MEMORIES OF KENSINGTON by Carol Billings (Guest Blogger)

I was very glad to receive this interesting article from Carol Billings. She too had grown up in Kensington and shares her memories of  life in the suburb in this article. Jean Collen

30 January 2014

Carol has kindly sent photographs of the Mayor and Mayoress of Johannesburg in 1941. These photos should be of interest to Geoffery Nkoana, who asked about a solid 9ct fully engraved gold key which was presented to the mayor when the Regent Bioscope in Langerman Drive, Kensington was opened in 1941. Geoffery’s mother was working for Mayor T.P. Gray at the time of the presentation.

Johannesburg mayor (1941)

Johannesburg mayor (1941)

Mayoress of Johannesburg (1941)

Mayoress of Johannesburg (1941)

MEMORIES OF KENSINGTON by CAROL BILLINGS

Taken in Benoni in 1998.

Taken in Benoni in 1998.

Alison Birch and Carol Billings with their mother (1998)My sister Alison Birch forwarded the link on ‟Kensington‶ to me, to read and to reminisce about, which both my husband and I did. I also passed it on to other people who have lived there, or in the surrounding suburbs, as we knew they would also enjoy reading your article. Growing up in Kensington in the 1950s and 1960s was certainly very special.

Our father’s parents lived in Apollonia Street in Fairview, and later moved to 80 Langermann Drive, which we see on Google Earth now houses a veterinary practice.

Our mother’s parents were originally from Rochdale in Lancashire and went to South Africa where they married in St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town on the 9th December, 1908. Our uncle was born in Bloemfontein, and when granny was expecting our mother, she returned to the UK where she gave birth to her in Blackpool. They then returned to South Africa.

Grandfather had been working for British Railways, and worked for the South African Railways when they settled in South Africa. When they moved to Kensington, they lived at 33 Orwell Street.

Our mother did voluntary work for St. John’s Ambulance, and this is where she met our father. When World War Two was declared, our mother volunteered for the South African Military Nurses, and because she was still very young, our grandparents had to give their consent for her to do so. She started off nursing at Entabeni Hospital in Natal, and was then drafted to work in the desert at Quassein in Egypt. This work played a very important part in her life, and  until her death in 1999 she was the secretary of the South African Military Nurses’ Association in Johannesburg. She returned to Egypt for the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of  El Alamein Celebrations, and also went with the Association to Delville Wood in France for a Memorial Service.

Our parents married at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Johannesburg on the 24th January, 1948. Alison was born in April, 1949, and I was born in July, 1950, at the Marymount Maternity Home. This hospital is now a place for people suffering with Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disease. Sadly our father passed away in February, 1951, when I was only 7 months old. He had Rheumatic Fever when he was young, and this had weakened his heart. He was an Aeronautical Engineer, and lectured at the Johannesburg Technical College in Eloff Street.

Alison and I both attended Jeppe Preparatory School, and then went onto Jeppe Girls’ High.When our father passed away our grandparents sold their home in Orwell Street, and moved into our house at 152 Roberts Avenue. They looked after us during the day whilst mother went to work at Colgate Palmolive, where she remained for 39 Years.

School badges

Badges

I recall vividly that Alison and I caught the tram to Jeppe Prep each morning, and returned on another one after school each day. As we got a bit older, we asked our grandparents for permission to join our friends in buying slap chips from the fish and chip shop in Fairview called Little Beaver, and we would walk home down Roberts Avenue together with our friends eating our chips.

Our blazer badges for Jeppe Prep had the letters JHSPD embroidered on them, and all the children in Kensington used to say, ‟Jolly Hot Sausages, Penny a Dozen!” Jeppe Prep was a wonderful school and the students all knew each other and supported each other. We participated in a lot of sports and other activities while we were there.Jeppe Preparatory School

Various scenes of Jeppe Prep.

Various scenes of Jeppe Prep.

Jeppe Prep1 Jeppe Prep2Photos of Jeppe Prep (Carol Billings)

I left Jeppe Prep at the end of 1962, and sadly at this point, the girls went onto Jeppe Girls’ High, and the Boys to Jeppe Boys’ High. However we always supported our old school friends whenever there was a rugby match, or swimming gala. The girls would also go to the dances at the Jeppe Boys’ School, and vice versa. The Jeppe Boys High School had boarders and one of the houses for the boarders was called Tsessebe House. It was intended that the girls’ school would also have boarding facilities, but this plan never materialised.

At Jeppe Girls’ High, we wore a fancier blazer than at Jeppe Prep, and we were teased by many as it was black with white stripes and, as a result, we were often called the Zebras. Mother always used to complain as these blazers were very expensive because of the stripes, and we got them from McCullough and Bothwell. One of the ladies who made the Jeppe Girls’ dresses comes to mind: June Harris. June was also very involved at St. Andrew’s Church. At both schools the girls wore white panama hats in summer, and black felt hats in winter. The Jeppe Schools were incredibly proud of their uniforms, and I recall having very strict dress inspections on a regular basis. Your dress had to be so many inches above your knee, and heaven help you if it was too short!. We would always take off our belts, so that our dresses appeared slightly longer. Your hair had to be tidy, off your face, and tied back at all times.

I attended Jeppe Girls High from Standard 6 in 1963 until Standard 8 in 1965, and I then left and went on to the Johannesburg Commercial College in Johannesburg. There we wore a black and white small checked pleated skirt, with a black blazer, and a straw basher. When I left Jeppe 4 other girls joined me at the College, where we did a Commercial Matric.

When one speaks of Kensington, so many places and things come to mind.Rhodes Park, Kensington

Rhodes Park was a really beautiful nature garden, and we used to go to the swimming pool often, as in those days most people did not have pools at home. Even the Jeppe girls used to go to do their swimming practice at that pool although I’m not quite sure why they did not use their own pool to practise for galas. When we were at Jeppe Prep we would go to Jeppe Boys High to swim, as the Prep did not have their own swimming pool at that time. At the weekend there were always lots of people visiting the park. There was equipment for children to play on, and one was able to walk around the beautiful gardens. They had horticulturists working permanently in the gardens of Rhodes Park. There was a bandstand, and on Sunday there were different bands playing there. Crowds sat on the lawns listening to the beautiful music.

We often watched the baseball games there. There was a physically disabled man, whom everyone called Coach, and there were two families of boys from Kensington who did exceptionally well in baseball: the Tew brothers, and the Coulson brothers. There were also a lot of sand banks in the part, and children loved to bring cardboard boxes to the part, and slide down these embankments.

There was a bowling green, and our grandfather was a member of the club. We always attended the club’s Christmas parties which were fantastic. I had a friend who was a member of the Rhodes Park Tennis club so I would often play on those courts with her, and in turn she would come to the tennis club in Juno Street where my sister and I were members. I had another friend whose parents were members at the Fotheringham Park Club in Malvern, and again I would go with them, and she would come with me to my club.

