!

        Like

  18. Edward
    Mar 17, 2013 @ 11:26:27

    Hello Jean,
    Thank you for the lovely stories about our childhood days in Johannesburg. I happen to stumble onto your website by chance while searching for old pictures of Johannesburg.
    It sure brought back fond memories; I remember how I occasionally went into town by tram from Vrededorp where I lived for a short period. My ma would tag me along when she went to town, then after she had done her shopping, she would take me to Solly Kramer’s tearoom in Market street( If I recall correctly) just off the old tram terminus and there she would order me my favourite “meat pie and gravy”.
    I recall Rhodes Park too; I remember there was an “eye” as it was referred to, where water came out of the earth freely and little fishes swimming in the small pool. I remember walking past the old “Crystal Bakery” and the gorgeous smell would drive me crazy with hunger.
    My parents lived in Johannesburg just for a short while where they had arrived from Ermelo so my pa could “make some big money” in the gold mines at the time, but that had been a pipe dream and they moved on to live in the “Bushveld” near Botswana border until they retired. I stayed behind and lived with my youngest sister until I had finished school in Brixton.
    Thank you for submitting your childhood memories, me and many of my friends now enjoy it extremely! We live in NZ now.

    Like

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    • jean2371
      Mar 17, 2013 @ 13:52:30

      Hello Edward, Many thanks for your memories of days in Kensington and Johannesburg. I had forgotten the Crystal Bakery until you mentioned it, and that a meat pie and gravy was a lot more appetising years ago than it is today!

      Like

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      • Edward de Bruin
        May 05, 2013 @ 07:28:15

        Hello Jean, I am researching my late mothers life and I found information that show she was born in number 11 Somerset road, Kensington, Johannesburg. Would you possible know what the history of that building (Google maps) were? Perhaps a nursing home at the time (1914)? Kind regards
        ED

        Like

      • jean2371
        May 05, 2013 @ 18:28:26

        Hello Edward, I had a look at the street map and it does look like a big building which might once have been a nursing home in 1914. I see that it borders on Keith Hall which was a boarding house years ago – perhaps it still is, for all I know. I hope that someone visiting this site may be able to shed more light on 11 Somerset Road than I can. It is quite close to Jeppe Boys High. Regards, Jean.

        Like

      • Stewart Peart
        May 06, 2013 @ 10:13:45

        Dear Jean
        Interesting info on 11 Somerset Road. I “Googled” (2009 edition) the street map, and I see Keith Hall is still there, from the sign on the side of the garage, Could the nursing home perhaps have been where “Oribi House” is now, this is a “boarding house” for Jeppe Boys. I have left a message for the Jeppe High Archivist, Mrs le Grange and will let you know what information I can get.
        All the best
        Stewart

        Like

      • jean2371
        May 06, 2013 @ 10:32:07

        Dear Stewart,
        Thank you so much for your comment and for taking the trouble to contact Mrs le Grange about the matter. I know Edward de Bruin and I will be extremely interested in any additional information she might give you.
        All good wishes,
        Jean

        Like

      • Marlene Fourie
        May 06, 2013 @ 10:40:31

        (In respons to Edward de Bruin 2731) The Queen Vic Hospital? Was it in Marathon Street?

        Marlene

        On 6 May 2013 10:32, JEAN COLLEN ON WORDPRESS wrote:

        > ** > jean2371 commented: “Dear Stewart, Thank you so much for your comment > and for taking the trouble to contact Mrs le Grange about the matter. I > know Edward de Bruin and I will be extremely interested in any additional > information she might give you. All good wishes, Jean” >

        Like

      • jean2371
        May 06, 2013 @ 10:54:28

        Hello Marlene, As far as I remember the Queen Vic was near the city and not in Kensington at all. The Marymount was on the border of Kensington and Fairview, but that building is now a home for the elderly.
        Regards,
        Jean.

        Like

      • Edward de Bruin
        May 06, 2013 @ 12:50:32

        Hello Stewart and Jean, I find it quite exiting that there are people who actually make time and share their interests with others. The reason I asked about this place in Kensington is that I am researching my late mother’s whereabouts. It showed on her birth certificate that she was born in Johannesburg, but that was all. In a deeper search by way of genealogy websites I found a map where she was born and it pointed to this house In Kensington, but that is all, I have no idea who added this information. So back to Stewards question to Jean” Could the nursing home perhaps have been where “Oribi House” is now”, so I myself was wondering if it had been some kind of nursing home. In the old days mothers went to nursing homes to give birth when advised by a doctor.
        Regards
        Ed

        Like

  19. Stewart Peart
    May 07, 2013 @ 13:02:12

    Dear Jean and Edward

    Herewith a copy of the email I received from Judy le Grange at Jeppe Boys. Hope it is helpful.
    StewartDear Stewart

    You have not mentioned the name of the lady in question. Oribi House was built as a boarding house for the school and opened in 1913. According to the school magazine for 1914 Mr Reeve was thanked for his contribution and Mrs Reeve was thanked for ‘her management of the school boarding house.’ Mr Reeve was then appointed Headmaster of the new high school in Krugersdorp so would have left Jeppe. I would think that in 1914 home births were quite possible. Children born to staff members are usually mentioned in the school magazines but only Mr Cheeseman’s name comes up with birth of a girl in 1914. The nearest maternity hospital was the Marymount just a few blocks away but I do not know when it opened.

    I went to look at the houses in Somerset St. No 11 forms part of the Keith Hall Residential Hotel which occupies nos 7-11. No 12 is also a large house and was the Jeppe Girls hostel for quite a while. It is also possible that she could have been born in one of these homes.

    I can check the Jeppe Girls archive if you think that the mother may have attended that school.

    I hope this information is useful.

    Kind regards

    Judy Legrange

    Curator Jeppe Museum and Archive

    From: stewart peart [mailto:essp@mweb.co.za]
    Sent: 06 May 2013 10:30 AM
    To: Judy le Grange
    Subject: Information

    Greetings Mrs Le Grange,

    I am trying to help someone who is trying to trace his mothers history. He lives in New Zealand now and is having difficulty in getting the information he needs.

    He says his mother was born in a Nursing Home at 11 Somerset Rd, Kensington in 1914. I have “googled” the street map, and feel it was more likely “Oribi House” that used to be a nursing home, but the building looks a lot newer than it would have done in 1914!

    Can you please throw some light on this for us, we would all be most grateful.

    Stewart Peart

    Dear Stewart

    You have not mentioned the name of the lady in question. Oribi House was built as a boarding house for the school and opened in 1913. According to the school magazine for 1914 Mr Reeve was thanked for his contribution and Mrs Reeve was thanked for ‘her management of the school boarding house.’ Mr Reeve was then appointed Headmaster of the new high school in Krugersdorp so would have left Jeppe. I would think that in 1914 home births were quite possible. Children born to staff members are usually mentioned in the school magazines but only Mr Cheeseman’s name comes up with birth of a girl in 1914. The nearest maternity hospital was the Marymount just a few blocks away but I do not know when it opened.

    I went to look at the houses in Somerset St. No 11 forms part of the Keith Hall Residential Hotel which occupies nos 7-11. No 12 is also a large house and was the Jeppe Girls hostel for quite a while. It is also possible that she could have been born in one of these homes.

    I can check the Jeppe Girls archive if you think that the mother may have attended that school.

    I hope this information is useful.

    Kind regards

    Judy Legrange

    Curator Jeppe Museum and Archive

    From: stewart peart [mailto:essp@mweb.co.za]
    Sent: 06 May 2013 10:30 AM
    To: Judy le Grange
    Subject: Information

    Greetings Mrs Le Grange,

    I am trying to help someone who is trying to trace his mothers history. He lives in New Zealand now and is having difficulty in getting the information he needs.

    He says his mother was born in a Nursing Home at 11 Somerset Rd, Kensington in 1914. I have “googled” the street map, and feel it was more likely “Oribi House” that used to be a nursing home, but the building looks a lot newer than it would have done in 1914!

    Can you please throw some light on this for us, we would all be most grateful.

    Stewart Peart

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    Reply

  20. jean2371
    May 07, 2013 @ 14:31:24

    Thank you Stewart for posting the correspondence between you and Judy Legrange. I’m sure this new information will be of interest to Edward de Bruin. It might be a good idea if Edward could supply his mother’s maiden name to Ms Legrange, as this might throw more light on his mother’s place of birth.
    Kind regards,
    Jean.

    Like

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    • Edward de Bruin
      May 08, 2013 @ 10:20:03

      Dear all,
      Thank you all for your contribution and interest in this matter. My mother’s maiden name was Barrett, as I mentioned before, I am tracing her whereabouts as from birth and beyond (her parents). Ernest James Barrett and his wife Emma Roselea(Leach) gave birth to their first child (my mother) Muriel Barrett in 1914. A genealogy website contained her details (date of birth) and indicated the place of birth on a map showing the address as mentioned. I have no clue who could have entered this information, but that she had been born in Johannesburg must be correct as her birth certificate indicate this as well. It is very frustrating not being able to get my hands on any archive files! I do appreciate each and everyone’s time and effort to comment on this.
      Kind regards
      Edward

      Like

      Reply

      • jean2371
        May 08, 2013 @ 12:35:49

        Hello Edward, Thank you for your comment with additional information about your mother’s birth. I hope that with this information you will be able to find more details. Thanks to Stewart and Mrs LeGrange for their help with this query. Regards, Jean.

        Like

      • Marlene Fourie
        May 09, 2013 @ 13:37:27

        Edward, have you tried the National Archives in Hamilton Street, Pretoria?

        On 8 May 2013 10:20, JEAN COLLEN ON WORDPRESS wrote:

        > ** > Edward de Bruin commented: “Dear all, Thank you all for your > contribution and interest in this matter. My mothers maiden name was > Barrett, as I mentioned before, I am tracing her whereabouts as from birth > and beyond (her parents). Ernest James Barrett and his wife Emma Roselea(L” >

        Like

      • Edward de Bruin
        May 12, 2013 @ 08:26:28

        Hello Marlene, Thank you for your interest, as I am in New Zealand, it is a bit difficult to get my hands on the files at the National Archives in Hamilton Street. I thank you for your reply.

