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Welcome to the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation

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Once the highest building in Johannesburg

Johannesburg was never a one horse town. The miners’ tents and tin shacks soon gave way to brick buildings. The first one was the gaol and it fell down. But within three years there were three storey buildings and the Gezondheitskomittee had appointed a building inspector.
The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation has grown from the Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust which was founded at a time when the bulldozers were knocking down houses by the dozen in Parktown for the hospital, for the park, for the College of Education and eventually for the office blocks. Legislation changed and most heritage houses are protected now in Parktown and Westcliff. We have been widening our scope over the last 28 years and finally taken the plunge and changed our name to correctly reflect the work we do.     
The City of Johannesburg has grown immensely and the task is huge, but there is a need for a proactive organisation ready to do battle and defend our City’s heritage. There is also a need to recognise that adaptive re-use is essential. We can’t hang on to every old building in this dynamic metropolis. Sometimes it will be Adapt or Die, but there are some places which are such treasures that it will be Beware! Treat it with the utmost care.

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SECOND QUARTER'S PROGRAMME

2nd Quarter Programme - Apr to Jun 2014 - click to download word document else view it on-line under the Events section. Click to view the Newsletter.

 

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News from the Heritage Battle Front:

FLEURHOF HOSTEL Formerly part of RAND LEASES GOLD MINE.

JHF was invited to comment on an HIA for an old mine hostel in Fleurhof. Rand leases Gold mine started working at the turn of the last century but the mine Compound or Hostel was enormous and probably only built in the 1940”s


Joburgheritage Entrance to Compound

Entrance to the Compound

Joburgheritage Compound

Compound

Joburgheritage Fleurhof Hostel

Fleurhof Hostels


All around it are brand new apartment buildings 4 storey walk ups and some tiny bungalows – bright and colourful. Really no signs of the old mine apart from the mine dam overlooked by a brand new school all in prefabs, the distant mine dumps, a few blue gums  and the large brick hostel.  We chatted to a few residents and they made it clear that there are no facilities nearby. Shops are a long way away over East  Main Reef Road, there is no clinic, no library, no crèche and just a few very small stalls inside the compound selling fruit, vegetables and cigarettes.

So we have lodged our comments – keep the hostel, honour the migrant workers on whom the City’s wealth is built, give the very new community some sense of the past and our roots and provide a mini-Melrose Arch – residential units, shops, shops and more shops, taverns, clinic, crèche, library. Make it buzz with a small open air market and don’t let cars into the huge square.

The photographs are not good because it was raining and we were shocked to find the demolition had started BEFORE the Heritage Impact Assessment had been undertaken but we have already received the assurance that the demolition was not done by the developers but by people stealing metal and that the developers do intend making this the heart of the community.  SO GOOD NEWS!

 

ULLMAN BROTHERS : INDUSTRIA
Driving back from Roodepoort we spotted this marvellous Art Deco factory building in Industria – right across the road from Croesus station. Looking a lot like the Hoover building in London  it was built originally for the Lion Match Company and designed by Herbert Jones and Richard Day of Cape Town  with K.E.F. Gardiner of Johannesburg . “Jazzed up classicism with windstream shapes” as Chipkin describes it  “it was dazzling. Visitors to Johannesburg  and local residents alike took drives out in the evening to see the great floodlit spectacle of Lion Match  - one of the principal sights of Johannesburg in its jubilee year.” That would have been 1936 when the City was celebrating its half century.

It was lovely to spot this wonderful building through the avenue of plane trees along Edison Street.  We simply have to organise a tour of  fine industrial buildings.

Joburgheritage Ullman Brothers

Ullman Brothers Pty Ltd

Joburgheritage Ullman Brothers

 

ADAM ASVAT’S HOUSE IN FIETAS
On Freedom ay we’ll be unveiling a heritage plaque to commemorate Adam Asvat , the founder of the Save P{age view Association. Adam was born in Sophiatown and when the forced removals started there he refused to be pushed 30 miles out of town to Lenasia and moved into a house in Fietas (Pageview) . When in turn that was declared a white group area and the residents were being moved out, he decided he had had enough. The roof was removed from their home in 11th Street, but with bulldozers all around them and the neighbours being packed off to Lenasia, he and his wife, Khadija, moved into a house in 12th Street before the demolishers could start on it. They sat tight and persuaded the other 66 families who remained to stand together. They fought through the courts to prevent the demolitions and stayed in their homes as walls were torn apart around them. Only in 1989 were they finally saved when F.W. de Klerk confirmed that the eviction orders against them would not be pursued.

