The shapes of inner-city Joburg shapes the inner-city Joburg.
A late afternoon drive down Harrison Street in the Johannesburg inner city helped me appreciate the beauty of the buildings that have been there since the 19th century.
Some buildings may look bedraggled and rundown but their beauty is still evident.
I don’t know which building is captured in the photos below, I searched the web and came up with nothing. I’m not sure if it’s Victorian or Edwardian architecture. It appears to be undergoing renovation. Che seems to this that it’s the City Hall but that is on Rissik Street.
Victory House (below) on the corner of Harrison and Fox Streets is a building “of great historical and architectural significance and is famous for having Johannesburg’s first ever lift…which had crowds gaping for weeks” and has stood since 1897.
“The lift was a technological marvel, complete with a safety apparatus; it also boasted a polished oak cage and an upholstered seat. The lift was supplied by R Waygood of England. An early letter to the lift firm references the employment of a caretaker and the purchase of a bag of coal to operate the boiler which worked the hydraulic lift. The total cost of the original lift, boiler and engine was 1020 pounds. The staircase was made of cast iron, also made in England it was the first fireproof staircase in Johannesburg” (Wikipedia).
88 Fox Street – I searched for information on this building and found a reference to it being the Equity Building but I’m not able to verify this right now. All I know is that it is in very good condition and the men’s outfitters, Lightbody’s, still occupies the ground floor. Che used to buy his pipe band gear there when he was in high school. This goes back a while, so Lightbody’s has been there, at least, since the 1980s if not longer.
Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and is the economic hub of the country. It was established in 1886 when gold was discovered on the farm. It’s also affectionally known as Jozi, Jo’burg, Egoli, and Joeys to us locals.
This is the city I grew up in, live in and at different times, worked in, so I have a soft spot for it. When I was at university I used to get off the bus at the start of the inner city and walk all the way to the bus terminus square where I caught another bus home, just so that I could absorb the city’s energy.
The population of Joburg is currently over 4 million people and growing each year.