Every Christmas a Carol Concert would be held in Rhodes Park. One year the Reverend Risdon from St Andrew’s was so busy directing the music and getting everyone to sing that he nearly fell into the fish pond! I fondly recall all the candle lights, and the stunning sound of all the Christmas Carols, echoing throughout Rhodes Park.

The tearoom in Rhodes Park was another firm favourite with us, and their cream scones and tea were a real treat. At one stage the Arnold Family ran the tearoom. The tearoom was also a very popular venue for wedding receptions. There were always brides having their photos taken in the park, particularly around the fish pond. My late mother-in-law was a dressmaker, and wedding-dress specialist. They lived in Ocean Street and she made many dresses for Kensington brides.

We used to visit the Library at Rhodes Park a lot too.  Not only did we take out books to read, but we spent many hours there doing projects for school. One always found a friend there also busy working on a project.

We attended St. Andrew’s Anglican Church. The church had a very high steeple, and the children always loved climbing up the stairs to the very top. The church bells were rung regularly. On Friday afternoon there was a Youth Club at St. Andrews, and many children from Kensington attended the club even if they were not members the church.

The cross on St Andrew's Church, Ocean Street, Kensington.

The cross on St Andrew’s Church, Ocean Street, Kensington.

In those days the Mayor of Johannesburg, Mr Atwell and his family, lived in Ocean Street. On Shrove Tuesday, we would also go up to a church in Malvern, and we would have ‟Pancake Races‶ in the street.

Kensington also had numerous Cubs, Brownies, Girl Guides and Boy Scouts packs at different venues. My sister and I were Guides with the 26th Johannesburg Pack, and we used to have our weekly meetings in the church grounds in Onyx Street.

Nels Rust was the dairy situated in Bez Valley, and they did deliveries to all the houses with horse-drawn carts. Milk and orange juice were still delivered in glass bottles. Fotheringham’s Bakery at the top of Marathon Street did home-deliveries of bread. Some men rode around the suburb on oxwagon, selling fruit and, while others rode bicycles selling green mielies, and shouting ‟Green Mielies‶ as they rode along.

The Kensington Castle was well-known in Kensington and was a private residence. The Kensington Hall was another historical building. At one stage the Foster Gang hid in the koppies in Kensington near there.

At the bottom of Protea Street, a block of residential flats, called Astra House, were erected for war veterans as homes for when they returned from the war to civilian life. We moved to these flats after our grandparents passed away. We were able to rent a flat in this complex because mother had nursed with the S.A.Military Nurses during the war. Shortly after we moved there, construction work was started on the Strathyre Girls Home for the Salvation Army next door to Astra House. The Jukskei River was also situated at the bottom of Protea Street, creating a border between Kensington and Cyrildene.

There were numerous well-known businesses in and around Kensington in those days – Marie Distiller’s hairdresser in Fairview, Dave and Johan’s for hair in Bez-Valley, Dolly’s Hats in Bez Valley, to name but a few.  My sister remembered a few businesses at the Lancaster Shopping Centre, opposite Jeppe Girls’ High.The butchery was originally owned by three brothers, but later only by one brother – Brian Gungarine and his wife Dawn. My husband’s late brother René and his friend Dudley actually worked in this butchery.

Dr. Yudelman was a very well-known dentist, who practised in Kensington for many years. When we last heard he was still working and his son had joined the practice.

After leaving Johannesburg Commercial College, I started working for the Schlesinger Organisation in Braamfontein.  They were situated in the very modern glass, coffin-shaped building at the top of Rissik Street, overlooking Johannesburg Station. My office was on the 20th floor of this Building, and I had stunning views of Johannesburg from my window. Mr I.W. Schlesinger had begun the Schlesinger Organisation in Johannesburg, and his son John, and his two cousins Sylvan and Julian, and another two directors Aubrey Harmel and Manfred Moross took over the running of the Organisation in later years. Schlesinger Organisation owned a lot of the cinemas and theatres in Johannesburg.

The Academy Theatre was at the top of Rissik Street and we used to love going to watch live shows there, starring wonderful actors like Rex Garner. Talented musical artists visited South Africa in the 1960s, such as the Everley Brothers, Demis Roussos, B.J. Thomas, Francoise Hardy, The Kinks, The Seekers, Johnny Mathis and Max Bygraves. South Africa also had very good local artists, and we enjoyed watching their shows too. Des and Dawn Linberg, 4 Jacks and a Jill, The Bats, The Staccatos, and the Dealians come to mind. When we were young we went to restaurants where we could dance, such as The 252 Tavern, Ciros where the Bats often played, Archies in Hillbrow and the Criterion in Benoni, to name but a few.

On a Sunday we often went to a resort at Van Wyks Rust to watch the talent show there. Well-known South African musicians, such as Dennis ‟The Cat”, Dennis McLean, Gene Rockwell, and Jody Wayne often appeared there.

We were married at St. Andrew’s Church in November, 1969, and both our children, Byrone and Lauren, were christened in St. Andrew’s Church.

Photograph taken at a friend's wedding in 1969.

Photograph taken at a friend’s wedding in 1969.

My husband Peter and his family lived on the corner of Protea Street, and Cumberland Road. He attended Kensington South School, and then went onto Queens High School, which was still situated on Langermann Drive. In later years that school became part of  the Military and the new Queens High was built at the bottom of Queens Street towardsCyrildene.  When Peter left Queens High he studied at the Witwatersrand Technical College in Smit Street, Braamfontein, where he qualified as a Master Butcher and Polony Maker.

We live in Cape Town now, but still have family on the Billings’ side who live in Derby Road, next to Leicester Road School, and when we visit Johannesburg, which is sadly not that often, we pop in to say hello, and we find that Kensington is still a very sought-after and beautiful suburb of Johannesburg.

Carol Billings (Guest Blogger)

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55 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janice de Bruyn
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 23:59:46

    I met Carol in 1969 at the Schlesinger Organisation – where we both worked, just after I had emigrated from England to Johannesburg. I have very fond memories of Kensington and visiting Marjorie Falwasser (Carol’s Mom). I was embraced into the family and also the family of Peter Billings and his parents, Carol married Peter in November 1969 and I attended the wedding with Graham. I left Johannesburg in 1971 and emigrated to the then Rhodesia, later leaving Rhodesia and then travelling considerably before settled down in Cape Town. I am now living in England with my husband Paul; but I recall how wonderful the memories I have of parts of Johannesburg and, in fact, many other wonderful places in South Africa. Janice de Bruyn

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  2. Charles
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 12:14:35

    Hi Carol.