        Kind regards
        Edward

        Like

      • Marlene Fourie
        May 13, 2013 @ 11:06:51

        Oops, didn’t realise you weren’t in S.A. Sorry about that.

        On 12 May 2013 08:26, JEAN COLLEN ON WORDPRESS wrote:

        > ** > Edward de Bruin commented: “Hello Marlene, Thank you for your interest, > as I am in New Zealand, it is a bit difficult to get my hands on the files > at the National Archives in Hamilton Street. I thank you for your reply. > Kind regards Edward” Respond to this comment by replying above this line > New comment on *JEAN COLLEN ON WORDPRESS > * > > *Edward de Bruin* commentedon LIFE > IN KENSINGTON AND JOHANNESBURG FIFTY YEARS AGO. > > > in response to *Marlene Fourie*: > > Edward, have you tried the National Archives in Hamilton Street, Pretoria? >

        Like

      • Stewart Peart
        May 13, 2013 @ 11:50:57

        National Archives Repository (Records of the former Transvaal Province and its predecessors as well as of magistrates and local authorities)
        Postal address: Private Bag X236, PRETORIA 0001.
        Street address: 24 Hamilton Street, Arcadia, PRETORIA.
        Tel: (012) 441 3200. Fax: (012) 323 5287
        Email: enquiries@dac.gov.za

        Hopefully this might help, suggest you go through direct on E-mail.

        All the best
        Stewart

        Like

      • Edward de Bruin
        May 13, 2013 @ 12:00:48

        Thank you all for your input to my query, I do appreciate it indeed, thank you Steward for the info.

        Kind regards
        Edward

        Like

  21. Val Forrest
    May 07, 2013 @ 14:48:41

    Dear Jean,
    Found this site quite by accident, but what a glorious trip down memory Lane. When I was a child I lived at 66 Ocean Street right across from Rhodes Park. I used to run across the road and climb through the fences to watch the baseball games that used to take place. Off course when walking in the park with my mother, we used the main gate and I wondered around the lake (which seemed enormous to me ) pushing my dolls Pram. I remember being a bit scared of the Parkie who seemed very fierce to us as children. Loved the slide, the merry go round and the swings. Learnt to swim in the public swimming pool and I remember some plays in the park and I used to lie on a slope and watch them rehearse. The park was like paradise to me and was very disappointed when I visited it a few years ago how small it seemed to have become. There was a dairy just off Cumberland Drive and I used to walk down there with our housekeeper and we had our own urn filled to the brim. My mother used to scoop the top cream off to add to our scrambled eggs. Ah the memories your article brought back. I remember a rag and bone man that used to come down the street in his horse and cart. I must look through old photos and see if I can find some of those days to pass on to you.

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    • jean2371
      May 07, 2013 @ 14:57:32

      Dear Val, Thank you so much about your wonderful memories of Rhodes Park and Kensington. I’m glad my article stirred some of your own memories. You will be sorry to hear that the main gates of the park were stolen recently. I remember milk having cream on top, but I haven’t seen milk like that for years. I would love to see some of your old photos – perhaps you will allow me to add them to the site. Regards, Jean.

      Like

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Jul 27, 2013 @ 13:18:57

      Hello Val, Read your article on Kensington with interest. Its just a pity you did not mention which schools you attended, or what your maiden name was? My husband went to Kensington South and Queens High School, and their Family lived at 23 Ocean Street – very close to St. Andrews Church. He is Peter Billings. If you look on Jean’s Website you will see that she has made me a Guest Blogger and you can read our Article on Kensington. There is also a photograph of Peter and myself, and also my sister, Alison Birch. We lived at 152 Roberts Avenue and went to Jeppe Prep and Jeppe Girls High. There is also an article written by my sister, Alison. Kind regards, Carol.

      Like

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      • Basil Goldstein
        Mar 23, 2015 @ 19:50:19

        What year was Peter at Queens High? I was there from 1961 to 1965 (matric).
        Since this year is the 50th anniversary of our matric I am trying to organise a reunion but I have forgotton the names of most of my classmates. So I am trying all angles to find my fellow students.

        Like

  22. Robin Lawton
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 04:27:49

    Jean, Many thanks for bringing back such rich memories of South Africa. I was a boarder at Parktown Convent from late 1943 to 1949 (age 5 through 11) and spent a couple of summer holidays in Kensington after my mother died. I am close to completing her biography, “A Love Story and a Riddle,” and would like very much to include a tiny picture of the Carlton Hotel for which, I believe, you hold the copyright. I can find no other way of contacting you. Please let me know the correct protocol. Many thanks for the memories and the chance to enrich my own text, Robin Lawton

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  23. Moira de Roche
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 09:00:33

    What a wonderful walk down memory lane! I live in Cape Town now and haven’t been through Kensington for yonks. Weren’t we lucky to attend a school as good as Jeppe?
    I’m also reminded of what someone wrote in my autograph book (remember those?) “To my dear old Jeppe friend, who nearly drove me round the bend).

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  24. Heather Brenda Montjoie Cantrell
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 19:55:16

    Wow Jean, I can’t stop reading this and all the comments and your kind reply’s. I wish I knew where that day lives that went to the USA many, many years ago. Her name was Lisette. What a small world we live in. I remember Rhodes and Ellis Parks, and all the stores, OK Bazaars, John Orrs, Woolworths, and so on and so forth, and I had an aunt who worked for ever at Katz and Lourie. What a wonderful thing it is to have memories that we can turn to. I sure wish I could find some of my old friends from Jeppe High and Bez Valley and Kensington, namely Margaret Beckendorff, Elsie Hanes, Jennifer and a lot more. One day, when we all pass through the veil, we shall see and remember each other.

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    • jean2371
      Jul 16, 2013 @ 20:06:47

      Thank you for your interesting comments, Heather. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. Perhaps one of your old friends will see your post here and get in touch with you. I’d forgotten all about Katz and Lourie until you mentioned it!

      Like

      Reply

  25. Franci Wellen
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 19:11:33

    Hello there Jean, Thank you, very interesting reading. I went to Queens High and lived in Marshall street.in the 60’s Went to the Gem once a month on a Saturday afternoon, swopped comics and walked over the koppie back home.A wonderful walk down memory lane. Went into Jhb once a month by bus to pay the water and lights account in Loveday street.
    Thank you.
    Franci Wellen.

    Like

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    • jean2371
      Jul 20, 2013 @ 21:01:45

      Hello Franci,
      Thanks so much for your interesting comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed my article. Everyone has a different story to tell so we’re really getting quite a rounded view of what we were all doing all those years ago!

      Like

      Reply

  26. Wendy Schoffl
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 04:47:34

    It was just so good reading all the comments about Kensington. I lived in Leicester road, next to Leicester road school in the fifties. Use to take my baby brother to Rhodes park in the school holidays for a swim. Remember also forgetting to put my panama hat on to go to school ( jeppe girls) and getting into trouble. Going to the bioscope on Saturday afternoons – those were the days!!!

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    • jean2371
      Jul 25, 2013 @ 12:59:52

      Hello Wendy, Thanks for your comments. I know exactly where you lived in Leicester Road. I agree with you – those were the days when life seemed a lot simpler and easier than it is today!

      Like

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    • Joan Dawn Wells
      Aug 29, 2016 @ 20:56:25

      Hi Wendy, what was your maiden name, I went to Leicester Road School from 1954 to 1959. I knew Denise Tregoning who lived opposite the school.

      Like

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  27. Elaine Edwardes-Evans (nee Forte)
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 15:16:15

    Hi Jean Many thanks for your lovely article, it brought back many memories. I grew up in Leicester Road and went to Leicester Road School and then on to Jeppe High for Girls. When we were in primary school we used to walk to school and when I went to Jeppe I used to catch the “feeder” bus in Highland Road. That took you to Marathon Street and then we would walk up to school. We lived across the road from the golf course and in those days there was no fence, so the golf course was our play ground. We used to walk down the road and play on the mine dumps, now Bedford Centre and go to the bottom of Sovereign Street to where there used to to a pig farm. I think the town houses there and Arbor Village was part of the farm. WE knew nearly everyone in our street, whereas today you hardly even know who your neighbours are. We moved away from Kensington in 1969, but returned in 1973 and have been here ever since. Thanks for the memories.

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    • jean2371
      Jul 28, 2013 @ 15:39:26

      Hello Elaine, Thanks so much for your interesting comments. I remember the days before the motorway when Bedfordview was like a country village. It’s amazing how things have changed over the years. As you say, we knew most of our neighbours in those days, but now – apart from our immediate neighbours on either side of us in Derby Road – we don’t know anyone else!

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    • Jenny Doak
      Mar 26, 2014 @ 23:13:02

      Hi Elaine
      How amazing is this – finding your comments on this blog after just coming across it by chance – so nice to read your letter! Yes, it sure brings back many wonderful memories. I have written a comment but did not mention the golf course – it was indeed our playground – it was so good being able to walk across the road – not busy at all in those days , until Bedford Centre was built- and run freely on the golf course. are you still in Northumberland Road? Jenny

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  28. الشيخة المغربية
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 02:10:34

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    skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and sit up for in quest of more of your great post. Additionally, I have shared your site in my social networks

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  29. Phindi
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 10:29:32

    Hi all. I am a Kensington resident myself and have been for 10years. I live in Oxford road, one street above Highlands road. I would love to know if anyone knows of a Shirley who lived apparently lived in the house I reside in now. I don’t know much more apart form the fact that she was a Lebanese old woman. Kindly get in touch with me if you know of her. Any information would be appreciated.

    Like

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  30. JustMade Ireland
    Oct 01, 2013 @ 18:34:01

    Hi, I love the history of Jo’burg and would like to have more information about the area.

    If any one could tell me about the Hillbrow-Berea areas where you still see some very old houses in the midst of the flats and businesses. What was the reason for keeping them? Are there families living there?

    Pics, newspaper cuttings or any info about developments in the area would be appreciated.

    What were these areas like before the end of apartheid? Was there an exodus of people and did they sell their homes or were they forced to leave? Did they sell their homes at a loss?