 

MARSHALL STREET BARRACKS: Enough is enough!
17 October 2012, answering a question put by Anchen Dreyer, the Minister of Public Works told Parliament that R53.1 million had been allocated in the budget for the next financial year (April  2013-March 2014) for consultants and contractor for the commencement of rehabilitation works on the building. Total value of this project is estimated at R233.5 million over a period of three years for work on the Marshall Street Barracks. Certainly there is no sign of that money having been spent on the building itself which is still falling apart, bits of timber dentillated cornice dropping on the pavement in strong winds.  

We notice that the Public protector found that the funds for Nklandla came from two sources in the Department of Public Works. One was for  inner city regeneration.

WHERE ARE THE FUNDS FOR RESTORING THE MARSHALL STREET BARRACKS?

WHY HAS THERE BEEN NO PROGRESS ON THAT PROJECT OF WHICH THE MINISTER WAS BOASTING ?

 

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My name is Nick Walsh . I am exhibiting a collection of drawings the rich architectural heritage in the Johannesburg inner city. Some of them are well known blue plaque buildings, some are not well known or documented online , i select the one's for my artwork that catch my eye rather rather than of absolute historic importance. I have a full catalogue of pictures available but have attached an overview of the exhibition to give you an idea. I will greatly appreciate it of someone in our organization could assist me .

My exhibition opens at the Gordon Institute in illovo on May 29th and I will forward an invitation closer to the time and would appreciate it if you would place it on your website.

Heritage Exhibition Presentation

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A letter from Germany.

Post these days is a surprise in itself and a letter about a very special old building in Hillbrow is a joy.

Roger Lecucq who attended the “new” Deutsche Schule in Parktown, has sent pictures of the first Deutsche Schule dating back to 1891. Do enjoy them. Very romantic Bavarian- style architecture with masses of details and ornamentation. What a treasure it would be if we still had it today, but sadly it was demolished to make way for a tall office building north of the Friedenskirche bounded by Edith Cavell Street, Kaptein and Twist Streets. This was the office block we visited on our recent tour of Hillbrow where we were taken inside to see the Andre Huguenet Theatre.  

So if anyone can contribute information on the delightful old building and even more photographs and memories we would love to have them. The German community was very strong in Hillbrow with Café’s and Sausage stalls predominant in my memory but there was also a beerhall and dedicated young women who would report on police brutality during the apartheid era. In fact young German tourists still ask about Hillbrow so it must live on in the memories of their parents.

So keep the conversation flowing.    Who was the Architect?   Where are the old building plans. We have found the original architect’s drawings in Museum Africa’s collectiuon which we are busy catalaogiuing for the Museum and recording for ourselves. The Architect was JF KROLL and most of the buildings he designed with these flourishes and romantic plaster wrok have disappeared. So the drawings are even more treasured along with these pictures.  

PS We continue with the special architecterural legacy project which involves listing and cataloguing the drawings in the Museum Africa collection. They were being held safely, but without being catalogued they have been completely inaccessible. We’ll be publishing the lists for Parktown and Township Johannesburg very soon.  It is a major contribution from us with the assistance of GLH Architects and NO FINANCIAL SUPPORT WHATEVER from the City of Johannesburg. The City cares not one jot for its great asset Museum Africa.  SHAME ON THE DEPARTMENT OF ARTS CULTURE AND HERITAGE AND THE MMC.

More news about what we have found already in the next newsletter..

Deutsche Schule
Deutsche Schule
Deutsche Schule
Deutsche Schule
Deutsche Schule

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GREAT NEWS ON THE RAND STEAM LAUNDRIES SITE!!!

The Planning Committee of the City of Johannesburg has approved the rezoning of the site inclduing the requirement to rebuild the laundry buildings along Napier Road and to commemorate the Amawasha site.

VICTORY AT LAST FOR JOHANNESBURG’S HERITAGE.

So now we’ll be working with Imeorial to ensure the reconstruction of the buildings is as accurate and authentic as can be managed, bearing in mind that the laundries stopped operating in 1970 so there was another 40 years in which changes took place.

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Member's Tour - 18 to 20 October 2013

See Events Page

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Members' Tour to Kimberely

 

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Hand Over

Great step Forward: Handing over the assessments and data base for the heritage buildings in the Joburg City Centre.