    I see the pictures you have appended to the article are of the boys school. Do you perhaps have any pictures of the old prep school that was demolished in 1969.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Charles

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  3. Peter and Carol Billings
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 14:19:49

    Hi Charles,
    Sorry that I have only seen your comments regarding Jeppe Prep now. Jean actually completed the Blog, and attached additional photos, and I also recognised it as being Jeppe Boys High. I do have 3 photos taken of Jeppe Prep School in 1962, which I am going to forward to Jean to add to either her Article, or mine. If you let me have your e-mail address I will forward them to you too.
    I was unaware that the old Jeppe Prep School had been demolished in 1969 – that is rather sad, as it was a beautiful Building. Did you attend Jeppe Prep and in what year, and did you live in Kensington? It would also be nice to know your surname as we may remember you. Kind regards, Carol.

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    • Charles
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:56:08

      Hi Carol. Thank you for your reply. I attended Jeppe prep from 65 to 71 and then went on to Jeppe Boys.

      My surname is Alfonso and we lived in Blenheim street in kensington.

      I would really appreciate the foto’s of the prep. My email address is olympia@telkomsa.net.

      Many Thanks.

      Charles

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    • lynette joel (nee ehrlich
      Jan 26, 2014 @ 03:19:33

      hi my name was lynette ehrlich, i was in the same class as peter billings. he may remember me

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      • Peter and Carol Billings
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 12:10:55

        Hello Lynette. Peter says that your name sounds familiar. Do you perhaps have a photo when you were at school? Do you recall any of the other Billings? Our email address is excelmeat@telkomsa.net If you let us have your email address we could send you some of Peter and the Billings.

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  4. gloria scott
    Jan 24, 2014 @ 22:21:16

    So good to read these memories. I attended Jeppe Girls in the l950s. Lived in Malvern and trekked over the koppie at Mars St (??) to get to Kensington. I see also reference to entertainer Dennis McLean who was a good friend in my late teens – we all attended a Wesley Guild at Turffontein Methodist Church. He did a great imitation of Jerry Lewis and Elvis. Still in touch through family. I now live in Canada, left S.A. in 1960. We have only been able to return twice and found so many changes. It is good to look back. My name then was Gloria Johnston. Anyone out there go back that far and willing to be in touch? thanks again for the sharing.

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    • jean2371
      Jan 24, 2014 @ 22:40:54

      Thank you fore your comment, Gloria. I’m glad all the stories attached to my post brought back some happy memories of your youth in the area. I hope someone remembers you and gets in touch with you.

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 18:17:14

      Hello Gloria. You mentioned that you were a Jeppe Girl in the 1950s. Peter’s eldest sister Norma was a Jeppe Girl in the late 50s. Our neighbours the Surtees daughter Lynette also went to Jeppe – not sure of the year. Peter’s middle sister Linda was a hairdresser at Romano Liliano in Loveday Street, Johannesburg, and we recall her doing both Dennis McLean’s wife’s hair, and Dennis “The Kat’s” wife’s hair.

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  5. Rose Edy
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 15:11:26

    I lived at 114 Langermann Drive so opposite from the vet’s practice – and later a garage! Or is it the same place. It was on the corner of Queens and Langermann. I left Jeppe in 1972. Remember Quinns Bakery and Fotheringhams well – my dad worked for the company! We saw many rugby matches from the roof of Quinns. My children were christened at St. Andrews..

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    • jean2371
      Jan 25, 2014 @ 16:59:15

      Thank you for your comment, Rose. Yes, I remember the days when we used to take our dogs to Dr Russel’s and then the beautiful property was demolished and a garage was built in its place and is still there. Windybrow, on the opposite corner of Langerman Drive and Queens Street, still stands and has been used for various business ventures. Sadly, it appears to be unoccupied at the moment.

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      • Michael Garber
        Oct 12, 2015 @ 01:26:38

        Hullo Jean, I still live in Queen Street , a few houses away from Windybrow , which I am told was designed by Sir Herbert Baker. There is a house in Highland Road , which is a duplicate of what Windybrow looked like before it was disfigured, It seems that none of the business ventures that have been started there have continued for any length of time. Its a pity that the Regent Cinema burnt down
        ( in 1980 , I think ) just after it had been modernised with new carpeting and seating , which may have contributed to its combustibility.

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      • jean2371
        Oct 12, 2015 @ 09:34:14

        Thank you for your interesting comment, Michael. I must look out for that duplicate house in Highland Road. It is a shame that Windybrow is in such a sad state. I remember when it was a family home, a Mike’s Kitchen, and a kind of health centre with yoga and karate classes. I saw “Mary Poppins” in the Regent Cinema over fifty years ago! The businesses operating at the corner of Queen Street and Langerman Drive have certainly changed character in recent years!

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  6. lynette joel (nee ehrlich
    Jan 26, 2014 @ 03:21:03

    you have brought back a lot of memories, my mom used to have her hair done every saturday at marie drizzler, and dolly always made her gorgeous hats.

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 12:19:01

      Hi Lynette. With regards to Marie Dis Hairdresser – do you remember one of the hairdressers called Gloria? Gloria is Peter’s Cousin. She worked there for many years. Dolly made my Mom’s Hat when we got married. She was so professional.

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  7. Valerie Arnott nee McFarlane
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 07:42:23

    Hi carol and Peter, I think we are talking about different dares when we lived in Ocean street the family who lived opposite us were the Street family Bob and Phyllis and their two daughters Wendy and Cecily the girls went to Leicester Road School that was 1946 they moved to Crown Mines 17Shaft Bob Street was a mine captain. The people down the road were the Holzl,s their daughters name was Phillipa, I think that was how their name was spelt. He was a boxing referee. As I said I was only nine at the time. The house we lived in was the second house from the corner of Nottingham rd and ocean street on the left hand facing down towards Rhodes Park.

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Mar 23, 2014 @ 16:41:25

      Hi Valerie. Thanks for your reply. Peter says that their house – No. 23 was about 3 houses down from Nottingham Road. Peter was born in 1948 and they moved to Ocean Street in the mid 1950s when he was still attending Kensington South School. You did not mention if you knew Mrs Cross and her daughter or any of the other neighbors who were there when Peter lived in Ocean Street. Have you had a look at “Lost Johannesburg” on Facebook, as there are some beautiful photos of St. Andrews Church.

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      • Valerie Arnott nee McFarlane
        Apr 06, 2014 @ 08:39:37

        As I said we left Ocean Street just after the July holidays in 1947 for Durban and at that time none of the names you mention dwelt in ocean street. At that time the even number houses children were made to attend Gloucester Road school and the odd number houses children had to attended Hillcrest School, it was newly build as it had been on the other end of Highland Road on the hill and was known as Helenic. The grounds were not even properly cleared and we used to play on the koppjie next to the school building the older kids played on the level field further down. The splitting of Ocean Street caused great rivalry bythe children and my friends Wendy and Cecily Street, who had to go to Gloucester Road and I had many arguments as to which was the better school. I remember when the ROYAL FAMILY visited and we all lined Roberts Avenue with our schools to cheer them. Gosh I am really feeling old now, that was 67 years ago. Sorry to have been so long winded and hope you can make sense out of what I have written.