    Thank you in advance
    John

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    • Stewart Peart
      Oct 02, 2013 @ 09:06:03

      Dear John

      Try “Google” “The Death of Johannesburg”, loads of info and pics. I lived in a flat in Hillbrow in the late 60’s. It was considered the “Cosmopolitan” area of Johannesburg, with many restaurants, clubs and totally safe to wander around on one’s own. Although I still live near Johannesburg, I have not been into the city centre or Hillbrow/Berea for many, many years.

      Johannesburg has lost out on develpment as most of the “big” companies have moved to a place called Sandton, north of the city centre. Even the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has moved, so what is left is empty office blocks, crumbling buildings, and all occupied by vagrants.

      Makes one’s heart very heavy, as this was where my childhood was, and it was a great treat for us as teenagers to “go to town” on a Saturday, by tram/bus and look at all the wonderful department stores, possibly buy something, and then go to the Cinema (we called them bioscope’s), arriving home totally exhausted!

      Regards
      Stewart

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      • jean2371
        Oct 02, 2013 @ 11:57:55

        I had the same experience of Johannesburg as you, Stewart. As a teenager it was a treat to dress up and go into town by bus or tram on a Saturday morning, to go to the library or shop in Ansteys, John Orr’s or Stuttafords. We usually had a toasted sandwich in one of the many tearooms before going to a matinee at one of the picture palaces lining Commissioner Street.

        In the early 1970s my husband and I lived in a flat in Pretoria Street, Hillbrow when we were first married. In those days we could go out at night for a meal or look at books in .the Exclusive Bookshop in Kotze Street without fearing that we might be attacked or robbed. I’m afraid I haven’t dared to go to “town” or Hillbrow for more years than I care to remember.

        We live in a suburb of Johannesburg and rarely leave our immediate surroundings. As far as I am concerned, I live in a completely different country to the one where I spent the happy days of my youth.

        Like

      • JustMade Ireland
        Oct 02, 2013 @ 18:23:44

        Hi Stewart thank you for info,
        I was on that site interesting to. It hard to believe it was let go so bad, Its as property developers used the change over to make money by building new town centers and use the influx of people and crime made current residents sell up and move out to new town centers, with the city and surrounding places been left to vagrants and now re generate these ares with tax breaks etc.. and with the new middle class sell these units on and make more money.

        What would you say would of happen if new malls and towns were not built, What faith you say the people would of had if they had no where to relocate.

        Thanks again
        John

        Like

      • Shirley van der Hoek (née Davies)
        Jan 24, 2014 @ 08:19:33

        Hi Stewart
        It’s been a while since I have caught up with Jean’s blog. I remember you being a friend of Owen Gray and seeing you on many occasions at Windybrow. Linda and I have been friends since birth (our Mom’s were best friends from the time Trudy came to SA from the USA). Linda and I are 2 months apart in age and although she was at Leicester and I at Jeppe Prep, we were attached at the hip afternoons and school holidays. We both went on to Jeppe Girls.I remember your sister Margaret being in Linda’s class at Leicester. Don’t know if you heard that Owen had passed away a couple of years back – heart issues. Gordon, the younger brother still lives in Joh’burg as does Linda. Think Linda ‘s suburb is Isandovale – she is now Midlane, a Mom of 2 girls and Granny of cute little Caitlyn.
        With Linda and I being so close during our early years, I of course spent many, many hours at Windybrow and do know that it was originally the home of her grandfather T.P. Gray – round ball shaped light fittings at the gate posts signified that it had been a mayoral home. I think the Attwell home in Ocean St also had those lights at the gate. T.P.’s mayoral carriage, TJ 1, was, I believe, horse drawn. The old stables, were part of the outbuilding where we used to find all sorts of ‘treasures’ from the past. I can picture virtually every square inch of Windybrow, house and the original huge property that it once was.
        Where is your sister Margaret now?
        We have lived in Cape Town for the past 14 years and truly love it here in Paradise.
        All the best
        Shirley van der Hoek (née Davies)

        Like

  31. Geoffery Nkoana
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 15:15:49

    Dear Jean.

    My name is Geoffrey Nkoana and my mother worked for T.P Gray who was the mayor in 1941.I have in my possesion a solid 9 ct fully engraved gold key that was presented to the Honarable Mayor on the opening of the Regent theatre in Kensington in 1941. It is a magnificent piece of history and I have had it authenticated. Obviously i would like to find out where the best place would be to hold this piece of history and who may be interested in it.
    Appreciate in advance your help and knowledge.
    warm regards
    Geoffrey.

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    • jean2371
      Oct 14, 2013 @ 16:54:51

      Dear Geoffrey,

      Thank you for your interesting note. I’m sure there must be an organisation in Johannesburg who would be glad to add the key to their collection as part of the history of Johannesburg and Kensington in particular. I think your best bet would be to contact the Africana Museum about it. Perhaps someone else reading this page could make further suggestions about where you could lodge the key.
      Kind regards,

      Jean.

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      • Geoffrey
        Oct 14, 2013 @ 17:15:47

        Dear Jean

        Thanks a lot for the information received I will contact them.

        Kind regards
        Geoffrey

        Like

      • Shirley van der Hoek (née Davies)
        Jan 24, 2014 @ 08:28:56

        Hi Jean
        So enjoyed catching up on your blog. I have posted a reply to Stewart Peart some of which may be of interest to the guy who was looking at buying Windybrow a while ago. Did that purchase go thru .
        Kind regards
        Shirley
        PS Thanks to your blog, I’m now in regular contact with Alison Birch and Carol Billings ( the Falwasser girls who were at Jeppe Prep and Girls in my era)

        Like

      • jean2371
        Jan 24, 2014 @ 14:03:44

        Hello Shirley,
        Thanks so much for your interesting posts. I’m delighted to hear that you are now in contact with Alison and Carol. I’m so glad my blog brought you together again! I’m afraid I haven’t had any further information about the sale of Windybrow. From what I have seen of the property recently, it is still unoccupied.
        Regards, Jean.

        Like

    • Shirley van der Hoek (née Davies)
      Jan 24, 2014 @ 08:21:08

      Hi Geoffrey
      See my reply to Stewart Peart above.
      Kind regards
      Shirley

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      • John Wishart
        Feb 13, 2017 @ 10:23:35

        Is this the beautiful Shirley Davies who had a brother Peter and lived in New York rd Kensington
        We used to play squash together at Quondam many years ago maybe you still remember?
        Regards
        John Wishart
        Malta

        Like

    • jean2371
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 14:07:08

      Dear Geoffery,
      Carol Billings has sent me photographs of the Mayor and Mayoress of Johannesburg in 1941, Councillor Gray and his wife. I have added the photographs to her guest post on this blog, entitled Memories of Kensington. She hoped these photos might be of interest to you in the light of your interesting story.

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      • Stewart Peart
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 15:30:09

        Dear Jean

        My E-Mail address will change on 1st February. I have sent the new address to you on the “details” section.
        Trust you are well.

        Rev Fr Stewart Peart

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      • jean2371
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 16:33:09

        Dear Stewart,

        Thank you so much for passing on your new email address. I am fine and hope that all is well with you. I hope that 2014 will be a good year for you and all the other commentators to this post.

        Regards, Jean.

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      • Geoffrey Nkoana
        Feb 01, 2014 @ 09:17:58

        Dear Jean and Carol

        Thanks a lot for posting the pictures, I didn’t know until I have now seen this pictures that I was named after Mrs. Gray. I remember when I was young the Mayor used to call me Hector. And also during Christmas he would put a R20.00 in an envelope and address it to Hector. I also remember the days that he would ask me to read a newspaper for him and I would struggle to pronounce some of the words. And I still have the key, and I have contacted the office of the current Mayor.

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      • jean2371
        Feb 01, 2014 @ 11:22:24

        Dear Geoffrey,

        Thank you for your interesting post. It was fascinating to hear of your connection with the Grays all those years ago. I hope the current Mayor adds this information to the archives/history of Johannesburg.

        Kind regards,
        Jean.

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  32. Peter and Carol Billings
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 17:21:33

    Dear Geoffrey, I am happy that you found the Photographs of the Mayoral Couple informative, and have added to your Memories. Regards Carol.

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  33. Cathie
    Feb 16, 2014 @ 23:55:14

    Dear Jean
    I have discovered your blog by acident but have so thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Although originally from the UK I lived in Bedfordview, Cyrildene and Wychwood for almost 30 years so Kensington was right in the heart of all of them and have always enjoyed the old world charm of the suburb! Rhodes Park has always been a favourite of mine but I am so disheartened to see the way it has been let go to ruin. I remember people going there in springtime to see the glorious displays of hyacinths and other spring flowers which were planted in mass beds (c1980s). I also remember eating at Mikes Kitchen when it was in the old Windy Brow house (c1994) and marvelling at the beautiful architecture and fittings inside. I do so hope it is purchased and restored to the glory it deserves.Thanks again for a lovely read!

    Warm regards
    Cathie

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    • jean2371
      Feb 17, 2014 @ 09:26:20

      Dear Cathie,
      I’m so glad my blog brought back some happy memories of your days in the area. I too would love to see Windy Brow restored to its former glory. We always enjoyed going to Rhodes Park but the only time we go there now is when the Spring fair is held at the end of August.

      All good wishes – and thanks for your interesting comment.

      Jean.

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  34. Keith
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 11:20:16

    Thanks Jean – very interesting article which brough back many memories.

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  35. Shebon
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 14:03:33

    Hi there,

    In the early 80’s I lived in Samad Court and have some amazing pictures of the original “WindyBrow”. These photos were taken when it snowed in 1981. If anyone would like to see them, I would be happy to scan them and forward them to you (hopefully I am able to find them).

    Much love xx

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    • jean2371
      Mar 24, 2014 @ 14:21:57

      Hi Shebon,
      Thanks for your interesting post. I may have mentioned in my article that we lived in Samad Court when we first came to Johannesburg in 1957. I think our number was 10 Samad Court – I was only 13 at the time, so I might have the number wrong. I would love to see the photos of the original WindyBrow. If you can find them, please send the scans to jean2371@hotmail.co.za and I will add them to the site and acknowledge that the photos came from you.
      All good wishes, Jean.

