The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation runs weekly tours usually on Saturday afternoons. What makes them special is that they explore interesting parts of Johannesburg, often include unusual places and spaces that are off-the-tourist-route, and they are often walking tours. They also sometimes do bus tours (like the Parktown Garden Tour on Sun 17th Feb and the Moerdijk tour on 16th March) and this year they have started restaurant tours: the Swallow Inn on 23rd Feb and the Troyeville Hotel on 23rd March. The tour information is unfortunately often quite superficial and descriptive and not very critically informed, but the tours are still well worth doing. For more information on all tours contact Eira Bond on 011 482- 3349 between 9am and 1 pm on weekdays. Or for further details of tours and directions go to the Foundation website: http://www.parktownheritage.co.za/quartprog.html or http://joburgheritage.co.za/ There are different rates for members of the Foundation and non-members.
Modderfontein: From Concession To Co-Operation Sat 26th Jan Modderfontein’s history is closely linked to the dynamite industry where the factory made explosives which were widely used in mining. In addition, many of the century old buildings are still in use today, including some with strong Anglo-Boer war connections. The tour starts at 2 at the Museum in Modderfontein. R70.00 for members and R100 for non-members.
Wits meets Braamfontein Sat 2nd Feb This tour is quite nostalgic for me – my old stamping ground: Wits School of Arts, Wits Theatre including the Nunnery, the Holy Trinity Catholic Church (the topic of many first year tutorials on church architecture!) and of course the wonderful new Wits art Museum. Science interfaces with the Arts in the Gate House, the Raikes building (Chemistry), the Oppenheimer Life Sciences building (linked via an overhead walkway to the old Biology block) and the 1920’s Physics building. The tour will be led by Prof Kathy Munro who was an academic at Wits for many years and has developed a keen interest in heritage buildings. Meet at Senate House parking
The Original Chinatown and The Swallow Inn Sat 23rd Feb This tour will meet at the Sunnyside Park Hotel (at 10.30 am), sort everybody into cars, drive into the City, park and walk around the area for about 1,5 hours and then go to the Swallows Inn. It sounds like a five to six course lunch, but simple Chinese-style, and it comes with a talk on the history of the Chinese in the area. This is another area that is very close to my heart as I researched it extensively when working on the history of the surrounds of the huge defunct industrial site, the Hudaco site (built by Hubert Davies in the early 20th Century).
Adler Museum, Wits Medical School Sat 2nd March This museum has collections depicting the history of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy and there are several reconstructions of medical contexts : an African herb shop, a patient consulting a sangoma, a 20th century Johannesburg pharmacy, an operating theatre, amongst others. Meet at 2pm outside Wits University 7 York Road R85.00 for members and R115.00 for non-members.
On 17th Feb (a Sunday), there will be a bus tour of Parktown and Westcliff giving a chance to ‘peep over the garden walls and view the lovely gardens one never sees from the road. A little history and gossip goes a long way towards a casual Sunday afternoon outing.’ Starts at 2pm from the Sunnyside Hotel R145 for members and R175 for non-members
Fordsburg – From Miners To Merchants Sat 9th March Fordsburg was integrally connected to the 1922 Rand Revolt during which the very new South African Air force attempted to bomb the strikers, but missed and damaged the Presbyterian Church instead. During the tour a plaque will be unveiled in the Market Square on the small public lavatory block recording the final battle of the Rand Revolt. This is the only original building still standing on the square from the 1922 Strike. Despite forced removals to Lenasia, Fordsburg survived as a vibrant community. It’s still the best place for excellent value Asian food. See Liz at Lancaster blog: http://lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/fifty-two-newsletter-writes-on-fordsburg-little-asia and http://lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/eating-out-in-joburg-indian-and-chinese The tour will include several old buildings and a visit to the Newtown Mosque, the site of Gandhi’s passive resistance campaign. Meet at the Oriental Plaza cor Bree and Main Streets, Fordsburg High Street Entrance No 3 (opposite Osbro Cash & Carry) Starts at 2pm; R70.00 for members and R100.00 for non-members
Monuments and Memories – The Architecture of Gerard Moerdijk Sat 16th March (the website gives the date as 16th Feb but am sure it’s the 16th March) Most famous (or infamous) for his Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, Moerdijk also designed the the Libertas building and the Hans Merensky Library both in Pretoria. Meet at the Sunnyside Park Hotel for 2pm R155.00 for members and R185.00 for non-members
Troyeville with lunch at the Troyeville Hotel Sat 23rd March Built in 1939, the Troyeville Hotel is famous for its Portuguese food. After lunch the tour will include Andrew Lindsay’s fabulous Spaza Shop, the Troyeville Park and one or two churches. Meet at 12.30 for the lunch at The Troyeville Hotel, 25 Bezuidenhout Street, Troyeville. The walk starts at 14.15. Cost R190 per person