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      • Valerie Arnott nee McFarlane
        Apr 06, 2014 @ 08:50:21

        I misnamed the school it was Leicester Road School not Gloucester Road School sorry about the mix up

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Apr 14, 2014 @ 17:47:19

      Hello Valerie. Peter says thank you for your input as to the Residents of Ocean Street. The Billings only moved to 23 Ocean Street around 1958, by which time you had already left Kensington. We also found it very interesting as to how the Education Department choose which School you had to attend in those years. We are really enjoying everyone’s feedback and Memories of Kensington.

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    • lyn
      May 12, 2016 @ 23:38:44

      Hi Valerie,I also attended Leicester road school with Mr frank Braun as principal .Miss smilie was the grade one teacher.are there any old scholars out there?

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  8. Brian Lane
    Mar 14, 2014 @ 22:53:39

    Hi Carol, Please let me have Alison’s e mail . Brian Birch & I were best friends through school and as young men we had some great times together. I also knew Alison , Grant & Gareth very well. I lost touch with both Brian and Alison shortly after their breakup but would like to get in touch with her and get news of the family.

    Also regards to Peter who I knew from Kensington South.

    Brian Lane

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Mar 23, 2014 @ 16:55:36

      Hello Brian. Alison’s address is alisonab@mweb.co.za Peter also sends his Regards, and asked after your sisters – if we remember correctly they were Pam and Sandra? I remember Sandra – she was more my age, and I attended some of the Parties that you had at Jeppe Quondam. Have you looked at Jeppe Prep, and Lost Johannesburg on Facebook – also amazing and so many Kensington residents are popping up all over the world. Just goes to show how small the world is.

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  9. Jenny Doak
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 22:18:10

    I came across this blog by accident and so glad I did. I lived in Kensington in Leicester road opposite the Kens golf course which sadly is no longer. We lived between Royal Oak and Sovereign Street. There were many young children at that time and we all used to walk up to LRS. Mr Braun was a wonderful headmaster and all the children loved him and had great respect for him. He knew everyone’s name!!
    Last year I attended the 75th (?) anniversary. The school has changed a lot – for the better of course with music rooms and computer rooms. In my time (1948-54) there was nothing like that! There were a lot of photos displayed but no names of the people. The school opened in August 1939 with 92 pupils (not learners!!!) I think there were about 8 teachers then and I recognised Miss Smillie and Miss Preston in one of the pictures.
    My father helped to build the Library over week ends when many other fathers were there to help. The mothers used to take lunches to them and the children played all sorts of games and had fun while the fathers worked. My father did the French polishing on the panels in the Library. My mother was on the Mothers’ committee and the ladies organised many fetes which were a great success. Sports day was a highlight and it was so well organised. I remember all the bunting in front of the stands and all the children walking on to the field in their houses – Zebra, Sable, Buffalo and Giraffe. The war cries were shouted out with great gusto each time a race was won and there was always a wonderful atmosphere on sports day.
    I remember walking to Rhodes Park swimming pool down Protea street
    I went to Jeppe girls from 1955 – 1959. We used to catch the feeder bus in Highland Rd and get off at Marathon street and depending on the weather , either catch a tram or walk to Jeppe. I enjoyed entering the flower shows and won a couple of prizes.
    We attended St Andrews church in Ocean and I remember father Risdon very well. My Mom was one of the original members there and the church services were originally held in the hall. The church was built some years later. Mr and Mrs Kendall, who lived in Orion Street, back to back with the church, were instrumental in getting this all done. My mom and her family lived next door to the Kendalls.
    Just some comments :
    yes, the one picture is of Jeppe Boys The hairdresser was Marie Dissler

    My 2 boys were born at the Marymount. I was born at the Barrymore nursing home which was in Malvern at the top of Royal Oak street. Years later it was the Selwyn Segal home.
    I have many memories of Kensington in the good old days!! After I got married we lived in a flat in Braamfontein for 2 years and then moved back to Kensington, where we lived in the same house for about 36 years!!

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    • jean2371
      Mar 26, 2014 @ 22:50:26

      Hello Jenny,
      Thank you so much for your lovely account of your life in Kensington, which shares many parallels to my own life. I was a year behind you at Jeppe Girls High and have many happy memories of my days at the school and girls from your year like Gillian McDade and Elizabeth Moir who were both in the Scottish play “Lace on Her Petticoat” with me all those years ago.

      When I was attending the Methodist Church in Roberts Avenue in my teens, Eugenie Braun was the Sunday School Superintendent and I was a very green Sunday School teacher. I remember Mr Braun giving me a lift home from one of the functions we attended.

      I am amazed at how many people have such happy memories of the years they spent in Kensington and have shared their memories on my site. Thank you so much for sharing yours.

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    • Gloria Scott
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 04:19:59

      Hi Jenny. Thank you for the memories of LRS. Mr. Braun – oh yes, what a strong solid personality. I remember Miss Smilie – Was Mrs. Badenhorst still in the Art Room when you were there (a bit later than I was) She had actually taught Mr. Braun and loved to tell us this! My special teacher was Mr. Schoeman (Ivor or Ivan, I think) He was also an actor and took the whole class to watch him at the Library Theatre. I was a Zebra – not very good at athletics – I think I entered the potato race!!!! The war cries I can still hear. I lived in Malvern and walked over the koppie and along the lane each day. I remember walking to the swimming pool in a long line. At Jeppe I remember the flower shows – often talk of them now to grandkids – such a different life style. I think I was in Nerine at Jeppe. I then attended Modern Methods Business College and worked for the SABC. Married in 1958 and moved to Canada in 1960. My memories of school days are so special and I am really enjoying hearing from everyone on this site. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Audrey Bundy Porter Bisset
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 17:14:34

    I lived in Orwell Street in the 40s and went to LRS, remember Mr Braun Misses Smillie, Preston, Rosewarne and of course Mrs Badenhorst. I went to Jeppe girls in 1950/51, Miss Ramsbottom was headmistress and Clare Sutcliffe headgirl.I knew Rodney Parks who also lived in Orwell street and was the baseball coach in Rhodes Park. I went to dance classes with MIss Conmie at the St Andrews church hall in Ocean street, we also attended Girl Guides there with Mrs Doak. My dad was the D/C for the Eastern District Scouts for many years. Lost touch with friends Darlene Adendorff, Jill Ambler-Smith, Pat Halse, Wendy Street when i went to Modern Methods in town, then worked at Central Mining in Corner House Commisioner Street. My daughters Lynne and Debbie also went to Jeppe Girls when we moved to Bedfordview in the 70s, now live in Somerset West, really enjoying hearing about those days, my maiden name was Bundy.