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    • Edward
      Mar 25, 2014 @ 06:43:02

      Hello from NZ, I lived in Johannesburg and remember the snow, my eldest daughter was a toddler and she cried when I let her walk in the now! I would love to have the pictures, brings back the old memories indeed!
      Kind regards
      Edward

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  36. Jenni Fletcher (Townsend)
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 17:28:00

    Hi Jean,

    Thank you so much for this interesting story of the history of Kensington.
    I am now living in the UK having left SA in 1986. Our history of life in Kensington are very similar.
    I also started out in Vanderbijl Park and went to Hendrick Van der Bijl Primary school. We moved to Johannesburg in about 1957 and also stayed in a boarding house in Blenheim Street very near the Gem. We went to Jeppe Prep School and later moved to Kensington Ridge Primary school after living in Marathon Street and finally in Derby Road.
    I hope you don’t mind if I print your story out and keep it for my grandchildren so they may one day read about the place that I spent many happy (and not so great years).
    We did return to SA in 2010 and took a drive around Kensington and enjoyed the nostalgic trip. So many places now gone, ie: Kensington Golf Club etc that area is now so different to what it was.

    Kind regards,
    Jenni Fletcher (was Townsend)

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    • jean2371
      Mar 24, 2014 @ 18:05:34

      Hello Jenni,
      Thank you so much for your interesting comment. How amazing that you lived in Vanderbijl Park and attended the Hendrik van der Bijl School, as I did. We moved to Jo’burg in October 1957 and I went into Form 2 at Jeppe Girls’. I have lived in Derby Road, Kensington between Queen and Royal Oak Street, for the past 14 years!

      You are most welcome to print my story for your grandchildren. I often think that living in Kensington all those years ago was like living in a completely different country compared with South Africa today!

      Kind regards,
      Jean.

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  37. Paul Vermeulen
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 00:38:18

    Dear Jean

    Your essay about living in Kensington as part of Jo’burg and the plethora of comments it has spawned is amazing. Having lived all my life in Kensinton, I too can relate to many of the posts. I am presently the president of the Kensington Club – unfortunately the tennis section did wither away as you have observed in the early 2000’s, with the remaining players eventually joining the Rhodes Park Tennis Club to form what is today known as Kenrho Park Tennis Club.

    The good news is that the Kensington club still has a lively bowls and social membership, and has been in existence since 1914 – this was the year in which it was constituted. The club has a rich history, and very early on even had a golf section, members of which later went on to establish the Kensington Golf Club. In the 1917 AGM report for the golf section, the captain reports with some irritation about how developers keep building houses on their course. The arrangement to use the land was of course a temporary one, and at one point Rhodes Park was earmarked for use as the new golf course. You may have noticed that the house on the corner of Marathon and Milner Crescent is very long and narrow, and was in fact the club house for the proposed golf course.

    The tennis courts were originally built at the same time as the first bowling green, construction having begun in 1915, with play to start in 1916. No storm water drainage system was in place, and heavy rains in 1916 completely washed away the newly built bowling green and deposited it more or less where the present Rhodes Park lake exists. The tennis courts survived and tennis was the first sport to be played at the Club. The green was rebuilt and bowls started in 1917. We are now the oldest privately owned bowls club in Johannesburg.

    The Club is registered in the City of Johannesburg’s Heritage Inventory, and we were honored with a plaque from the Kensington Heritage Trust in 2011. Please feel free to pop down to the Kensington Arms, our licenced English style Pub, that has unobtrusively been in existence in Kensington since the late 1950’s. Our history is proudly on display on the walls of the Bar, in the form of photographs and various articles of memorabilia. The entrance is in Ivanhoe Street.

    We would really appreciate any photos you may have taken of the Club while living in Juno Street.

    Kind regards,
    Paul Vermeulen

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    • jean2371
      Mar 26, 2014 @ 08:50:51

      Dear Paul,

      Thank you for your interesting letter about the Kensington Club and its history. I’m sure it will be of interest to many Kensingtonians who read my post. When I was living at 21 Juno Street my bedroom window faced directly on to the tennis courts of the club and I often watched people playing tennis there. A few years ago we were looking for my daughter’s lost dog and received information that she had been spotted in Jackal Street. Someone living in the street took us into the grounds of the club to ask whether anyone had seen her there. I was most impressed with the beautiful gardens and the pristine bowling greens of the club which contrasted most favourably with so many other places in Johannesburg which have lapsed into a state of decay.

      I’m afraid I don’t have any photographs of the Kensington Club myself, but a neighbour who lived in Jackal Street shared a few photographs taken from their house at the bottom of the street facing towards Roberts Avenue. I shall ask her if she would send some of her photographs showing the Kensington Club to you.

      Thanks once again for your fascinating letter. My post on Kensington is one of the most popular posts on this site. No matter where people have gone in the world, they look back fondly on the days they spent in Kensington.

      Kind regards,

      Jean.

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  38. Desiree Walker
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 16:01:35

    Dear Jean, I stumbled across your page quite by chance, and I was most interested to read that you had studied singing with Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, and that you used to accompany their students on the piano. My sister and I both took singing lessons with them as children, at their home, which I think was somewhere in/near Craighall Park (??), if I remember correctly. Later when they moved to Knysna, we used to go by bus to the studio in Pritchard Street, which was taken over by Esme Webb (Mrs Denny). I remember them as a delightful and very stylish couple; they certainly inspired me with a love of singing, particularly of ensemble singing – duets, trios, quartets etc. I still have a manuscript copy of theirs, of the Mendelssohn duet ‘On Wings of Song’ which they performed together, and which was one of many duets we learnt while studying with them.
    Kind regards
    Desiree de Jager

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    • jean2371
      Apr 14, 2014 @ 16:30:21

      Dear Desiree, Thank you so much for your interesting post. I was glad to know that you and your sister took singing lessons with Anne and Webster at their home. They had lived in Buckingham Avenue, Craighall Park and moved to 2nd Avenue, Parktown North in 1964. It was there that they began teaching at home on a Wednesday – I had their Pritchard Street Studio on Wednesday where I began teaching my own private pupils once I obtained my singing diploma in that year. I remained friends with them until their deaths and they were certainly a great influence in my own life. It certainly is a very small world, isn’t it?
      Kind regards, Jean.

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      • Desiree Walker
        Apr 14, 2014 @ 17:11:58

        Dear Jean, It is indeed a small world. Thanks very much for your reply. I did half-remember Parktown North as well, but I am almost sure we started off going to their home in Craighall Park. (I was about ten and still at primary school, my sister a year younger.)
        One of the homes where they lived was quite close to a Masonic Lodge, where Mrs Denise Westgate taught ballet. (My dear mother spent her life carting us to and from after-school activities – singing, ballet, swimming at Jimmy Green’s in Parkhurst, and gymnastics at the Wanderers!)
        It’s the first time I have ever come across someone else who studied with them, and I am delighted to know that you have written about them and that they are remembered.
        All the best
        Desiree

        .

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  39. jean2371
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 18:21:06

    Dear Desiree,
    Thank you for your reply. You and your sister certainly took part in many activities during your childhood. I can imagine your mother spending a lot of time driving you all over the place to your lessons. I have another blog devoted entirely to Anne and Webster. One of the posts is called “Memories of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth”. I wonder if you would like to write a memory of your time studying with them and I will add it to that post? The link is http://ziegler-booth.blogspot.com/2006/09/memories-of-anne-ziegler-and-webster.html

    All good wishes, Jean.

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  40. Steve Conradie
    May 05, 2014 @ 23:57:00

    Reading your article on life in Kensington, I take exception to your reference of the houses and inhabitants of Fairview and Jeppe. I grew up in Fairview (1953-1972). My father, and a majority of breadwinners in Fairview/Jeppe were tradesmen. We were reared in strict homes where norms and principles were the foundation to our upbringing. We were taught not to look down on others, that God created all men equal. My father was a teetotaller, who worked hard to provide for his family. There was no time for him or my mom to sit on the ‘stoep.’ Fairview and Jeppe does not exist of Main Street only. Ducktails in Jeppe did exist, but so they did in Kensington. Did you ever climb down off the Kensington bus to meet the people living in the ‘old rundown houses?’ It would have been a revelation to you.
    Of the kids in our neighbourhood. One is a Judge, three are lawyers, two are self-employed, and eleven emigrated to Australia and the USA, and my sister is a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg (RAU). Please do not judge people by their appearance and the neighbourhood they live in. Oh, by the way, the character of Kensington has changed over the last two decades.

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    • jean2371
      May 06, 2014 @ 11:40:34

      Thank you for your interesting comment. I apologise if I have caused you any offence. I’m afraid I based my observations on riding through these suburbs on the tram – and later, the bus, as a young teenager. The houses with stoeps I used to see were situated on Main Street but they have been demolished years ago. I dare say people from Parktown or Lower Houghton would have made similar observations about Kensington and its inhabitants.

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    • Edward
      May 08, 2014 @ 13:16:01

      To Steve: I have read your reply on Jean Collen about Fairview and I must agree that one can easily see all this sketching of her memories during her schooldays in a negative way. When I first read her writing it came through as a warm and wonderful recollecting of nostalgia and I enjoyed every word she wrote. It felt like I was walking the streets there again, it brought back the wonderful days as a child and also memories of the hardships. I want to add that I grew up in more or less the same time (1949) in one of the most low class areas in Johannesburg, namely Vrededorp. The houses also had been run-down and old, people were poor and lived where they could afford. However, I had never felt shy or ashamed where I had come from. Jean only shared what she saw through her eyes as a child and if you had been on one of the trams running through Vrededorp, you certainly would have seen the same picture. Hundreds of people had read her article and just gave positive feedback, added their own experience at the time frame and enjoyed this blog.Today I live outside South Africa and I am an electronic engineer, all my friends and in-laws know where I came from and grew up and I had never been ashamed to talk about the past. I hope this makes you feel different towards the article and maybe share with us some good recollections.

      To Jean: I hope this is just a misunderstanding by Steve as to how you had portrayed your youth, we all also pray that you would not stop running this blog because of this little mishap. God bless you and take care.

      Regards Edward

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  41. jean2371
    May 08, 2014 @ 13:22:57

    Thank you for your comment, Edward. As I said earlier, I did not mean to cause offence to anyone by my childish observations. Had I made the same tram journey today I hope I would have thought more deeply before I passed such vapid comments. Regards, Jean.

