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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 2015 - click to download word document else view it on-line under the Events section. Click to view the Newsletter.

Johannesburg Heritage Foundation Constitution

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STATUES ATTACKED: GANDHI ASSAULTED IN JOBURG

 

Press Release: The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation welcomes debate on heritage
13 April 2015


The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation welcomes debate on heritage, and in Johannesburg we are very proud not only of the effort made by the authorities to commemorate the past and particularly of the Liberation Struggle but also of the way they have handled transforming the past. A palpable example is the old City Hall, now the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. The Gauteng Province took what had been an elitist space and made into the most important place in the province for public debate. It is a pleasure to go to the old Council chamber when making a submission to a Committee, and feel the huge difference between the bullying and heckling witnessed against the one and only woman councillor, Dr Selma Browde, and now when we are welcomed, given refreshments and the Chair tries to ensure that those members of the public making representations do not feel intimidated, but an integral part of the process of government.

The old Transvaal Memorial Hospital, commemorating the white soldiers who died in the First World War, provided health care for white children but has now been transformed into the Children’s Memorial Institute, accommodating the NGO’s which serve children regardless of race: two crèches, the school for autistic children, the Teddy Bear Clinic.

Most moving of all is a visit to Constitution Hill where bitter and cruel memories are revived and violations of human rights are recounted so that ultimately when the visitor reaches the Constitutional Court there is a sense of catharsis, respect and pride in the huge achievement of the Democratic South Africa.

The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation likes showing off the varied heritage of our City. We have pride in the plaques we erected for Adam Asvat in Fietas – the man who refused to recognise the Group Areas Act and stayed put while bulldozers raged around him. We erected one to Rusty and Hilda Bernstein in Observatory, the Weinbergs and Harmels in The Gardens and restored the house of James Mpanza Sofasonke in Orlando East, the man who first invaded land and erected shacks drawing attention to the desperate housing situation. It was an effective protest. Sir Ernest Oppenheimer found the funds (refused by the government )  to enable to City Council to start building houses and to do so at an ever increasing rate.

We walk Fordsburg to talk about the struggle of the miners for job reservation and decent pay in the face of early death through Phthisis, and then the Indian community’s history of economic progress, Forced Removals and the struggle against Apartheid. We look at Bree Street School, the movie houses and talk of the obliteration of the houses for the Oriental Plaza and end the tour with the beauty of the Minaret of the Hamidia Masjid and the Gandhi sculpture which commemorates the burning of passes in 1907.

We visit Old Chinatown, another pioneering community which survives in the shadow of John Vorster Square. Their Indian and Coloured neighbours were all forcibly removed from Ferreirasdorp. Only one family escaped this purge.

Joburg has an enthralling heritage for its 129 years, layered and twisted much like the rock of the Witwatersrand. The gold isn’t found in nuggets, but in very fine grained conglomerate which needs to be processed and transformed to reveal its true value. Any attempt to simplify the narrative of our city’s heritage is unlikely to succeed.

For more information, please contact us on mail@joburgheritage.co.za

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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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PROTECTING PARKTOWN's MOST HISTORIC RIDGE

PARKTOWN EAST RIDGE CONSERVANCY AND PRECINT PLAN

A list of the significant buildings in the area and guidelines for conservation of the publiuc space, views, houses and allowance for development have been proposed and will be discusses

TUESDAY 24th of March 2015 at 5.30pm at Holy Family College, 40 Oxford Road (parking off Third Avenue)

The meeting will : Elect members for the Conservancy Committee. Discuss, amend and adopt the Precint Plan.

Press here for listing.

Press here for the Guidlines.

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JOHANNESBURG HERITAGE JOURNAL: NUMBER 4

The most recent edition is available by going to that page on our website. I enjoy the journals because this is all primary material  with touches of unconscious humour only time can add.

  • The 1918 Motor trip to St Lucia is almost unbelievable compared with today’s luxury travel.  Who dares to grumble about a pothole after reading this?
  • Sarah Welham has wickedly recounted an expedition into darkest Africa – the north-east side of Town – where we found not only traders and friendly people, but some fascinating buildings we would never have imagined had survived. St Margaret’s School by Baker and Fleming for the Sisters of East Grinstead! The Old Cinerama with the Eduardo Villa panel on the side. We didn’t go inside to check on the Cecily Sash – we had totally forgotten that.
  • Then William Gaul’s Melville Memories. I do hope it will inspire other old Melvillites to send us photographs and stories.
  • I loved Café de Move-on by Costa Phitidis about his grandfather. Searching the Museum Africa Archives Linda found BUILDING PLANS for two of these eateries on wheels. They were clearly taken very seriously indeed.

So enjoy reading it on line opr if you are very old fashioned and want a hard copy please e-mail Eira  on 011 482-3349 and arrange to collect one. Theyw ill definitely be avialable at the AGM. They cost R35 each.

Click here to open Journal V4

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Berea Fire Station

A small item, but one which needs attention because this is a fully declared Heritage Site.

The steel dormer window clearly replaced an earlier timber window. The old photographs show that this was originally a sliding sash.  We would like to restore this so that the lovely timber windows are all matching and consistent.

 

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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

Click here to open Johannesburg Listings in Excel

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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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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.

We have been sent the Latest requirements from PHRAG for permits and for nominations for heritage sites.  PLEASE CLICK on the Form below to down load  these. BE SURE TO USE THESE AS THEY ARE THE MOST UP TO DATE VERSION AND WILL SAVE DOING ANOTHER SUBMISSION

PHRAG Application Requirements or PHRAG Nomination Form

 

 “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

Click here to open Johannesburg Listings in Excel

 

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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 : 13/04/2015

 

 
 
 
 
 

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