I highly recommend the following sites on Johannesburg:
Johannesburg Heritage Foundation
Since starting the research, I have amassed quite a collection of rare and out-of-print books on Johannesburg. These provide the foundation for all my posts. Here they are:
Park Town 1892-1972 – Helen Aron & Arnold Benjamin 1973
Johannesburg Style – Clive Chipkin 1993
Magnates & Mansions – M. Barry & N. Law 1985
Johannesburg – Phillip Bawcombe 1973
Johannesburg Street Names – Anna H. Smith 1970
Treasures of the Africana Museum – Anna H. Smith 1977
All Under Heaven – Darryl Accone
Corner House – A. P. Cartwright 1965
Golden Age – A. P. Cartwright 1968
Barnett Collection – Volume 1 & 2 1966
Pictorial History of Johannesburg – Compiled by Anna H. Smith 1956
Early Johannesburg – Hannes Meiring 1985
A view from the Ridge – John Wentzel 1975
Out of the crucible – C. Hedley Chilvers 1948
Studies in social & economic history of Witwatersrand 1886-1914 – Charles van Onselen 1982
When Johannesburg and I were young – Juliet Marais Louw 1991
Lost Johannesburg – Arnold Benjamin 1979
The rand rush 1889 – 1911 – Eric Rosenthal 1974
Watershed Town – George Grant & Taffy Flinn 1992
Pictorial history of Johannesburg – Anna H. Smith 1956
A Johannesburg Album – Oscar I. Norwich 1986
Mervyn King Ridge Trail – JHB City Council 1986
South Africa’s Yesteryears – Readers Digest 1981
Johannesburg: Images and continuities 1885 – 1935 – Kallaway & Pearson 1986
Herbert Baker in South Africa – Doreen Grieg 1970
A very smart medal – Thelma Gutsche 1970
A city divided – Nigel Mandy 1984
Johannesburg – Ezra Eliovson 1959 (estimate)
Country Club Johannesburg 1906-2006 – Ivor Sander
The story of King Edward VII School – A. P. Cartwright 1974 (revised 1992)
Old Gold – Thelma Gutsche 1966
A history of Johannesburg – G. A. Leyds 1964
Just the ticket – Percy Tucker 1997
My own personal star – Brian Brooke 1978
Shovel and sieve – Eric Rosenthal 1950 est
Old bricks and mortar – Eric Rosenthal 1946
Seven builders of Johannesburg – Juliet Konig 1950
Remembering old Johannesburg – Edited by Claire Robertson 1986
They came to South Africa – Fay Jaff 1963
Souvenir of Johannesburg – Braune & Levy Early 1900s
Bleakness & Light: Inner-city transition in Hillbrow – Alan Morriss
more to come…
A note on the pictures on this blog:
Many of the pictures presented here are scans/copies from the books above. In addition, I’ve sourced a number of pictures from Museum Africa where I have paid for the usage rights for this blog. There are also many of my own pictures, some from readers and others sourced randomly from the internet. I have credited where possible but not always. Should anyone need to know the source of a picture where I haven’t credited the source, please feel free to drop me a mail.
Should there be an issue with a picture, please let me know and I’ll rectify.
Many of the newer original/updated full colour pictures are mine. I’m happy to share. Please just credit accordingly and/or link back to the piece it came from
I love your blog..
I used to visit the Johannesburg public library all the time as a child during the late 80s. I remember being fascinated by the framed pictures on the wall, most of which were of Johannesburg’s centenary celebrations in 1986. I remember I was in standard 2 at the time, so that would have been in 1989 and I remember wishing I could have been white so that I could have been present during those celebrations.
To cut a long story short, I fell in love with the history of Johannesburg and when I was a student years later, I would walk around town on Saturday afternoons when shopping rush quietened down so I could read the plaques on various buildings…
I was in Std 6 in 1986 and don’t remember any celebrations at all. I know they took place now from the books, but at the time I had no idea. Although I was fascinated by certain old houses and buildings growing up, it was only in 2010 that I really became acquainted with the history and am still learning more every day.
This is the most wonderful website. I am so enjoying looking at your photographs and reading the stories. Thank you. Family history is my hobby but my people are all British. My husband has South African family and I was searching for Turffontein where they lived at the turn of the last century and came across this wonderful site. Thank you!
Thanks Caroline! I’ll get to Turffontein eventually but keep a look out for the next piece on churches which covers some of the old buildings in the suburb (and others)
When I was a student at Wits in the 70s, I had a part-time job at the Roodepoort Municipality. The then Town Planner, Colin someone, had an autographed copy of Smith’s Street Names. Since then I borrowed the Rhodes Park Library copy a few times, until it got stolen. I’d love to get a copy, but I believe it’s difficult to find and probably too expensive for me….
It’s worth tracking down. Try Doran and Melville Bookdealers. He got mine a few years ago and I paid about R1500 011-726-4054
What an amazing idea to run this blog, Marc. I’llcontribute where I can sharing my limited knowledge, with the greatest pleasure. See the website herewith with digital copies of the historical SA Architectural Institute 1911-1942 journals – I run this site and I’m planning more developments. Regards, Janie
With regard to the Victoria Methodist Church, Jules Street, Jeppestown, a history of this church has recenty been published. It is in the ‘HISTORY OF THE JOHANNESBURG EAST CIRCUIT’ which was edited by James Massey for the Mehtodist Church of Southern Africa.
My parents worshipped and met at the ‘old’ Victoria Church, and I attended Sunday School there from 1943. On 28th March, 1954, the Valedictory Service was held, and the following Sunday the congregation gathered outside the Old Victoria, walked through the streets from Jeppestown to the new premises (only church hall built at that stage) in Main Street, Belgravia, just off Berg Street.
In the same volume is the history of the Bertrams Methodist Church, which was also founded in the early days of Johannesburg – 1896. My grandmother, a Rand Pioneer, was a founder member of Bertrams Methodist.
Thanks, Mavis. I did come across that document while researching the piece. It helped clear up some details.
cant get over your blog. there is so much that i didn’t know, and to read about it , is just amazing and to see the photos. thanks.
Excellent work. I love history and I’m also interested in my suburb of Robindale in Randburg. Is there any info on the history of Randburg? Even Blairgowrie would be great.
Thanks Grant! I’ll be getting to those suburbs in the future
I am doing my Mphil dissertation on adaptive reuse of old houses in Johannesburg and I am obsessed with your blog. I would appreciate an opportunity to interview you regarding my topic.
Hi Molly, thanks for reading! I’ve sent you a DM
Hi Marc I am wriiting the History of UJ’s four campuses, so your blog is helpful as they stretch from Doornfontein all the way to Soweto. Since you are in Melville, perhaps we can engage offline. Kindly send me your contacts (email etc).
Hi Dr. Moloi, I’ve sent you a mail.
Thank you Marc. Your blog has been helpful as I read up on Ferreiras Town and particularly the Malay Camp and the issue of the mosque site which according to your research is on stand 227. Some friends of mine believe and we will investigate this ….. that it stands on the corner of Alexander and Marshall Streets.
Thanks Yousuf! I believe the land is owned by the Mia Family Trust, but I’ve not been able to connect to anyone there. You may have more luck. Please let me know what you find out.