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      May 09, 2014 @ 14:40:25

      Jean, We have read both Steve and Edward’s mails, and re-read your Blog. We feel that it is all dependent on what frame of mind you are in when one reads an article. Not everybody who lived in Kensington were financially sound either. Carol and Alison (Birch) lost their Father when Carol was only 7 months old, and if it was not for her Grandparents who sold their Home – 33 Orwell Street, and moved in with their Mother, we hate to think where they would have landed up. In Peter’s family he had two older sisters and he was the Baby. His uncle passed away with Leukaemia when he was only 26 years old and his wife ran away with someone else, and left her two children, who were then legally adopted by his Parents. Then the Granny passed away, and Peter’s Parents also looked after his Aunt who was too young to live alone – they had to care for 6 children. Peter’s father was put out of the Mines with Lung problems, and his Mother used to sew Wedding Dresses night and day to be able to put food onto the table. Eventually Peter’s father got work at the City Council, and he wrote his Matric at the age of 60, as he needed to have passed Matric. Both our Grandparents also lived in Fairview. Life is all about how one is able to handle a situation, and make the most of what you are given. Both our Parents are a shining example of how when they were thrown a curved ball they managed to survive, and hold their heads up high. One gets good and bad in every walk of Life, and in every suburb. We recall how many Ducktails even lived in Kensington, Fairview, Malvern, Bez Valley and Troyeville, but it does not mean to say that everyone who lived in those areas were bad. We feel that your Comments Jean were merely from an observation point of view, and that you did not mean to hurt or offend anyone with what you wrote, and we trust that Steve will see that other people have also had hard times, and that we are sure that he will understand that you were not trying to be judgmental. Even though we experienced hard times growing up in Kensington, we always try to reflect on the happier, positive times we had, and realise just how fortunate we were. Its not about what you do not have, it is all about what you do have. We also second Edward’s last paragraph in his reply, and remember Never Give Up, Never Give In, and Never take NO for an answer. Let the sun keep shining through!!

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      • jean2371
        May 09, 2014 @ 15:24:42

        Thank you for your kind comments, Carol and Peter. I appreciate them. I think many people suffered hardship in their lives and I’m sure there were good and bad living in all the suburbs in Jo’burg all those years ago, just as there are good and bad living in them today. Because I have a vivid recollection of seeing a group of raucous, drunken inhabitants on the stoep of a few houses in Main Street on the tram route into the city and passed an observation on them. I certainly did not intend to imply that everyone living there was the same. Perhaps it’s time to edit my article and remove the offensive parts of it.

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  42. jean2371
    May 09, 2014 @ 15:34:16

    I have since deleted the offensive paragraph. The last thing I wish to do is to cause offence to anyone!

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  43. Val Forrest
    May 09, 2014 @ 15:35:09

    To Edward: Thank you for putting into words what I feel every time I pop into this Blog. Was quite sad when I saw how this delightful blog was misinterpreted. I don’t often contribute but love reading all the wonderful positive memories shared by Jean and all the other contributors. I have beautiful memories of Kensington as a child.

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    • jean2371
      May 09, 2014 @ 15:37:54

      Thank you for your kind comment, Val. I’m afraid I was quite upset at the thought of causing anyone offence by my childish recollections. I have since edited it and removed the offending paragraph.

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  44. Sindi Mbhalati - Koopman
    May 11, 2014 @ 08:57:30

    Hi Jean

    Thank you so much for you article and thanks to the people who have made comments. Your article confirmed what I have know for many years and that is how special Kensington is. I moved to Kensington at the age of 10 in 1991. We were probably one of the first black families to move into Kensington. Rhodes park was our play field and we even attempted (with terrible results) to try and fish there. I learnt how to swim properly in the public swimming and learnt the importance of tolerance and diversity in the streets of Kensington.

    When we were growing up I vowed to buy a house in Kensington when I grew up and got married. I wanted to raise my kids in this beautiful suburb where the houses had wooden floors and pressed ceilings. And that is exactly what I did. I live in Magpie Street with my husband and kids and my parents still live in their house in Suffolk Road only 700m away from me.

    Our childhoods seem so different even though we probably played in the same streets but they also seem so similar. Kensington seems to have always embraced diversity. People from Portugal, Italy, Scotland and even Soweto have lived here. This suburb embraced us all and nestled and cocooned us. We owe these streets so much, which is why we should fight to nurture the heritage they foster.

    I truly love Kensington

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    • jean2371
      May 11, 2014 @ 09:57:49

      Hi Sindi,
      I was delighted to read your beautiful story about growing up in Kensington and I’m so glad that you and your family are still living here. It is wonderful that Kensington has embraced change and that we all live together harmoniously and enjoy what our suburb has to offer. I agree with you that we should nurture the rich heritage of Kensington. I love Kensington and I’m glad you love it too.
      Jean.

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  45. Stewart Peart
    May 15, 2014 @ 12:21:10

    Dear Shirley van der Hoek
    My apologies for not getting back to you. I bought a new laptop and in the process of transferring from old to new, I managed to loose a whole bunch of stuff, including all “e-mails” that I had received……………..my apologies.
    I have also changed my e-mail address but have had nothing from the site. Was messing about trying to find this site and came across “Kensington Kids” site, was going through that, and found a link back to Jean’s site.

    Yes I do remember being at Windy Brow with Owen, he had very white hair as I remember, and I am sure you and Linda were there, but I think we were too young to worry about girls………….. then!

    Margaret went to Belgravia convent and then Commercial College, as she wanted to become a secretary. She married Clive Courts and produced three wonderful boys, Steven, Gavin and Bruce. Steven and Gavin are married and I have one great niece, and three great nephews.(Total joy of my life now that I have retired) Bruce passed away after a long illness, he was only 28 at the time.

    I went on holiday to England in 1972, did a 9 week trip around Europe, got back to England having spent more money than I had needed to, got a job, and stayed for 10 years. It was a wonderful experience, but the weather eventually got to me after a trip “home” for Christmas, driving to Heathrow while it was snowing, and arriving at Jan Smuts in the blazing sun. So back I came.

    By the way, the lights at Windy Brow have gone, and it still looks unoccupied, went past there on my way to St Andrew’s for Clive and Corrine’s Mom’s remembrance service, she was 92. Meant to check the Attwell’s in Ocean Street, but was so involved in finding parking it slipped my mind (like what happens when one is getting old!) I will go through and take my camera.

    In fact, Jean and any one who wants a photograph of a particular house or place I would be more than happy to go through, and then post them on the blog for you to see.

    Gods blessings to you and your family.

    Rev. Fr. Stewart Peart.

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    • jean2371
      May 15, 2014 @ 13:48:10

      Thank you for your interesting comment, Rev. Fr. Stewart. I would be delighted if you could take some photographs the next time you are in Kensington, if there are any requests for photos of particular houses. I would be happy to add them to the blog. Perhaps you could mention this on Kensington Kids on Facebook, although you might be inundated with countless requests there!
      Kind regards, Jean.

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    • Valerie Arnott nee McFarlane
      May 16, 2014 @ 18:52:28

      Dear Stewart
      I would love it if you could include a photo of 21 Ocean Street and there a outs as my memory is really getting dim as I lived there in 1947.

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    • Shirley van der Hoek
      Mar 08, 2015 @ 10:38:50

      Hi Stewart
      Now it’s my turn to apologize for not replying !! I obviously haven’t been on Jean’s amazing blog for a while and was reminded to do so by seeing a FB post by Alison Birch and Carol Billings. Great to catch up and thank you for your contributions.
      Kind regards
      Shirley

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  46. wickus
    May 19, 2014 @ 17:40:40

    Tx for a great story(smiley) I lived in johannesburg south in turfontein

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  47. provo48
    Jun 26, 2014 @ 16:26:11

    My parents lived in Goodhope street and my sister and her husband in Ernest road. My nieces completed their schooling in Kensington. And my dose of nostalgia is exhausted, so I will finish this comment and go and watch a bit of tv.
    Jean, I have enjoyed this blog immensley. Thank you so much. I will be back for more.
    Barry Eslick

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  48. Isabelle Luker
    Jun 28, 2014 @ 15:12:33

    Thank you for a fascinating blog! I lived in Kensington and then on the border of Bedfordview/Malvern at 11 St Geroge’s Road. I walked to school at Kensington Ridge primary school and loved the big old oak tree at the top of the hill in Royal Oak street (sadly, no longer there) My friend Wendy Jansen lived opposite the school, so did the boy I had a crush on, John Edwards. I went to Queen’s High where we had fantastic teachers and the headmaster was Mr I.L. Frost – sooo handsome. My friends were Christina Vichos, Glenda Wood and later, Glynis Swann (now Ansara). I used to walk to the dairy on the corner of Sovereign Street (opposite Nestle Stores) to fetch milk. Sometimes we would sneak into the St George’s Boys’ Home to swim in the pool! I loved our house as we had lovely Jacaranda trees to climb, or else we would walk down the koppie and play on the mine dump. I matriculated in 1968. Later, I lived in Hillbrow and loved the vibe. Highpoint was my first flat, and the Arvin Court cnr Catherine & O’Reilly. I danced at Adele Blank’s studio at that time, before I graduated from UNISA and became a journalist. My maiden name was Annandale. Best regards, Isabelle Luker.

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  49. Isabelle Luker
    Jun 28, 2014 @ 15:13:59

    Oops – I meant ’11 St. George’s Road’.

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  50. Shelley harari
    Jul 05, 2014 @ 07:41:13

    Hello Jean
    I recently joined the group Kensington Kids
    Found your page and “scrolled” down memory lane
    So many places I too remember
    I went to Hillcrest and Jeppe Girls
    I lived in 120 ERNEST Rd
    Thanks to all of you who shared places in Kensington I fondly remember
    Shelley (Ostilly)

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  51. Stephanie
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 17:07:15

    http://www.heritageportal.co.za/danger/windybrow-historic-mansion-kensington-johannesburg

    Found this post dated April 2014 … hectic.. Windybrow in Kensington to be demolished…. They say the building is jinxed and no business has yet to be successful on this site …. Whatever…it is a crime to demolish historical sites … hope this gets sorted out !

