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A small group of old faithfuls was joined by Ward Councillor Bridget Steer who got stuck into tearing ivy off the gravestones with as much gusto as the rest. Johannesburg City Parks had rid the cemetery of robinea, which made it easier to spot bug weed and even ordinary secateurs lopped those branches off. We checked up on Mary Fitzgerald cutting back any ivy that was venturing close and made sure Thomas Douglas of Douglasdale stood free of weeds in the centre of the family plot.
We managed to reach Dr AB Xhuma’s grave and a volunteer from the Hindu Crematorium came and raked around it.


For those of you on our Stained Glass Window tour yesterday here are the photographs of what we missed no thanks to the Methodist Church Head Office which never replied to our requests to be allowed access to the Braamfontein Methodist Church in Rissik Street on Civic Hill

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Well done to Flo Bird and the members of the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation.

Rand Steam Laundries

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1. The dreaded beetle destroying oaks, planes, maples and many indigenous trees.

This is such a hideous threat to Johannesburg both environmentally and aesthetically. The possibility that we may lose hundreds of thousands of trees to the beetle is strong. In southern California the infected trees were cut down and incinerated. Joburg City Parks is lagging in taking action. They need to offer help and incineration facilities. Anyone driven along Club Street in Linksfield lately will understand why we are anxiously watching the great Oaks at Holy Family College and also at the Country Club Johannesburg.

2. Rosebank Library Park.

We were alerted by a Heritage Impact Assessment to the fact that the CITY OF JOHANNESBURG plans to demolish the Library and sell half the park for an upmarket development. The Library they say will go somewhere more suitable. COJ has already garnered over R10 million but from undefined Rosebank developers for parks. How come they are selling instead of buying them? Something is really rotten when you plan hugely increased density 12 – 20 storeys of accommodation – and sell half of one of Rosebank’s original Parks.
Sad to say though this dreadful plan started with the ANC in charge in 2008 it has the strong support of the DA! Instead of investigating who was going to make a small fortune from selling off Public Park not for economic housing, but for upmarket accommodation the DA has apparently supported it to the hilt. The park is said to be unsafe and unworthy due to the local drug dealers who inhabit it. What happened to the Metro Police?

3. EIGHT Blue Plaques have been erected in only two days. So watch out for Riviera Mansions in Riviera, Phoenix Place in Park Lane Parktown, , the Country Club Johannesburg, Trig Beacon Oxford Road just off the corner of Glenhove, Master Mansions in Ntemi Piliso, the Lutheran church in Doornfontein, Begbie’s Foundry Explosion in Anderson Street City and Suburban and the delightful Art Deco in Troyeville. This is our 5th plaque in Troyeville.


Digitisation project reaches 30 000 entries.
Diana Steele and her dedicated digitising team have made incredible strides. The index of their work is available on line to anyone but more information can be requested on payment of a small fee.



The entrance to the Jewish Cemetery at Braamfontein has been restored after a very drunk individual rammed into the wall destroying the one pier.

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Click here to open Chairman’s report and other documents:-

Operational Review Budget and Plan for the AGM_22 July 2017


Very exciting news: The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation are publishing the first 4 000 entries of our Archive Index Auckland Park, Berea, Bellevue, Brixton, Bertrams, Doornfontein and Forest Town. We know they are not complete so if you can assist with information and photographs please send these to Remember this project has only been made possible through a grant from the National Lottery Fund. 

People interested in obtaining further information from our archives are welcome to contact the Foundation at While members have free access to the material, there is a fee for non-members and organisations.

Go to Resources and Click on the Archive Index or just click here


Lindfield Victorian House Museum:

In Auckland Park has been given 5 star rating by TRIP ADVISER the only museum in Johannesburg to achieve this.

Congratulations to Katherine Love on maintaining this standard of excellence with no financial assistance from any municipal or government sources.
If you haven’t visited Lindfield then give Katherine a call and book a tour and tea. (011) 726 2932.

Ellis Park Hotel

Starting out as the Bertram Hotel in 1939  with Mr S Goldberg as the proprietor This was a very smart building. Beautifully lined horizontal  brick work – the slender half brick. This was contrasted with the strong plastered frames of the vertically banded windows. Designed by Margo, Breedveld and Margo in this elegant face brick  it would have attracted the passing trade as it was situated on the tram line, a brief 10 minutes from the City Centre.  However it also had table boarders – local people who were renting a room only. Usually they were bachelors or widowers.

