Golden Crown

Battle of the Books – The Golden Crown versus 100 Years of Mining reviewed by Kathy Munro and posted on the website of The Heritage Portal and well worth reading.

“Crown Mines founded in 1909, was in its day a fabulously rich mine: it produced 80 tons of gold, but by the 1950s its reserves had been depleted so Von Ketelhodt relates how he searched for the original mining plans of the 1890s (located in the Johannesburg Public Library) to extend exploration and keep Crown Mines going. Crown Mines, the jewel in the Witwatersrand mining crown finally closed in 1976. The most interesting chapter of the book is the one on the efforts made to extend the life of the mine by re-opening old shafts, remining old stopes, reclaiming  old areas and reverting to primitive mining in outcrops”. 

Brenthurst Library

Kathy Munro visits one of the top libraries in the world!

 A visit to one of the top libraries of the world, the private Africana library of the Oppenheimer family, the Brenthurst Library (by appointment only) is more than a treat. For a bibliophile one feels as though one has had the happy experience of dying and being directed to heaven. Located off the M1, at the lower end of the grand Oppenheimer estate in Parktown, Johannesburg,  this distinguished library is all a world class private library could possibly be from the tranquil garden setting to the treasured volumes viewed on fine, eye level, wooden, free standing bookcases. The subdued lighting from shaded green library lights at comfortable tables is just right for reading. The attention to functional detail as well as the magnificent presentation of the collection of books, artworks and maps creates the perfect ambience of the ultimate gentleman’s library. The comparison has to be with the JP Morgan library in New York or the Chester Beattie Library and Museum in Dublin. I visited the library this week and needed to pinch myself to decide I was still alive and be reminded that Johannesburg indeed has some hidden delights.

Hannes Meiring

Battle of the Books – Hannes Meiring versus Hannes Meiring reviewed by Kathy Munro on the The Heritage Portal.

Hannes Meiring : My Country in Line and Colour - An Unconventional Look at South African Architecture. Fernwood Press, 2004.  Meiring was a fine architect who died in 2010.  He was a sensitive conservation and heritage professional.   Published some 11 years ago this finely produced volume is a compilation of many of Meiring’s architectural sketches and water colours.

Western Provincial versus Transvaal Republican

Battle of the Books – Western Provincial versus Transvaal Republican reviewed by Kathy Munro on the The Heritage Portal.

Western Provincial an album of Paintings and Drawings of the Western Cape, by Desiree Picton-Seymour and R I B Webster,  1952, Maskew Miller, Cape Town, 36 plates, 80 pages. This book was a collaborative effort by the artist (Picton-Seymour) and the author (Webster). The charm of this slender volume is that it captures in tipped in plates and scraper board drawings some of the architecture of the Western Cape .  It is an artistic and romantic gem.

Fietas, A social History of Pageview

Battle of the Books – Insider and Outsider view of Fietas/Pageview reviewed by Kathy Munro on the The Heritage Portal.

Nasir Carrim:  Fietas, A social History of Pageview, 1948-1988, published by Save Pageview Association, 1990.  Softcover, A4 size, 191 pages, illustrated, maps.   This book in its day was an item of campaign literature to Save Pageview from demolition and the ravages of apartheid social engineering. It was a sad and disgraceful story and the people of Pageview fought valiantly for their rights of ownership and a city presence for the Indian Community. Who wanted to move or be moved to Lenasia?

The Barnett Collection (Vols I & II)

Battle of the Books – The Barnett Collection (Vols I & II) reviewed by Kathy Munro on the The Heritage Portal.

The Barnett Collection A Pictorial Record of Early Johannesburg, published by the Star to commemorate the City’s 80th year (Johannesburg, 1966).  This  large volume of sepia toned photographs of early years of life in Johannesburg was such a success that it became volume 1 of the now much sought after two volume set.  The Barnett brothers, David and Joseph were photographers  of the town.  Their collection of over two thousand prints became a valuable and essential photographic record and resource of the emerging town and pioneering gold mining initiatives.

Memoirs of Early Johannesburg

Battle of the Books – Memoirs of Early Johannesburg reviewed by Kathy Munro and posted on the website of The Heritage Portal and well worth reading.

Johannesburg Pioneer Journals 1888 – 1909 edited by Maryna Fraser, published by the Van Riebeeck Society Cape Town 1985, Second Series no 16.  This is an elegant well presented volume and an excellent item of Johannesburg history.  The Van Riebeeck Society was well known for its reproductions of choice Africana diaries, travel books, memoirs and  biographies.  This volume marked the centenary of Johannesburg and brought to light four early eye witness accounts of life in the mining town between 1888 and 1909.  Charles Du Val was a theatre man, from an Irish family who settled in England. Du Val travelled through South Africa, performing, observing and writing about his experiences.  His series of four articles were published in “the Weekly Irish Times” in Dublin and give his impressions of life in early Johannesburg.