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 07:04:57

      Hello Audrey. We have just read your comments on Kensington with great interest. We see that you lived in Orwell Street. Carol’s Grandparents Tom and Esther Brierley used to own No. 33 Orwell Street. When Carol’s Father passed away in 1951 they sold their Home and moved in with Carol, her Mom and her sister who stayed at 152 Roberts Avenue. When Carol worked at Schlesingers the Buyer also lived in Orwell Street, and knew her Grandparents. He was Mr Rindell. Not sure if you knew either of them? We knew Rodney Parks as “Couch”, as we often watched the Baseball in Rhodes Park when the Tew Brothers, and the Coulsen Brothers used to play. Note that you live in Somerset West. We live in Durbanville. We still both remember Kensington with great fondness, as we both had such wonderful childhoods there.

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    • Jenny Doak
      Apr 16, 2014 @ 18:46:40

      Hello Audrey
      My name is Jenny Doak (nee Humphrey)- I am married to Norman and it was his mom that helped with guides. His dad Charles was involved in 3rd Kensington sea scouts which used to meet in St Andres church hall in Ocean street. They later mmoved to the scout hall cor Orion and Langermann. Norman has been involved with the scouts since my first son Andrew started as a cub when he was 7 in 1978. I helped with cubs for a while. Norman helped with cubs, is the Group scout master and has been the scout master as well. We lived in Hannibal street. Are you related to Gordon Bundy? We knew him well – he lived in Roberts Ave sort of opposite Hannibal street.
      I went to LRS and Jeppe girls , lived in Leicester road as a child.
      I know a lot about Kensington as did my late parents – they bought a house in Leicester road in 1938 and it was the only house between Royal Oak and Sovereign St !! Amazing
      regards
      Jenny

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  11. Audrey Bundy Porter Bisset
    Apr 17, 2014 @ 12:51:25

    Hi Jenny yes i remember Norman and Eldred, they were small boys when we were in the guides, they lived in boarding house just down the road from Jeppe boys in Roberts ave.Gordon Bundy was my dad and my brother Graham went to 3rd Kensington scouts in Ocean street. I dont see any names of friends here or on the old Jeppe Girls, so guess i`m too old!!! regards Audrey

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  12. Vanessa LAUF
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 06:11:35

    Reading these wonderful memories has inspired me to continue my family history, thank you! Does anyone remember the Skelly family? Grace Skelly was my music teacher and also my aunt. I still keep in touch with her daughter, Alison, who later married John Forrest, a game ranger in Natal. My father and his brothers attended Athlone Boys’ High – I am trying to make contact with that school to obtain more school records of the 1920’s – 1940’s – My father was Gordon Lauf, and his brothers were Clifford, Willy and John LAUF. Any memories of that family would be much appreciated!
    Vanessa Lauf, New South Wales, Australia

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  13. Ian Barry
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 15:46:37

    Thank you to all of you for the memories of the old days. I lived in Jumper Street Belgravia for two years and then my parents moved to Booysens in the south of Johannesburg. My brother was in his last year at Belgravia Primary so I was sent there as well, having to travel into town on the tram, walk across town to the Union Castle building to catch the tram to Jules Street. after this I attended Malvern West while my brother attended Malvern High. The highlight of the trip was to see all the bikes at Milburn? Motors at the top of the hill before going down to Murray Park.

    The downside was being in my short pants in the OPEN tram in the middle of winter.

    But reading about the stores in town and remembering going into many of them such as John Orrs, Garlicks, Belfast etc was a treat for me. I remember one of them having a lift operated by an OLD man( like me) who announced every floor we approached – Second floor – haberdashery, ladies underwear etc.

    Dressing up in a suit to take my young lady to the movies in town – we had to see the first show as we would get home too late ro walk home after the second show.

    Playing football at Robinson Deep Mine, watching my father in law drive the hoist which is still in use at Gold Reef City, being chased by the Crown Mines police guard because we were playing on the mine dump are all good memories brought back to mind by your articles.

    My son lives in Buckingham Road in Kensington and his daughter starts school at Leicester Road school next week, My daughter and husband have sold in Glenvista and are buying in Kensington – why ? – because their twin daughters start school at Jeppe High next week, so our family has been connected to Kensington for many years.

    Thanks for the memories.
    Kind regards
    Ian Barry

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    • jean2371
      Jan 09, 2015 @ 16:28:04

      Thank you for your own lovely memories, Ian. I will let Carol Billings know that you read her article. I’m sure she would like to read your post too.

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Mar 15, 2015 @ 11:42:14

      Ian thank you so much for your comments regarding our Memories of growing up in Kensington. We so enjoyed reading your Memories as well, and can relate to them, as we know all the Areas you spoke about. We can also relate to your comment regarding Dressing up, as it was part of the “Norm” to dress up – either going into Town, or to Church, to the Shops, to the Cinema, Theatre, Dancing or whatever. When my husband Peter was little their Family used to line up before going out and his Father would carry out an “Inspection” to see if their Shoes had been cleaned correctly, and whether or not they were dressed appropriately. There was a lot of Pride in oneself, ones Clothing etc in those Days. You also spoke of Robinson Deep Mine. When my sister and I were Girl Guides we often camped there, and I recall the water being warm where we swum. We also remember all the Mines you mentioned. Peter’s Cousin Brian lived on Nourse Mines, and he used to spend many Holidays with this Cousin, and they used to play on the Mine Dumps, and Slimes Dams. Also nice to hear that your Family are living in Kensington, and going to Leicester Road and Jeppe Girls which seem to still be outstanding Schools. Think we have all been so Blessed at being able to have had such a wonderful Childhood, and all have such Special Memories. Kind regards. Peter and Carol Billings.