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    • jean2371
      Jul 27, 2014 @ 19:52:58

      Thank you for the link, Stephanie. I’m sure the right person could create a successful business at Windybrow. I don’t believe in jinxed buildings. I sincerely hope that someone will see sense and save the building.

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  52. Jeannette Vine
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 13:08:20

    Hello Jean,
    I have just come across your blog on Kensington and old Johannesburg. I remember every single thing you wrote about. What wonderful memories you brought back.
    I grew up in Highland Road and married Arthur Vine who grew up in Somerset Road. We moved into Nymphe Street where we lived for 26 years. Our three children were all born when we lived in this house and went to Hillcrest Primary School and later to the Jeppe High Schools. They all belonged to the Rhodes Park Tennis Club. and spent many happy hours at the swimming pool in Rhodes Park. I worked at Hillcrest school as a school secretary for 15 years until we retired and moved to Hartebeespoort. Nothing can replace our happy memories of Kensington and the wonderful people who lived there. Thank you so much for all the memories you brought back. Jeannette Vine.

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    • jean2371
      Jul 28, 2014 @ 14:03:39

      Hello Jeannette,
      Thank you for your interesting post. It is lovely to read of your memories of Kensington. We all seem to have very happy memories of living here.
      Kind regards and thanks for your post. Jean.

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    • Valerie Arnott nee McFarlane
      Sep 27, 2014 @ 21:49:30

      Hi I have just read your article and am hoping you can answer something for me . I have been trying for a long time to remember the houses for hillcrest but there is one that escapes me red was Spartans, blue was Athenians, yellow was Corinthians but for the life of me I cannot remember what green was. Can you possibly remember it.

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      • jean2371
        Sep 28, 2014 @ 09:10:46

        Hello Valerie, I’m afraid I don’t know the colours of the houses at Hillcrest, but I’ll ask the question on Kensington Kids on Facebook and see if anyone there can give me the answer!

        Well, I asked Kensington Kids and we came up with an answer about fifteen minutes later thanks to a former pupil who still had one of her old school magazines. Arcadians was green!
        Hillcrest school magazine.

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      • Valerie Arnott nee McFarlane
        Oct 30, 2014 @ 01:18:43

        Thank you Jean for the help I have puzzled about Arcadians for years funny what you remember and the little bits that elude you.

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    • Calvin Donly
      Mar 19, 2015 @ 15:40:52

      Please say hello to Arthur for me, Jeannette. Believe it or not, our family, the Donlys, lived across Somerset Road from the Vines. One distinct memory I have is of the chubby little legs of my youngest brother, Llewelyn, as he opened the Vines’ gate and went down the steps into the front yard. He’d be visiting Arthur’s young brother, Douglas, better known in those days – the early fifties – as Tiggum. As I recall Arthur also had a brother named Ronnie and an older sister, Sybil. Sounds like he had a good life, and I’m happy to hear it. Calvin Donly.

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  53. femmegypsy
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 14:52:28

    I loved reading this! Fascinating.

    Like

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  54. Lauren Kent
    Sep 20, 2014 @ 12:01:44

    What a gorgeous article. I smiled, thinking about life back then. I live in downtown Joburg, corner Jeppe and Joubert, in Ansteys Building. Life is different but equally as intoxicating, in a different way. Would it be okay if I used the image of the Colosseum (referenced and everything) for a short story I am writing?

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    • jean2371
      Sep 20, 2014 @ 12:33:40

      Hello, Lauren. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Ansteys Building must have been a wonderful place to live. I remember accompanying for two boy sopranos who were auditioning for “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in the penthouse there many years ago. Please go ahead and use the Colosseum image in your short story. Please let me know when you have completed it – I would love to read it.

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  55. blogroid
    Dec 15, 2014 @ 13:25:27

    Hi Jean. I surfed upon your blog while searching the web for a particular tale of murder?/death that i wanted for a ‘local interest’ element for a class project for my 8th grade group next year. [i teach at a college in Bez Valley and as part of the Social Studies programme we will be investigating a series of events/trends in the period 1958-59, ranging from International … Chinese invade Tibet, Dalai Lama flees … to National: PAC breakaway from ANC… Progs breakaway from UP… to Metro… Beer hall issue and murder and Local.]

    I noted that you moved to Kensington in ’57 and the incident for which i require information apparently occurred in either ’58 0r ’59.

    This particular local incident involved a man called Foster, who was allegedly the last surviving member of the [so-called] Foster Gang. According to a quote in a book about the gang the inquest [November 12, 1959] ruled that the “death was due to inter-cranial hemorrhage and cerebral contusion sustained when the deceased was pushed from a cafe by two persons.”

    This seems to be a curious result from being pushed.

    I do confess a personal curiosity in this, as i was 13 that year, growing up in Springs where my neighbour and schoolmate was/is [we are still Facebook buddies] the grandson of the man [the mayor of Springs] who was inadvertently shot dead by the police in a manhunt for the original Foster gang in 1914. My mother [93 now] says she doesn’t remember it being discussed over the fence [in the ’50’s] so it may not have been generally reported.

    I heard about the incident serendipitously recently from a young Kensington resident, who otherwise knew no more than i have presented here. What i haven’t been able to establish was when this incident involving the last Foster apparently occurred: where the cafe was and why he was apparently “pushed”… and i can’t lay a trail of clues for the Learners if i do not have that information… Perhaps one of your many interesting readers can remember.

    Thanks in advance for any info; and for the record, i do enjoy a bratwurst and rosti at the German pub opposite that corner building, that some of your readers discussed on the corner of Queens and Langerman, which was at one time called Windybrow, a place where i performed a ‘one-man-show’ in the late’80’s [although i think that was before it moved there… to Kensington… from Nugget street… and then later it was a most congenial restaurant in the “Mike’s Kitchen’ chain i believe.

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    • jean2371
      Dec 15, 2014 @ 13:59:52

      Thank you for your interesting post. I’m afraid I don’t know anything at all about the incident regarding the last surviving Foster in 1957/58. I will be very interested to know if someone else can shed some light upon it for you. I knew all about the Foster gang and the cave in Juno Street as the cave was several houses higher than ours when we lived in Juno Street all those years ago, but nothing about the later incident. I hope one of my readers will be able to help. Sadly, Mike’s Kitchen in Windybrow is long gone and the building appears to be derelict these days.

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      • blogroid
        Dec 15, 2014 @ 20:08:41

        Thank you Jean for your prompt response. I presume the local newspaper thing , like for instance the Eastern Express hadn’t happened in the late 1950’s in Johannesburg, albeit there was some mention by you of Kensington Historical associations in the area. I have had three references to the incident including the quotation to which i referred; in which it was also said that the specific Foster person had left Jozi after exiting gaol in 1923 and lived the next twenty odd years in Durban under an assumed name before returning in the late 50’s to this area [eastern suburbs.] and later died after the incident above quoted.

        There was rather inebriated old person whom i once encountered at the New Berkeley hotel in Bree street in 1962, who was most happy that “they had got the [insert rude word] ” who had caused her some grief… and when i asked who and where she referred to Foster and Bez Valley [which i had at that time never heard of] … i understood “them” to be the authorities, and being 15 and a country boy simply filed the information as odd.. She was referring to the incident, albeit i didn’t realise this for about forty years.

        And then of course there was a recent reference to which i also referred earlier.

        Anyway if no one knows and i cant find any other information i will have to invent something for the kids to work on… Let’s see… we’ll send a good word out to the world beyond the curtain. Thank you again for reading and responding.

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  56. jean2371
    Dec 15, 2014 @ 22:40:40

    I sincerely hope someone else will read your posts and might be able to give you some tangible information about this incident. I think we’ve only had the local newspaper for the past twenty or thirty years otherwise you could have checked in the archives. Good luck with your research!

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  57. Monica
    Feb 06, 2015 @ 12:11:13

    Dear Jean,
    What an amazing article I have discovered. Thank you for sharing your awesome memories. I have just been on my own exploration of heritage/historical sites in Kensington and have been wowed by the deep historical remains we still have…some in ruin, but we still have them. I wish there were more people like you to give people like me knowledge of the “good old days”. My kids think I’m from the good old days and expected me to know all about the monuments, old buildings, halls, parks and clubs in the neighbourhood. I have read some information online which was so amazing that I could not match to our modern quaint suburb – but having been to these sights, and not having answers to some background of some places i.e. the Kensington Hall, The Kensington Clinic and the ruins on the koppie opposite Jeppe High School for Boys is killing my curiosity. (It also makes me look silly to my kids when I can’t give them a solid answer.) I would appreciate it if you could share some information/memories of such places. Thanking you in advance, Monica

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    • jean2371
      Feb 06, 2015 @ 13:02:03

      Dear Monica,
      Thank you so much for your post. I was very pleased to read it. I’m afraid I don’t really know very much about the history of all those buildings in Kensington – I just wrote the article of my memories of life in Kensington a long time ago. It might be an idea to contact the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. I’m sure there will be someone there who could help you – or even someone who has already commented on this page. The Facebook link to the JHF is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/112707830122/
      Kind regards, Jean.

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  58. 54Africanvoices
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 00:36:53

    Hi Jean and and everyone else, it’s such a pleasant surprise to find such info especially since i reside in the Kensington area. It’s good to know the rich history behind all these locations and the photographs leave in me in “awe” . What really caught my attention was the Colosseum building, i had no idea it was an entertainment venue, it’s now an apartment building and i had gone to view the place.

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    • jean2371
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 09:43:04

      Thank you for your lovely comment and I’m so glad you found my article of interest. I didn’t realise that the Colosseum building had been turned into apartments. Further down Commissioner Street was His Majesty’s Theatre – I think it is a Clicks store now, and the Empire Theatre was opposite the Carlton Centre.

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  59. Shirley van der Hoek
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 10:50:06

    Hi Jean and Keningtonites – thanks for this great blog. A while since I’d gone into it, so there were lots of updates to enjoy – thanks all !! Jean, did you ever get the scanned pictures of Windybrow from Shebon (May 24, 2014 communication). If so, I’d love copies to share with Linda Gray, who grew up there. Linda doesn’t have pictures of the house and neither do I.
    All the best everyone
    Shirley

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    • jean2371
      Mar 08, 2015 @ 12:25:39

      Hello Shirley, Thank you for your comments. I’m afraid I didn’t receive the scanned photos from Shebon, but Stewart sent me two photographs of Windybrow recently and I added them to my own post. I will send you the photos Stewart sent to me when I’ve finished writing this. Sadly, Windybrow is not in very good shape at the moment. Kind regards, Jean.

