Heritage Day on the Bluff

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EIS

Tel: 031 451 7700
Tel: 031 451 7700
  • Established 1987
  • Founded by Brothers Celes & Gino Da Silva
  • Been on the same premises for 30 years and Growing
  • EIS is a family run Engineering & Industrial Supply store
  • Servicing the Greater Durban with a second branch in Pinetown
EIS NOW
EIS NOW
EIS THEN
EIS THEN

GROBBIES

Tel: 031 466 2500
Tel: 031 466 2500
  • Started the Busines in 1993
  • Will be celebrating their 25th Birthday this year
  • Won multiple Cleaver awards 2009,2010, 2011, 2012 & 2016
  • Also won Multiple Southlands Sun Absolute Best Readers Choice Awards
  • Family owned Business Johan (Father), Ansie (Mother) & Werner Grobler (Son)
GROBBIES THEN
GROBBIES THEN
GROBBIES NOW
GROBBIES NOW

BY DUNCAN DU BOIS

Bluff life in early 20th century

THE recurrent theme in the Bluff Annals, compiled by the King’s Rest Women’s Institute in 1969, was the undeveloped state of the Bluff.
More than 40 old Bluff residents provided observations on life in the early 20th century.

Bluff residential development
The Bluff’s undeveloped state in the 1920s was such that the two main residential nodes – Fynnland and Wentworth – were regarded as separate villages as they were separated by bush and farms.

According to old timer SG Smith, Wentworth comprised of five untarred streets namely School, Ocean View, Winchelsea, Assembly and Donnelly. Following its incorporation into Durban, the Bluff’s informal, anything-goes lifestyle changed.

Eager to begin generating rates, the city began to implement formal residential development. Incentivising development was the provision of municipal water and electricity connections.

Plots between Island View and Lighthouse Road were surveyed and sold off for prices ranging from £30 to £80 per plot.
A brick-built, two-bedroomed house with asbestos roof, lounge, kitchen, diningroom, tiled bathroom and built-in cupboards sold for £275. After the war there was a building boom.

A three-bedroomed house with the same features sold for £750.

Lost in time

Lilian Singleton who lived on the Bluff in the 1930s remarked on the picturesque walks she took on Salisbury Island.
The mangroves were the home of thousands of birds. Unfortunately, when war broke out in 1939, the Admiralty took control of the island, limiting free excursion. That was when vehicular access to the island became possible with the construction of the causeway.
To minimise recognition of the Durban coast by enemy shipping, the Admiralty destroyed Cave Rock early on in the war. The renowned arched landmark was situated at the foot of the Bluff headland, to the right of South pier.

It was a popular destination for day trippers from the city, who crossed over on the ferry to picnick there.

In the 1920s the Askew family lived in a cottage built so close to Cave Rock that when the sea was rough, the window panes spattered with foam from the nearby waves.

Pythons were common in the Island View area of Fynnlands. Railway workers used to augment their incomes by catching them and selling the skins. Evidently there were several dairies on the Bluff. Jock Armstrong had a dairy in what is today Culbin Place. His door-to-door milk sales were carried out by one of his Indian workers who would dispense milk to customers from a large can using a pint measure.

Significant early Bluff families

ONE of the doyens of early 20th century Bluff society was Charles Pengelly after whom the flats in Peacehaven Place are named.

He moved to the Bluff in 1919, having lived in Johannesburg since 1895.

Actively involved in civic matters, he was Scoutmaster of the Bluff troop. When the Bluff was incorporated into Durban municipality in 1932, a plaque bearing Pengelly’s name was placed in the entrance lobby of City Hall.

John Jacob acquired the farm called Wentworth in 1880. Coffee was the main crop until disease made it unprofitable.

BY DUNCAN DU BOIS

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