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  14. Lorna Moir (nee du Preez)
    Mar 04, 2015 @ 21:08:30

    So exciting to read your memories. I went to Jeppe Girls in 1950. I lived for many years in Northumberland Road Kensington. I relate with warmth and joy to your posts. Later my parents (Du Preez) moved to Naiad street Malvern opposite the Hillcrest School where my sister Myra attended junior school. (She later went to Jeppe High)
    Myra later owned the Paragon Nursery School in Kensington. I lived in Kensington Mansion Roberts Avenue when I was older. I worked for JCI (Mining House) in Harrison street for many years. I married Harry Moir (ex Jeppe Boys) from Patrol Street and we now live in Florida, USA.
    The Regent, The Lancaster Tea Room, Jeppe Quondam, Weddings and dances at Kensington Hall, Inter school swimming galas at Ellis Park and walking home afterwards down Roberts Avenue. St Andrews Church. Dr Yudelman, Those trams. Jeppe High School flower show. The Kensington Castle. Great years.
    Rhodes Park Tennis Club, (Chilvers Dairy – they lived on our street.) I went on to do Ballroom dancing as a hobby (all those competitions at the City Hall) – What a wonderful life – I will be 80 on 17 March (this month) but when I read all this I am a teenager and a young woman again. Were are you all? Kathy Phillips.. wonderful soprano who worked with me at JCI – often think of her.
    – Love to you all and thanks for sharing your memories; they keep us young.
    Lorna Moir (nee du Preez)

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    • jean2371
      Mar 04, 2015 @ 21:38:31

      Thank you for your wonderful post, Lorna. I was delighted to read your memories of Kensington which are very similar to mine. As far as I know, Paragon Nursery School is still running in Kensington. Strangely enough, although things have changed a great deal and places like the Regent Cinema (where I first saw “Mary Poppins”) are no longer there, Jeppe Girls’ held their annual flower show a few weeks ago; Kensington Castle is still in Highland Road, although I believe nobody lives there at the moment and has a guard to prevent anyone getting into the grounds. I wish you and your husband everything of the best far away in Florida, USA, and hope that you have a wonderful celebration for your eightieth birthday in a few weeks time.

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    • Peter and Carol Billings
      Mar 15, 2015 @ 11:55:44

      Lorna. Thank you for sharing your wonderful Memories. Know it is a few days early but we wish you a very Happy 80th Birthday for the 17th March, and hope that you will be Blessed with many many more Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Birthdays. When you were at Jeppe it was the year in which I was born, so you were ahead of me. Not sure if you would remember Lynette Surtees at all? She also went to Jeppe, but I am not sure of her age, but do know that she was older than my Sister and I. She lived on the Corner of Kennet Street and Roberts Avenue, and they were our neighbours. She also had a brother Colin, whom I seem to recall also going to Jeppe Boys. The Surtees had an Engineering Company in Denver. Know that Colin took over when their father passed away, and he has Sons who will possibly carry on with the Family Business. It is wonderful to be able to share our Memories of having grown up in Kensington, and to make contact with so many people who have lived there over the years. Technology is amazing. We wish you and your husband all the best. Kind regards. Peter and Carol Billings.

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      • Pmarchl
        Mar 16, 2015 @ 16:58:02

        Thank you for the kind wishes for my 80th birthday which is tomorrow. My 84 year old husband, Harry, is not one bit interested in anything on the Internet, with the exception that he is showing great interest in learning anything of the memories from people who have lived in Kensington.

        We cannot recall Lynette nor Colin Surtees….. but the name Surtees sounds so familiar to us…… Harry says he does remember Clare and Bruce Sutcliffe though -(name association – also ex Jeppe High) these names just pop into our heads – We are going to be among the oldest who have memories of those days… so few may relate to some of our memories.

        We know exactly where Kennet and Roberts Avenue is located and for some reason we feel that over time we must have come across everyone in Kensington – We both lived there all our lives until 1992 when we moved to the USA

        We do not remember the Surtess’ engineering company in Denver, but my husband, Harry, lived in Patrol Street and his neighbour had Ainsworth Engineering in Denver (Alex Ainsworth). Alex was even older than we are – (we will be back to Paul Kruger soon – if Harry and I do not stop remembering too far backwards)

        I was baptised and confirmed in St Andrews.( I remember the Attwells well who lived opposite St Andrews – the youngest son – whom we called Buddy had a friend named Michael Colepepper who lived in Protea Street and I knew his lovely sister Felicity. (who became a nurse) Mr Attwell was of course Mayor of Johannesburg at one time. The older Attwell boy was an army chaplain and I remember him preaching a sermon one night at St Andrews and I seem to remember that he was in army uniform and he looked so handsome and he preached so eloquently. I know it made a great impression. (All Quondam people) Ahh that is another memory the Quondam club in Bedford view – any one have memories of that?

        I also attended, for a short while, Sunday school in a little church in Onxy St (?) opposite Rhodes Park. I also spent a couple of years at the Methodist Church on Roberts Avenue (up towards the boys school) God seemed to understand that we sometimes followed our friends around to different churches LOL. I also remember as a child playing on the front lawn in our Northumberland road home and watching all our Jewish neighbours walking by to attend Synagogue in Orion Street, I think I was not even conscious in those young days of the fact that their Sabbath was on the Saturday – nor did I seem to consciously wonder why they were walking – I remember only that I thought – they look so smartly dressed . The ladies looked wonderful to me – I also felt a great respect for them and as a child in those days we did not seem to approach our elders – so I do not remember talking to any of them as they passed – yet I could place them all and I felt “impressed” and secure.

        I think my younger Sister Myra (who subsequently started the Paragon Nursery School) learned ballet with Ivy Conmee in the Synagogue hall in Orion Street and the Kensington Hall. I went to Jeppe with June Elton who lived in Patrol street, Her mother played the piano for Ivy Conmee’s ballet classes. In fact it was June Elton’s mother who game me free tickets when I was 17 to attend a ballroom completition at the Johannesburg City Hall. (This started me on a ballroomm dancing path which lasted over many years and much fun in competion dancing)

        Oh dear this e-mail has just dragged on because memories came pouring out – Have a wonderful day and thanks for the fact that my husband and I have just had a wonderful chat recalling the past. And again, thanks for the kind birthday wishes. Hard to think we are now Americans – we will always be “Kensingtonians”

        Warm regards Lorna Moir.

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      • jean2371
        Mar 16, 2015 @ 17:08:03

        Thank you for more wonderful memories of life in Kensington, Lorna! We will be thinking of you tomorrow when you celebrate your eightieth birthday! We hope you have a wonderful day!Kensington at Jacaranda Time.