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  60. Shirley
    Mar 09, 2015 @ 06:35:56

    I saw the recent photos – very depressing. I’m really after images of the Windybrow where I shared awesome times with the Gray’s. Thanks Jean.

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  61. Shirley
    Mar 09, 2015 @ 06:38:16

    The Windybrow of the 50’s and 60’s is what I mean – anyone else that can help with photos from that time ?

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  62. Norman Cohen
    Apr 20, 2015 @ 21:43:25

    I wonder if you could help me. My Father Norman Cohen lived in Leandra street in the early 1950s. He is trying to get hold of a few old friends. I seems you know many people in the area still. He is looking for Malcolm and Robert Mcfarlane. Also Bobby and Lesley Lamprecht.

    Could you help? Rgds Zane Cohen

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    • jean2371
      Apr 20, 2015 @ 23:25:36

      Hello Norman, Thank you for your comment. I’m afraid I don’t know the people you mention but perhaps someone who reads the page knows them and will be able to help.

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  63. Trackback: Queen Street, Kensington | The Sun House
  64. hack for dragonvale
    Jul 23, 2015 @ 18:01:52

    Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone
    3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look
    forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!

    Like

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  65. Elizabeth Scherman
    Sep 04, 2015 @ 13:13:22

    What an amazing blog! Thanks for all the comments. Really taking us all back to our younger days living in Kensington!

    Like

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  66. zebradragonfly
    Sep 23, 2015 @ 08:50:42

    Good day everyone,

    I have lived in Kensington for the past 5 year now in the building referred to the Egoli building in this blog.

    Over the past few years I have spoken to a lot of the people in the area about the rich past of Kensington, however no-one could tell me about a particular house that has caught my attention every time I walk past it.

    Can anyone help me? The house that I am referring to is Nr 7 Summerset road witch is located not from from Jepppe Boys High. I know the house is now owned by a school and is being renovated and nothing ells?

    Please help
    Thank you
    Rene

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  67. Henk Kruijssen
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 13:02:39

    Hello Everyone

    I lived in Ocean Street Kensington in 1964/ 1965 . The house was next door to the chuch , not sure if our housenumber was 3 or 33 .

    Im from the Netherlands and stayed with the Davitz family . Mr. Davitz worked at the postoffice , I believe ass.Manager . We had a housemaid named Martha , sweet lady ! As for me I worked at Anstey’s Dept. store and the Belfast .

    I had the most wonderfull time in Johannesburg . Later on in 1965 I moved to Australia . Does anyone know what happend to the Davitz family ? Their oldest son George went with me to Austalia where he worked as a DJ for a radiostation in Sydney . He died about 20 years ago .

    One day I hope to visit Johannesburg again , sure it has changed a lot ,,,,, but still i love to see it again .

    Thanks everyone .

    Henk Kruijssen Holland darrhenk@hotmail.com

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    • jean2371
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 13:44:15

      Thank you for your interesting comment, Henk. I know exactly where you lived in Ocean Street as I was the musical director at St Andrew’s Church for 13 years. The number is 33. I also have fond memories of Anstey’s and the Belfast. In the sixties my mother and I had lunch once a week in Anstey’s lovely restaurant. I’m afraid you will find central Johannesburg changed beyond recognition although Anstey’s building is still standing. Kensington is much the same as it used to be although we are deeply troubled by crime in the area. I hope someone might be able to tell you what happened to the Davitz family.

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      • Henk Kruijssen
        Oct 21, 2015 @ 18:32:40

        Thankyou Jean for your reply . I had some more news today from Peter and Carol who lived at no. 23 Ocean street . Sorry to hear that there is so much crime now . When I lived there it was always very peaceful , I suppose in those days everyone knew his place !

        So you were the musical director at StAndrews . Funny enough , i used to sing with the choir of St.Andrews , that must have been 1964 . Its a small world .

        Anyway thanks again for your swift reply , baie dankie !

        Warmest wishes …. Henk

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 14:39:26

      Hello Henk. As Jean mentioned the Dawitz Family stayed at No. 33 Ocean Street, and in the years that you mentioned our Family, namely “The Billings” Lived at 23 Ocean Street, approximately three houses up from St. Andrews and on the opposite side of the Road to the Dawitz Family. I was very friendly with George’s Brother Johnny Dawitz. When we lived in Ocean Street George Dawitz was a DJ for “LM Radio” and went under the Radio name of “George Wayne”. George owned an Item Motorcycle and it was always at 33 Ocean Street, so Johnny and myself used to “Borrow” his Motorcycle to go Joyriding. I know that Mrs Dawitz passed away many years ago with Cancer, and I am not sure if Mr Dawitz ever re-married. In 1966 our Family moved to Glendower, Edenvale and at that stage I lost contact with Johnny Dawitz. Other Families that lived in Ocean Street at that time were the Hubbards, Mrs Cross and her Daughter Jill, the Fick Family, the Flucker Family, Malcome and Grahame Cooke/Fraser and their Parents, and the Attwells. The Attwells lived accross the road from the Dawitz Family, and Mr Attwell was the Mayor of Johannesburg at one time. We have recently been in contact with someone who lived on the corner of Ocean Street and Langermann Drive, and another Person who also lived at 23 Ocean Street after we had moved out. We will check with these people to see if any of them know what happened to the Dawitz Family. However if you do manage to contact Johnny would you please let us have his email address or other contact details, if possible. If you look on the side of Jean’s Website you will see that Jean has made Carol a “Guest Blogger”, and you will also be able to read our Memories of Kensington. It is always so nice to hear from people who lived in Kensington, and specifically in Ocean Street. Carol and myself got married at St. Andrews in 1969, and both our Children were Christened at St. Andrews. In 1981 we relocated to Cape Town, and have been here ever since, but have wonderful Memories of growing up in Kensington.
      Best regards Peter and Carol.

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  68. Henk Kruijssen
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 18:23:27

    Hi Peter and Carol

    Thank you very much for your swift reaction , ghee its great to read all the news .

    Sorry to hear Mommy Davitz died of cancer . Lets hope Johnny is still around . Sure I will let you know if I hear from him .

    Yes George and me lived togheter in Australia for about 5 years . First in Sale ( Victoria and from there we moved to Wagga Wagga NSW . After that George got a better job with a big radiostation in Sydney and I stayed behind in Wagga where I got married. … and in 1970 returned to Holland with my Australian wife.

    I have fond memories of Mrs Cross ( Aunty San we called her ) and daughter Jill who was a simple sole . Anty San was a character , she always made us laugh , we spend plenty fun nights at her place chatting on her porch .. no telly in those days , thank God !

    I was only 20 years old at the time and i learned a lot from my stay in S.A.
    Afrikaans was ofcourse easy for me , being Dutch . We always spoke Afrikaans at no. 33 . Anty San always said Agjeere if she wanted to express herself , so funny .

    Its been more then 50 years ago now but i can still recall every detail . Pity I cant remember you Billings , altough you were only a few houses further up the road .

    I remember the bikeride , downhill into town on my way to work . The cinema near Oceanstreet where we saw Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple . The live show of Marlene Dietrich in town ( George managed the tickets ofcourse ) .

    The tearoom bioscoops in town , where one could stay for hours , a bit seedy but still . My dear friends at he Belfast basement , where i worked at the Grammaphone counter . And the long lazy Sundayafternoons , going for a drive with Mom and Dad and George and John ……. ghee thinking of all this make my eyes water …. silly me .

    Anyway , thanks once again and I will check Jean’s Website .

    My best wishes to you both ……….. ta ta Henk .

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    • jean2371
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 20:23:03

      Hello Henk, I’m glad that Carol and Peter were able to fill you in about the Davitz family and give you other news about Kensington all those years ago. How interesting that you sang in the choir at St Andrew’s. I was MD there from 1993 – 2005 and enjoyed working with the choir. Everything of the best, Jean.

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  69. clifford T. Bengis
    May 31, 2016 @ 00:28:43

    Thank you, Jean. What a trip down “memory lane”, drive (Langerman)/ avenue(Roberts & Kitchener)/ street(Queen & Juno). I was born at 116 Kitchener Avenue in 1942 and only left Kensington in 1971 when I got married. My second home was at 66 Westmoreland Road. It was just one street up from Langerman Drive at Queen Street and directly behind Queens High School. I am very familiar with the home called “Windy Brow” that was demolished. I passed it everyday.
    I attended Jeppe Prep and Jeppe Boys High School. I rode the street cars [trams], and the buses. I bicyled to high school every day. Even came home for lunch and then went back again. In my very young days, I took a short cut through Daras Nuseries to Juno street and then over the hill and down the other side to Roberts Avenue.
    Started playing golf at a young age. Snuck onto the Kensington golf course after the last 2 ball/4 ball had played the 10th hole. It was just 200 yards down the street from me.

    My late father was Dr. Dave Bengis, a general practioner. Perhaps some of you may remember him.
    I could go on and on. Enough for now.

    Clifford T. Bengis
    San Diego, California.

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    • jean2371
      May 31, 2016 @ 13:02:12

      Thank you for your interesting comment, Clifford. You have supplemented my own memories of Kensington as it was all those years ago. I remember your late father, Dr Dave Bengis, for he was our GP before we returned to the UK in 1958 – we returned to the country later. Unfortunately the golf course is now a “townhouse complex” and the clubhouse area has been taken over by a Scientology church. Kind regards, Jean.

