Jeppestown & Belgravia Pt.4 (Grand Station Hotel & Jeppe Post Office)

Grand Station Hotel 1896

Front of the Grand Station Hotel

Front of the Grand Station Hotel in 2012

Built to serve miners from the nearby Wolhunter mine, the building which still stands today, is one of the oldest and grandest. It had a close association with boxing and served as a soup kitchen and refuge during the 1922 miner’s strike. The building was designed by Reid & Williams who were also responsible for six other buildings between 1894 and 1897 (one being the second Masonic Temple in Plein Street)

Front of Grand Station Hotel early 1900s

Front of Grand Station Hotel early 1900s (before 1906)

Tram line subway in front of the Grand Station Hotel around 1910

Tram line subway in front of the Grand Station Hotel around 1910

Tram lines running under the train lines in Jeppe with Grand Central in the distance. Its the other side of the subway compared to the above picture and taken about 25 years later

Tram line subway with short side of Grand Central in the distance. This picture is the other side of the subway seen on the above picture and taken about 25 years later

Corner shot of the Grand Central Hotel 2011

Corner shot of the Grand Central Hotel in 2011

When looking closely at the pictures, be aware that the Grand Central Hotel’s position can be deceptive depending from which direction it’s looked at. There is a short and long side.

Most of the hotels interior décor (woodwork, fireplaces, delft tiles) was replaced in 1966 in order to comply with Hotel Board requirements. It was fondly known as ‘Norman’s Grill’ for many years and had a reputation of serving the best prawns in Johannesburg. Norman Gaffen took over the hotel from his father, Jacob Gaffen, after his death in 1938. Norman was 16 years old at the time! Jacob originally acquired the hotel in 1918 from Mr. Rabinson. The grill was still going in the early to mid 1980s – but I stand corrected on this fact.

Jeppe Post Office 1897

Jeppestown Post Office in 2012

Jeppestown Post Office in 2012

Although plans can’t be traced, it’s believed the Jeppe Post Office on the corner of Main & Gus Street was designed by Sytze Wierda of the Public Works Department. He was also responsible for Rissik Street, Fordsburg and the old Braamfontein Post Office as well as the three-story telephone tower in Plein Street. The foundation stone for the Jeppestown Post Office was laid on 15 December 1897 and it was completed about a year after the Rissik Street Post Office.

Jeppestown Post Office early 1900s

Jeppestown Post Office early 1900s

It’s one of seven public buildings that the Public Works Department of ZAR erected in Johannesburg. They favoured the Second Empire style combined with Dutch influence.

The Post office is on the right and Grand Station behind the vehicle on the tracks

The Post office is on the right and Grand Station behind the vehicle on the tracks

*Click on the photos for a larger and more detailed view

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This entry was published on July 21, 2013 at 11:15 am. It’s filed under Johannesburg and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

14 thoughts on “Jeppestown & Belgravia Pt.4 (Grand Station Hotel & Jeppe Post Office)

  1. Desiree on said:

    Fantastic photographs! Where do you find them? I’ve been to the Johannesburg public library to research the history of Braamfontein and they have absolutely nothing. Even the librarian was embarrassed by their limited supply of information.

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Thanks! I trawled Museum Africa for many and got them scanned to disc from the originals (about R50 per image). The postcards I found on the net but had to edit them because someone had put their name along the side. There is an out of print book featuring those postcards that I’m trying to get my hands on. The rest are from the various books I find or are pictures of pictures taken at museums and other places of interest. The recent ones are all my own. I photograph different parts of the city on an almost weekly basis using my iPhone.
      You’ll love the Braamfontein pictures I have! Some aerial views from the 40s as well as tons of old houses and buildings. I can’t wait to get writing those posts. Like early Parktown, early Braamfontein is oddly fascinating to me.

      • Desiree on said:

        Wow, info on Braamfontein sounds fantastic! Would love to see old photographs to give the research I’m doing for a book some focus. Anything you have will be greatly appreciated. Keep up the awesome job!

  2. Charles on said:

    Hi

    We are currently researching history of the Jeppe Prep School (primary school) In preparation for a 50 year reunion. There would appear to be no pictures of the old sand stone built school which was demolished in the 60’s. Have you perhaps in your research come across any pictures of the old school.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Charles Alfonso

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Hi Charles,
      I’ve not come across any old pictures of Jeppe Prep but will keep an eye out.

      Marc

      • Charles on said:

        Hi Marc

        Thank you very much.

        Do you perhaps know if we are able to find plans for the Jeppe family home built in Belgravia.

  3. Lovely Stuff

  4. Pingback: Short history on trams in Johannesburg | Johannesburg 1912

  5. Speaking of Braamfontein, do you have historic photos of the Wits University and the SAB building at 2 Jan Smuts?

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Hi,
      I do! They will be included when I do the Braamfontein posts. First one should be in about a week from now.

  6. Thanks for uploading the pictures. Do you have any more of around that area by the Grand Station hotel? I was looking for exactly this as it looks such an amazingly beautiful building. It is nice to try to find out how that area looked back then. It is such a mish mash of different things there now and just a ton of traders alongside. There are some really beautiful buildings in that area, and in Johannesburg as a whole, and that Post Office building on the corner is another of my favourites.

    I’m definitley going to be having a proper good look through this blog. Is there is a history society in the area at all? We are in Kensington.

    • Marc Latilla on said:

      Thanks Dave! I found a few plans of a long demolished hotel/bar that was around the corner. I’ll post them once I get the images from the museum

  7. Thank you for the interesting site, so many memories, I have to go back & read the article again, thank you, good to know there are people out there who are trying to keep the hiatory, culture of Johannesburg alive, Bravo !

  8. Mike Roebuck. on said:

    Can anyone remember who the barman was at Normans in the 1980s. He either was an ex boxer or played foot ball for an top U.K. team? . It was a favourite place for many pre rugby at Ellis Park . Lot of guys who had lived in Malawi, Zimbabwe, had some decent lunches their with Tom Van Vollenhoven when he worked for LHM .

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