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  15. Peter and Carol Billings
    May 16, 2015 @ 15:42:37

    Hello Lorna. Sorry that I have not commented before but have only now been re-reading my Memories of Kensington, and we have also read your comments, which we found so interesting, and we are so happy that you wrote such a nice long mail. We hope that you had a very Special Birthday. Well once again we have found a lot to comment on. You mentioned Alex Ainsworth’s Engineering Company. Peter’s younger brother Rene had a friend Dudley Gunn who lived in Protea Street, and Dudley was Family of Alex Ainsworth. Dudley and Rene actually became Butchery Apprentices and Peter was their foreman, and taught them a lot about the Meat Industry. They were all together at Bedford Butchery, which was in van Buuren Road, Bedfordview opposite the Police Station. When Rene and Dudley felt they had learnt enough from Peter they went to work at the Butchery in the Lancaster Shopping Centre which was opposite Jeppe Girls High School. Sadly both Rene and Dudley have passed away from Heart Problems – Rene was only 49 years old, and Dudley was 50 years old. Dudley was actually working for his Uncle Alex Ainsworth when he Passed away. We also have very fond Memories of Jeppe Quandam. Peter was at Primary School with Brian Lane, whose Parents were the Caretakers of Quandam. I was friends with Joan Fisk, and her Father actually coached the Ladies Hockey Team, and wanted me to join the Club. My sister Alison Birch and I used to do Girl Guides at the little Church in Onyx Street that you spoke about. Lorna you also spoke about being at School with June Elton who lived in Patrol Street. Do you know what her Married name is? The reason I ask is that I have a Cousin who is round about your age, and she was very friendly with a June Harris who was a Member of St. Andrews Church, and she used to also sew the Jeppe Girls High School Dresses. June also lived in Patrol Street. If it is, I have recently spoken to June, as my Cousin wanted to get in touch with her again. You also spoke about being in Ballroom Dancing Competitions. Did you not know Peter’s Parents Kay and Gerald Billings as they too did a lot of Ballroom Dancing, and won quite a number of Competitions. Kay was a Wedding Dress Specialist, and she sewed for a lot of the Kensington people, including Mrs Yardley who had the Toy Shop in Johannesburg. The Billings lived in Ocean Street. Kay used to do Ice Skating when she was younger, and loved making all her own outfits, and did so too when they were doing Dancing. It is so amazing how many people we have made friends with basically by us all living in Kensington, which was a Wonderful Experience. Peter and I had lunch last week at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town with one of my Grade One friends. We were together at Jeppe from Grade One until Standard 8. Her name was Marilyn Bailey, and they lived in Minerva Street which was very close to Marathon Street and Rhodes Park. Marilyn, her husband and Family now live in Perth, Western Australia, and Dave had come over to SA to attend the 50th School Re-Union for Greys College in Port Elizabeth. Thank you once again for your comments. Have a wonderful weekend. Keep well.

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    • Pmarchl
      May 18, 2015 @ 01:56:49

      Hi Carol – Delighted to get your mail. Harry and I spent hours, again remembering and, discussing Kensington – He was born in Kensington and lived in that area until we left for the US in 1992. He is now 85) I lived in Kensington from the age of 7 until I left at the age of 57 for the US. I am now 80 years – but of course my fondest memories are of my days around Kensington. I was born at the Braemer Nursing home (I think it was somewhere near the border of Kensington and Malvern) Harry thinks that he was born in a Nursing home in Somerset Road – we read that someone on this site is trying to track down the name of that Nursing home – Harry just cannot recall it – tsk pity)

      A “loneliness” aspect of living in the USA is the absense of local people with whom to share common memories. Thank goodness I married a Kensington guy. Almost everything that others comment on or mention on this wonderful site stirs a fond memory. Re-reading through the many memories of others I read of someone “catching the F1 tram from the city to Kensington…. what a fun memory- I had forgotten that all important identifying number. One almost feels like a member of a most exclusive club – and we were. Kensington people were and I am sure, are still “very nice” people.

      Pity we cannot recall knowing Dudley Gunn – I knew Protea street so well – must have come across him – at that age just a couple of years difference, separates actual “knowing” as opposed to crossing paths.

      Was not familiar with the Butchery in Bedfordview but I certainly remember the butchery at the Lancaster center – all I can remember is that there were two of the nicest butchers there – I thought they were bothers – I wish I could remember their names…… (I am sad to hear that Rene and Dudley died at such a young age) Incidently my sister married Colin Schmidt (ex Marist Bros) (his dad Ernest Schmidt owned a butcher shop near the Gem on Op-de-Bergen street I think)

      The Lancaster Center was part of my life from my teenage years when I was at Jeppe including many years later when I had married.

      I lived in 17Northumberland Road until I was in my late teens and returned to that same house after we were married and had bought it from my Mom. At that time Et Meano lived over the road in 19 Northumberland Rd. He owned the Eldorade Bakery at Lancaster Square. Anyone remember that? – Wonderful pies and pastries.

      My first away from home living was at the Kensington Mansions on the side overlooking the Kensington hall . (This meant I heard a lot of bands and wedding celebrations, and Free Masons’s meeting proceedings) btw I remember reading on this site that someone used to walk to Rhodes Park with her mother and that she found the Park Groundskeeper almost frightening (paraphrasing) That had to be who we called Parky Webb – a stern old no-nonsense man who kept us all in tow and whom we all respected – I bet so many remember him fondly)

      I do not remember June Elton’s married name – I know when she was about sixteen she had a boyfriend named Dennis Greeff – I heard years later that she had married him : But I wondered about that – many people moved on from their early “romances” I wish I knew and that I could help you. The name June Harris is not familiar to me. I attach a picture of June Elton and I in a rowing boat at Germiston Lake (I think we were about 15 then) June is on the left.

      You mention Joan Fisk – I remember a Paul Fisk – he was from Jeppe – any relation? All I remember is that he took me to a wonderful event at the old Carlton Hotel (I think it was) It was an Officers Ball and he was dressed in Formal Army dress (he wore a kilt) and looked so great – wow vague memories – but that comes to mind.

      The names Kay and Gerald Billings are so familiar – cannot place them at this time. When I danced there were three leading studios in Johannesburg Jack Calder (where I was) Wells and Sissons (I think the best known) and Lou Rosenberg(?) …….. When I danced the Masons were South African Champions for many years. (I danced with Chris Gillespie).

      Harry and I both remember Yardleys Toy shop – Harry said he bought all his balsa wood there for model airplanes. (I did not know until now that my husband ever built model airplanes )

      The Jukskei river that divided Kensington from Cyrildene which we called the sloot. All those sanitary lanes in Kensington between the houses where we could so safely take short cuts.

      How interesting and wonderful that you had lunch recently with a friend from so early in your life. Ahh beautiful Newlands. Memories in common are a very strong bond. I had better not start on memories of Cape Town LOL

      I have just dashed this off in a most undisciplined and free flowing manner – forgive me – but so so much comes to mind.

      Anyone remember Bill Venter (he went to Helpmekaar) or his sister Beatrice Venter (who went to Jeppe Girls. Of course Bill Venter became such a successful Entrepeneur and Businessman and Harry worked for his company Altron Electronics….. Garry Player’s wife Vivienne Verwey went to Jeppe for a year or two? Anyone remember her? (I think most of you are to young.

      Harry has just said to me that is enough reminiscing now LOL Thanks that was fun – back to the now in Florida, USA – America seems a little less familiar all of a sudden! Lorna Moir (nee du Preez)

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    • Pmarchl
      May 18, 2015 @ 02:08:54

      Ooops – I lived in Roberts Avenue Mansions next to the Kensington Hall and not in Kensington Mansions – Lorna

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      • Peter and Carol Billings
        Jul 09, 2015 @ 14:50:52

        Hello Lorna. Many thanks for your comments. I have sent you an email, which you have hopefully received. Have a wonderful day further. Regards Peter and Carol.