GRADING THE BUILDINGS OF THE JOHANNESBURG CITY CENTRE

The first task the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation undertook after its establishment was to assess the buildings in the centre of town and publish these on our websites and, hopefully, also on the City of Johannesburg’s website.
Listing is the duty of the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority Gauteng (PHRA-G) but since they have shown no sign of doing this we have taken over the task. The City commissioned a number of excellent surveys on the City Centre, but they were never taken to next stage of assigning a value judgment on whether the buildings should be protected or not. We have used these reports by Dr Johann Bruwer as the basis for our assessment.
The ratings laid down in the National Heritage Resources Act are:

  • Grade I    National significance
  • Grade II   Provincial Significance
  • Grade III  Local significance

To distinguish the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation’s assessment from the official ones  Grades A, B and C have been used instead of numbers..
A = Outstanding heritage value – historical and architectural value such as the City Hall which is now the Gauteng Legislature.  This could also be one of truly exceptional buildings like Patidar Mansions.  DON’T TOUCH OUR TREASURES
B = Fine building. Beautiful and probably a good example of a period or the work of an excellent architect, with historical interest. It may also have landmark value such as Stuttafords   TOUCH WITH VERY GREAT CARE, AFTER CONSULTATION, AND DON’T EVEN THINK OF DEMOLITION
C= Good building, part of a significant group and probably contributes to street scene, but possibly only a façade.  DON’T TOUCH WITHOUT CONSULTING JHF. CHANGES ARE POSSIBLE, BUT DEMOLITION WILL BE RESISTED.
So click to get to the listings. Search under street address or stand number and township. The entries cover names or names of building, architect, date, original owner,  SG numbers and geographical co-ordinates. They also have additional information as to other forms of recognition – blue plaque or listing for the Johannesburg Centenary in the Johannesburg 100 and occasionally listing or declaration by the heritage authority.   
Issued September 2013

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Anyone altering a building over 60 years old needs help. So we have drawn up a list of consultants whjose work we have seen and which we cite so people can check for themselves whether they have done a good enough job.
Click to find them:

LIST OF RECOMMENDED HERITAGE CONSULTANTS

 

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Radio Today

HERITAGE TODAY! - A programme for all those who care about out old buildings. They can now listen to the podcasts by clicking on the link.

Tuesday mornings at 10h45                        Stay tuned.

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Johannesburg Coat of Arms

The small jam pot in our letterhead is not without meaning or to bring sweetness into your life.

It is the stamp which appears on the earliest Johannesburg Coat of Arms - the actual foot of the crusher which pounds the rock . There were different size stamps 6 pounders or 10 pounders.... the noise was simply unholy but the crushed rock went through the process and became golden sand on the mine dumps.

These tiny stamps are used on the escutcheon plates of the old City Hall and a stylized version is used to number the routes through the city.

So this is a tiny bit of Johannesburg we chose to decorate our logo.

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LOOKING AHEAD: SPECIAL PROJECTS

Did you know that:

  • BUILDINGS OVER 6O YEARS REQUIRE A PERMIT FROM THE PHRAG FOR ANY ALTERATION OR DEMOLITION
  • REZONINGS WHICH INVOLVE AMTERATIONS TO OR DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS OVER 60 YEARS  SHOULD HAVE A PERMIT FROM THE PHRAG
  • REZONINGS INVOVING LAND OF MORE THAN 5000 SQUARE METRES REQUIRES A HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT

To help you  in this process we have compiled a liust of architect for whose work in the heritage field we can vouch.

Click here to find our list of recommended architects to assist with Heritage Work.

 

 “A city without a past is like a man without a memory” warned Professor E.W. Mallows
 We need our old buildings to remind us of our roots and to measure our progress.

Contact us on: 011-482-3349  Weekdays (Mornings only)
                  e-mail : mail@joburgheritage.co.za 

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"We have made a start ...!"

Introduction to Listings and Assessments

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

 

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FRIENDS, CORPORATE MEMBERS AND SPONSORS

The Northwards Trust

     

picBarrow Construction

picHollard

picTransman

 

 

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Set up to retain the historic architectural heritage of Johannesburg Foundation Trust. The Trust tries to make this heritage accessible through tours of the buildings and the area, publications and special programmes for school children.

It is a fund-raising organisation and donations are most welcome.

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Last Edit : 22/04/2014

 

 
 
 
 

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