A rare and detailed street map of Johannesburg from 1929

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Holmden’s Street Map of Johannesburg and Suburbs, compiled by The Map Office and revised and brought up-to-date by Norman C. Dickie. 1929

*Click on the image for an expanded view. The file is 17MB and very detailed so it may take longer to open.

1929 Map of Johannesburg

Holmden’s 1929 Map of Johannesburg

A few interesting points about this map:

~The red lines mark out the tram lines.

~Louis Botha Ave doesn’t start at Clarendon Circle (where Empire Road Starts). That part of the road south to the Old fort is still called East Ave. Where the road is now in front of the existing Brenthurst clinic, the Mason’s Hall, flats, and remaining Parktown mansion were once those properties gardens.

~Parktown as we know it now was completely different. Where the JCE precinct and JHB general hospital now stand were once turn of the century Victorian and Edwardian mansions. Several roads were lost in the 1970s like Connaught Road, St. Patrick’s Road, and St. George’s Road.

~There was once a road that cut through the zoo that is now gone.

~There was no M1 cutting through Parktown and Killarney. It roughly follows Oxford Road and then swallows a whole bunch of roads to the east including West Street. One can see the map is not entirely to scale when trying to trace the M1. It would be another 25-30 years before the highway would be built.

~Follow Oxford Road south to where it meets Jan Smuts Ave and one can trace the M2 going south up between Wits and the old showground and swallowing Graf and Wessels Streets in Braamfontein.

~There was no Barry Hertzog Ave as we know it. At the top end, it roughly follows Laurens Ave. The area where Milpark Clinic is today and north of that was all orchards.

~Westpark Cemetary, Mark’s Park, Emmerentia Dam, and botanical gardens are not there yet. Nor was Beyers Naude (previously D.F. Malan Drive) which used to be Main Road West & Mulders Road.

~Empire Road didn’t extend up to Kingsway where the SABC now is. That used to be Stanley Ave’s job.

~Aukland Park Sports Club & Racecourse is where UJ (previously RAU) and the hospital now is.

~The gasworks next to the Showground (the old Rand Show at Milner Park) wasn’t built yet. The old gasworks used to be in Newtown at the bottom of Diagonal Street

~There was no Sandton, Hyde Park, Craighall Park, Greenside, Emmerentia, Cyrildene, or Bedfordview yet amongst many others…

Special thanks to Gwyneth Thomas for sending me this map. She found it in a charity shop ‘for a pittance’ and had it scanned. She also dated the map by the car in the advert in the top left corner which is a 1929 Graham Paige.

This entry was published on April 25, 2015 at 9:49 pm. It’s filed under Johannesburg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

19 thoughts on “A rare and detailed street map of Johannesburg from 1929

  1. Merle jacobs on said:

    Always fantastic to find old maps of ‘JhB heritage’ thanks!

  2. Merle jacobs on said:

    Great stuff! Thanks! Great reference material!

  3. Brendan Swemmer on said:

    Thanks for posting. This is the only map I’ve seen showing the location of Ferreira Deep that was started by Colonel Ignatius Philip Ferreira, my second cousin thrice removed.

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Pleasure! He was also in charge of the Ferreira camp which was where the first fortune seekers to JHB set-up (the other was further east called Natal Camp in the vicinity of Jeppe/City & Suburban). Ferreira’s Town or Dorp is named after him. I’m told is roughly the area (and surrounding blocks) at the bottom of Simmonds Street where the big Standard Bank office now is or just further down depending on the source

  4. I am a tourist guide in Johannesburg. This map is just FABULOUS. Thank You for publishing this great bit of Afrikana

  5. Where did you find this map? I have an old picture of the Johannesburg Post Office in 1900. perhaps we could share some pics and info.

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  7. Jim Brown on said:

    Fascinating… I found the alignment of the south’s Rifle Range Road of interest. First, it ends at High Street in Forest Hill and doesn’t link through to Verona Street at Main Street. I see that High St used to be called High at its south end: it’s actually Carter St for half its length, changing name at Forest Street by the Forest Hotel. I used to live in Stamford Street, corner Carter (or High) and I see on the map that Stamford was called Forest St back then, ie there are two Forest Streets on the old map, one where it still is (Forest High’s northern boundary) and another that presumably changed name to Stamford. Also noted that where Forest High and Laerskool Voorbrand are, along with the reservoirs on the north side of Rifle Range at Koll, used to be a golf course…. long before my time.

    Second, look at the west end of Rifle Range… it doesn’t hit Kimberley Road at the Bara Hotel (which later became Uncle Charlies), but a bit north, I’d guess about where Shakespeare crosses now. If you look at a modern map, Rifle Range from about Sir John Adamson (Sirjies to us from the south) heads more or less due west, not slightly north as on this old map. The Bara Hotel on the map does show the fork, to Potch/Kimberley and Vereeniging, and before all the motorways were built, Rifle Range Road joined in there from the east too.

    If you look on Google Earth, the old Uncle Charlies can still be seen. The Cave Inn restaurant had a distinctive zig-zag roof and that’s discernible on the Google photos.

    Uncle Charlies was literally the “bottom left” corner of Johannesburg….

    Not shown on the map, but proclaimed around its printing, is the road we now know as Nasrec Road, from Uncle Charlies through to the Main Reef Road past Riverlea, described here: http://www.baragwanath.co.za/name/

    Thanks for posting this map. I just spend a wonderful hour or so reminiscing.

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Great insights! Thanks Jim. For me it’s fascinating trying to comprehend the suburbs before the M1 and M2 – especially Parktown, Killarney, Braamfontein and Doornfontein. I remember Uncle Charlie’s from when I was little. For the north there was Halfway House which is where Midrand is now.

  8. Jim Brown on said:

    I now live in a suburb called Reynolds View, not shown on the old map. It’s a tiny “enclave” at the west end of Roberts Ave in Kensington, on the south end of Doris Street. The area on the map there, to the left of Macdonald St, contains Reynolds View’s Reynolds Street and the Jeppe Prep school. Note that the school marked Jeppe High is of course Jeppe Boys, and the school further down Roberts marked School, is Jeppe Girls.

    My late father in law remembers the area where I now live and Jeppe Prep as being a quarry.

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  10. You refer to the M1 motorway as M2. It certainly changed the face of the City.

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  13. Jot Burke on said:

    As a matter of interest, what was used as the “centre point” of the 1, 2, 3 miles radius? The old Post Office?
    (Apparently Garmin GPS’s use Post Office points in “city to city” routing…..)

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Very interesting! I never knew that…In this case, yes, it’s the Rissik Str Post Office, but many early references are made using the old market square as the base. It just so happens the eastern border of the old Market square is where the Post Office is.

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