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      • Pmarchl
        Jul 09, 2015 @ 16:29:18

        Hi Jean – The last e-mail I received from you is dated May 16 – I hope any later e-mail has not got lost somehow.? Have a good day too – warmest regards Lorna.

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  16. Helen Diggins Maskrey
    Sep 06, 2015 @ 18:40:00

    We lived in no 23 Onyx street. I have very fond memories of living in Kensington, I went to Leicester road primary road primary school for one year, That was in 1971. My mom is now 82 My dad passed away in 1981,Marge and Lionel Diggins.We lived next door to the Snoymans (25).

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  17. Kym John Thorburn
    Apr 01, 2016 @ 00:27:54

    Hi, he mayors of Johannesburg are referred to from the start of their term of office.. liked your article; His Worship the Mayor T.P. Gray office term was from 1940 to 1941, thus his Worships term is referred to as 1940. The 1941 Mayor was His Worship the Mayor A.R. Thorburn, whose term ending in 1941. Kindly, Kym John Thorburn

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  18. Lorna Irvine
    May 06, 2016 @ 03:03:58

    LORNA IRVINE NEE JAMES. How wonderful to read all these stories. Such great memories. I lived in King Edward St and went to school at Athlone. I had Sol Kersner in my class. My sister Shirley James went to Jeppe Girls High. My friend was Jill Schmidt the butcher near the Gem’s daughter and she married a chap who went to Marist Inanda and she introduced me to my husband Ian Irvine who also went to Marist. Ian s dad had the Germiston Service Station. Before we moved from College Street to King Edward, we would run over the steps at Jeppe Prep to go to the Gem Bioscope and to have milkshakes at the café on the corner and play the Jukebox. Take a tram ride down to Rhodes Park on an early evening and walk around the lake. (1956) I went to Victoria Methodist and remember the Barnes Family, the Learmonths, the Hansens. Mr Rindell mentioned above did the choir and was the sunday school superintendent. My husband went to Rhodes University and then worked for Consol Glass for 37 years. He also went to the 1960 Olympics with my brother in law, Malcolm Spence. We were transferred to Pretoria in 1967 where my son still lives. I live in Somerset West with my daughter. I remember too, Vivian Verwey, Gary Player s wife. Went to their wedding. Carol are you related to the Carol Billings who worked for British Airways. Fond regards, Lorna

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    • jean2371
      May 06, 2016 @ 09:54:17

      Hello Lorna, Thank you for your own fascinating memories of Kensington. I shall make sure that Carol Billings reads it. Kind regards, Jean.

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    • Carol Billings.
      May 08, 2016 @ 17:16:20

      Thank you for your comments Lorna Irvine. So nice to read your Memories. Wonder where about you lived in King Edward Street, as we lived at 152 Roberts Avenue which was a house away from Kennet Street. You mentioned that your husband Ian used to work for Consolidated Glass Works for 37 years. My sister Alison Birch and I used to be Girl Guides (26th JHB), and one of the Guides was Colleen Pitchers, whose Mother Sheila also worked for Consolidated Glass Works for many years. They lived in Stanmore Road. Perhaps your husband knew Sheila Pitchers? If you are on Facebook, and would like to join a Group about Kensington called “Kensington Kids” please send me a Message. Am sure you would meet other people whom you may have known from the area where you lived or else whom you went to School with. I note that you lived in College Street which was near Jeppe Prep. My sister and I both attended Jeppe Prep. My husband’s late Granny used to live in Cornelia Street. I am not related to Carol Billings who worked for British Airways. We do not have any other Carols in our Family. Sorry. I also note that your Maiden Name was James. There was a Dusty James who went to Malvern High, and he married Gloria who went to the Assumption Convent. They had a daughter Celeste who went to School with our Son Byrone here in Cape Town. Wonder if Dusty is any relative of yours? Have a wonderful evening further, and hope that you have had a Good Mother’s Day? Fond Regards Carol.

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      • Lorna Irvine
        May 08, 2016 @ 22:41:03

        Please put me on the Kensington Kids site. We were a few houses down from Roberts Avenue My father was the only son with 6 sisters, so not related to the James family you knew. I think I am a bit older than you. I am 79. Frank Braun was also mentioned in a previous post. His wife was my teacher in iunior school and he was the manager of the 1960 olympic team that my husband and brother in law were in. They were at my sister’s wedding to Malcolm Spence in 1962. Malcolm was the last South African to win a medal at the Olympics before we were banned from international sport for 20 odd years.
        I often wonder if someone will one day write a book about Eileen Billings.(Not Carol, made a mistake). She cut all ties to her nasty stepfather after her mother died and she joined B.O.A.C. and worked her way up from ground hostess to hostess to royalty only. She was not interested in getting involved with any man, think her stepfather put her off men. She was very beautiful with black hair and a fringe. She eventually was the BOAC hostess to the royal family of Brunei or Bahrein. One of the prince s fell in love with her but she was not interested. He gave her all manner of gifts including a pink Mercedes. When BOAC changed to British Airlines in 1974 she took a gap year and decided she would like to have a child so went the donor insemination route and had a little boy. She went back to work and had a nanny for the child. Then she met a very nice man and was thinking of marring him, she was still seeing the prince on all her trips to his country, but told him she was going to marry the new man. He flew to London to ask her if she would consider working full time for his airline with a huge salary and would she come out to his country and discuss it with the airlines. She went and was never seen again. The pink Mercedes stood in BA s garage for ages, the baby went into care and that was the end of the story. The boy would be 42 now.
        Kind regards,
        Lorna

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    • Lorna Moir
      May 27, 2016 @ 03:56:28

      Hi Lorna – Gill let my sister know that she would love to contact you (my sister is married to her brother, Colin) and here is her e-mail address which I have just
      received –
      gillianbail566@gmail.com
      Happ re-union
      Lorna Moir

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  19. Lorna Irvine
    May 08, 2016 @ 22:49:38

    I would love the email address of pmarchi – would love to find out more of Gill Schmidt the butcher s daughter. I see her sister married Colin Schmidt whose dad owned the butcher shop. Gill introduced me to my husband and she married my husband s school friend Lionel Gush but later they divorced. Don’t know if Colin Schmidt was Gill s brother or cousin. kind regards Lorna Irvine

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  20. jean2371
    May 09, 2016 @ 11:01:24

    Hello Lorna, The link to Kensington Kids on Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/341962815952537/ Click on the link and ask to join. We would all be delighted to hear some of your fascinating stories about life in Kensington.

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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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