Saul Margo had started the practice many years before and become friendly with the Sumner Family which was heavily involved with Chandlers Breweries. Margo designed a number of small suburban hotels for them including The Gresham which relies as does the Ellis Park on its fine brickwork for its stylish and very durable finish.  In 1938 Saul Margo admitted two young architects too his practice – his son Harold Margo and P Breedveld.

The drawings for this building have been archived. 

The name was changed to Ellis Park Hoitel in anticipation of a revival in bertrams for the Soccer World Cup.



The first St Barnabas College:  

St Barnabas College has been demolished.

Our Help was recently sought for a landmark property in Westbury – the old Western Native Township. It turned out to be Talitha House and Safety Place developed in 1935 and in 1962 St Barnabus College, the first non racial co-educational school of outstanding academic excellence. The PHRAG issued a demolition permit last year so we have appealed to Councillor Ros Greeff to adjust the proposed new buildings so that some of the heritage buildings can be retained and re-used.

Talitha Home & Safety House - click here

Survey for Barnabas Lease - click here

Talitha House - click here

Classrooms St Barnabas College - click here

Boarder's Building - click here

Other Buildings On Site = click here


News! How NOT to treat an Art Deco building

Wrapped in advertising for SKYY Vodka this little building in Braamfontein corner de Korte and De Beer is a very attractive art deco block. Built in 1937 and designed by Davids and Nestadt it is a three storey building which was recently covered in charcoal “porridge” – that revolting textured wall coating which covers all and conceals  much of the detailing, destroying the delicate shadow lines architects use to give buildings elegant definition. The claim that textured wall-coating stops water penetration is FALSE.  Far from protecting the buildings it actually enables water to build up behind its thick covering so that the damage remains out of sight but when i t eventually pops off is even greater.  

We have complained. Braamfontein has become a most attractive part of town and this building is just along the street from the historic Milner Park Hotel. We want it removed immediately. The City pretends to want action against all these illegal advertisements – hoardings, building wraps, posters slapped on everywhere for penis enlargements…. DO SOMETHING NOW!

Manchester Hotel

A slow and painful death for the Manchester Hotel. We surveyed that part of town in January 1913 and came upon this enchanting corner hotel built in 1897. The chops at ground floor were all occupied. In fact it was known by the name of the hairdresser which was on the corner – the original entrance no doubt to the bar. There were people living upstairs and while not in a state of 5 star elegance it was still attractive enough to gain a B grading and warrant further investigation. A year later PATMAR Holdings had thrown out the tenants from the shops and abandoned it to its fate. The scrap iron dealers had already started to remove all the pipes and the owners were applying for a demolition permit so they could extend and create a big building using this property and the one to the north.

We objected. The PHRAG objected. The City Council stood by helplessly as ever watching it grow worse and worse. Rubbish piled up and people lived on the rubbish. They threatened anyone who came near them.  One beam was pulled down and used for firewood and more of the building collapsed.

NO ACTION WAS TAKEN AGAINST THE OWNERS TO PREVENT THE DEMOLITION BY DECAY. THEY FLOUTED THE LAW AND THE HEALTH BY-LAWS AND HAVE ESCAPED ALL SANCTION.  Now they will soon have a clear site which is what they wanted in the first place. They certainly won’t be receiving their just deserts from the authorities.


Demolition has begun on the Rosebank Fire Station. Only the structures facing east will survive and a tall office tower will rise behind.  No drawings were shown to our joint Plans Committee but we understand the Rosebank Action Group saw the drawings and now PHRAG must have approved the demolition. Hope someone saves the wonderful 1930’s rainwater heads.

Rosebank Fire Station


Rand Steam Laundries rising again.

Moolman’s group plans a new shopping centre including the reconstruction of the old laundry buildings along Napier Road and the commemoration of the Amawasha site.




Orlando East tour revealed that the City is great at Capital Projects, but appaling when it comes to maintenace. We had a very happy tour along Mooki Street which would have been great had the Metro bothered to employee people to weed and repair buildings that are certainly worthy of Conservation.


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