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  70. Ian Hood
    Oct 05, 2016 @ 09:10:34

    Hi Jean Your site has just come to my notice and brings back many memories. Having been born and bred in Kensington, from 332 Highland Rd to 15 Derby Rd with a few stops in between Leicester Rd Primsary to Jeppe Boys,it was our play ground
    Mainly what I write about is “Windy Brow” early 1950’s A guy who was a year or two behind us by the name of Owen Gray lived there with his parents next door towards the golf club were the Turners and next to the the Thoms. I recall Owens father was some big business man in town. If you cared to get in touch with Doug Thom who lives in Dunvegan now, he should be able to give you more detail. Diagonally across the road was the Silver Dollar Cafe owned by George Raftopolous father, it was one off the corner. We were all Leicester Rd and Jeppe High Boys although George was at Jeppe Prep.Havent read all the blogs but did anyone mention the old Regent Theatre, six pence matinee on Saturday afternoons.
    Then there was Breedies Hardware more or less opposite the Thom’s house.
    Hope that fills in a few gaps but I’ve been away since early seventies marrying a kiwi lass and now residing in Christchurch.
    I was also in the boy scouts based in the Anglicasn Church, 1st St Andrews ,in Ocean St and can remember we used to absail out of the tower to pass some badge or other.
    Look after yourselves and keep up the good work
    Ian Hood
    Christchurch
    NZ

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    • jean2371
      Oct 05, 2016 @ 09:31:49

      Hello Ian, Many thanks for your interesting comments. You would not recognise Windy Brow these days. It was turned into a restaurant and has been derelict for some years. They are working on it now and it is going to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken when the work is finished! I have a feeling that Carol Billings (my guest blogger) wrote about the Gray family who lived there at one time. Mr Gray had been mayor of Johannesburg.

      I was in the same year at Jeppe Girls’ as Helena Thom – perhaps a sister of Doug Thom? I also knew Crissola (sp) Raftopolous at school. The Regent was renamed The Fairway and was destroyed in a fire in the eighties. I was the music director at St Andrew’s for 13 years. Absailing from the tower sounds quite dangerous!

      Thank you, once again, for your interesting comment which brought back a few more memories for me!

      Jean Collen.

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      • Ian Hood
        Oct 05, 2016 @ 09:45:48

        Definetly wasn’t Doug’s sister ,she was Marion a bit older than us and dont think that was Georges sister either she was also older and the eldest brother was Gerry. I left Jeppe in 63

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      • jean2371
        Oct 05, 2016 @ 12:56:05

        I must have got it wrong as far as Helena is concerned. Cressola was related to the Raftopolous family in some way for I remember that she often worked in the café after school.

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    • davidtwells46@yahoo.com
      Oct 06, 2016 @ 01:39:31

      Hi Ian,Is Janet your sister? I was in the same class at Leicester Road School with a very blond girl and she was called Janet Hood.Best Wishes,Dawn Dommann.

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    • Carol Billings.
      Oct 16, 2016 @ 15:45:16

      Hello Ian. We have read your Memories of Kensington on Jean’s Webpage with Interest, and yes both my sister, Alison and myself knew the Gray Family very well. We were the Falwasser Sisters and went to Jeppe Prep and then Jeppe Girls. Seem to think that you are Janet Hood’s brother, and we do know her from Jeppe Girls. And you also have a brother Robert? Owen Gray’s Grandfather was actually the Major of Johannesburg, and the Family Owned Gray Smith’s Grocers which was in Fairview close to the Fire Station. Not sure if you are aware that Owen Gray sadly passed away a few years ago, but his Sister Linda and brother Gordon are both still living in Johannesburg. Shirley Davies was very good friends with Linda Gray and has commented on a lot of the Memories. Shirley and Linda are still good friends. You also mention the Thom Family – Dougie married Lorraine Good. We also knew the Good Family from Montague Street, and my sister and I were Girl Guides with Barbara and Wendy and their Mother was the Guiding Commissioner. Notice that you have joined Kensington Kids and am sure that you will meet up with a lot of old Jeppe Boys from your era. My husband Peter went to Kensington South and Queens High School. Kind regards. Peter and Carol.

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  71. jemima
    Nov 12, 2016 @ 06:22:03

    Windy brown has sadly now been turned into a KFC outlet.

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  72. Mary Perry was Sears
    Dec 04, 2016 @ 18:54:59

    What an absolutely fascinating read Jean, thank you. We, the Sears family, lived in Mars Street on the corner of Highland road. We all attended Hillcrest Primary and my sister, Nancy , and I went to Jeppe Girls ( I was there from 1953 to 1957 and she was 3 years behind me, and brother Billy was at Jeppe Boys from about 1958 to 1963. I remember the hats well, and also having to do PT outside in the quod in our white shirts and voluminous bloomers, mortified when the Jeppe boys rode past. I went to the school about 6 years ago and the girls still sit on the floor during assembly.
    We also attended St Andrews in Ocean Street, Father Mark Risdon was the rector.I really fancied Brian Pitman who was in the choir and was a server. We had dances in the church hall and at one dance the music consisted of three old ladies playing violins if I remember it correctly. At the beginning of each dance they put up a sign saying’waltz’, or ‘foxtrot’.
    We were brownies and guides in Rhodes Park and Mrs Bradley was our guider.We used to hike to Beford View to camp there , somewhere in Kloof Road I think Wonderful memories and life was so free wasn’t it, we could walk and cycle everywhere, play in Rhodes park safely and spend happy afternoons at the ‘baths’ in Rhodes park. We had to walk through water with disinfectant from the change rooms to the swimming area

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    • jean2371
      Dec 04, 2016 @ 19:41:41

      Hello Mary, Thank you so much for your interesting comment about the article and all your wonderful memories of that time. I remember your sister, Nancy very well for she was in my class in 1958. I was in the school play that year in “Lace on Her Petticoat” and went to the UK for a time in the middle of that year. They were certainly very happy times indeed.

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    • Carol Billings.
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 18:37:20

      Hello Mary. We read your comments on Kensington and immediately knew the Surname Sears. My sister is Alison Birch and we are both younger than yourself, Nancy and Billy, but we knew your Family very well. We were the Falwasser sisters, and lived at 152 Roberts Avenue, just off Kennet Street close to Jeppe Girls. Alison and I both went to Jeppe Prep and then Jeppe Girls. Our Grandfather was Tom Brierley and he used to play Bowls at Rhodes Park Bowling Club, and he played with your Father/Grandfather. If Memory serves me correctly I seem to recall your Parents attending our Grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary Party?? We also went to St. Andrews Church, and knew Rev. Risdon very well. Also remember Brian Pitman well whom you spoke about. If you look through Jean’s website you will see Alison’s comments, and on the side Jean made me a Guest Blogger, so you will see photos of Alison, and myself with our Mom, and also the Rhodes Park Bowling Club Badge. Its been so wonderful reconnecting with people who grew up in Kensington, and still Love talking about it and sharing their Memories. Kind regards Carol.

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  73. Mfundo Sithole
    Jan 12, 2017 @ 19:51:40

    The article that changed my life. I appreciate this, and would like to know more about Kensington.

    Like

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  74. Dianne Keogan
    Jan 31, 2017 @ 20:25:10

    Hi Jean, I hope you don’t mind me correcting you on the name you mentioned.

    the Kensington Clinic, known then as the Kensington Sanatorium and run by nuns, who later moved upmarket to the Kengray Clinic in Parktown, now renamed again as the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical ”

    It’s the upmarket clinic you talk about was known as the Kenridge Hospital, my late father worked there from the inception of the Kenridge when the nuns ran it.

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    • jean2371
      Jan 31, 2017 @ 21:37:21

      Thank you for your comment, Dianne. My father-in-law was a patient in the Kenridge in 1974 and my husband was a patient there in 1994 before it was renamed again. Thank you for correcting me – I’m afraid I wrote everything from memory and should really have checked the details more carefully before committing everything to this blog! When I have a moment I will make the correction.

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Good Reads Book Reviews

The Moon And SixpenceThe Moon And Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Apparently Strickland was based on the artist Paul Gauguin, but if this was the case, there is a very loose connection between the two for this in not a novel a clef. The book held my interest while the narrator had personal contact with Strickland and his wife. Almost from the beginning of the novel, before Charles Strickland had appeared, I thought him a thoroughly reprehensible character.

Admittedly his wife was not an imaginative woman and used her established position in society to cultivate the society of writers and artists although she appeared to be devoid of any artistic talent herself. She obviously regarded her "dull" husband as nothing more than a meal-ticket and she had never encouraged his artistic inclinations. It is only after he leaves her to her own devices that she manages to pull herself together, fend for herself and look after her children without being dependent on a man any longer.

The portrait of a completely self-centred, inarticulate Strickland, who does not care about the opinion of others was well-drawn but after the narrator is no longer in personal contact with Strickland and the rest of the story of Strickland's life is related to him by a third person the story is less satisfactory. I have to admit that I did not finish the last fifty pages of the book. Although I like Maugham's work, this was not my favourite Maugham novel.

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Errol Collen (translator)

Blogs I Follow

themarcistagenda

my creative adventure

notewords

handwork, writing, life, music, books

Semi-Partisan Politics

A semi-biased commentary on British and American politics, culture and current affairs

Music Hall Alice

All things Music Hall...

Glasgow Dog Training By Dog Behaviourist John McGuigan

Promoting non aversive dog training & puppy training classes

Post a Book

We post stories. You enjoy them.

FIONA COMPTON'S FICTION

This blog has been created to promote Fiona Compton's fiction. All her books are available at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/fiona_compton

Footlight Notes

Celebrities of popular entertainment, 1850s - 1920s

britishmusichallsociety

Just another WordPress.com site

TIME

Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

Save our iMfolozi Wilderness

HELP SAVE the iMfolozi Wilderness Area by saying NO to the Fuleni Coal Mine and YES to keeping Wilderness Areas sacred.

Johannesburg 1912 - Suburb by suburb research

"What is fashionable now is despised by the next generation, thought quaint by the following and revered by the one thereafter"

Slipped Disc

Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds

WAR HISTORY ONLINE

THE PLACE FOR MILITARY HISTORY NEWS AND VIEWS

My Grilling Life - Jani Allan

Sautéing and Satire. Blue Jasmine story about someone who was a household name in South Africa who becomes a waitress in New Jersey.

Marc Latilla

"The best thing is surprising people, knowing that tomorrow it will all be forgotten" Regine Zylberberg

helencareybooks

A site for readers and writers

Bowlly Radio

Writer, Editor, Proof-reader, Musician

Edwardian Promenade

Your #1 source for Edwardian history!

Lisa's History Room

where the past is always present

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