The plans for this building date back to 24 August 1898 and it was evidently built before the Anglo-Boer War by J.R. Koller. A good description is ‘…more leisurely pace with its Victorian air, which is suburban rather than city-centred’.
Although mostly Victorian with a highly decorated roof line, there are also elements of Classicist ornamentation reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance.
As the name implies, the building was a chemist for well over 70 years. Its first owner was a Mr. Sanderson
About the spelling…some books have the ‘e’ and some don’t. The current sign on the building if you zoom in on the Picture below has it with the ‘e’. Some use the more common spelling ‘Osbourne’
Anyone who has driven around this part of town has no doubt come across the landmark that is the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
Designed by brothers Arthur and Walter Reid in 1899, the hotel was probably only built in 1902 due to the onset of the Anglo-Boer war. The design is late Victorian although it was built in the early Edwardian era. In its day it would have towered above the low line surrounding shops. Not far away, the Rand Tram ran diagonally across the township.
The following was written about the hotel by Daphne Saul in 1983 (taken from the Heritage Portal):
“The hotel was opened in 1899. It was first owned by a Mr Schlom and was known as Schlom’s Hotel. Then it was taken over by a Mr Lipson and subsequently by a Mr Cohen. In 1914 it was bought by South African Breweries. Miners from the Wolhuter Mine in the vicinity were regular customers.
The hotel boasts an elaborate neo-baroque facade in the style known as ‘beaux-arts’. It is the only surviving building designed by the well-known firm of architects at the time, the brothers Arthur and Walter Reid. It has floral mouldings, pilasters, pediments above each upper window and, to top it all, a leaden dome with bullnose gutter.
The bar of the hotel has a most interesting feature. This is a row of supports of carved wooden lions in the classic heraldic style. No one seems to know who thought of this embellishment, who carved the lions or who paid for them. Buffalo and buck heads are mounted on the walls and recall the time when it was used by the Masonic Club known as the Old Buffaloes.
In former times the hotel was called the Jeppe Rand Club by its patrons. The building was erected in a period of financial optimism which probably accounts for its opulent appearance and this notwithstanding the fact that the Anglo-Boer war was imminent at the time”
Sadly, the building is in a state of disrepair and the entrance doors and windows are currently bricked up. It’s very close to the revitalised Maboneng District so hopefully it’ll soon be restored soon and added to back to the city again.
I’m happy to report that since this post, it has been renovated. Check out 2Summers.net blog with some great then and now pictures here.
A relative latecomer to Jeppestown, the Synagogue was built in 1927. The central facade with huge arch window flanked by pillars topped with small domes is based on a tradition that goes back as far as the Temple of King Solomon. The Synagogue was designed by Saul Margo
Prior to this, the first synagogue in Jeppe was in Marshall Street. It appears to have been a Lithuanian Shul and built in 1903 and was in use until 1926 when it presumably moved to the new and bigger synagogue above. The original structure still exists and it looks as though it was cut in half by the expansion of the railway lines. I’ll need to get more information on this and timings around the railway additions, but it could make for an interesting story. The half building is now part of a marble factory. According to Artifacts, it was originally designed by George (Snowball) Laidler.
Jooste & Bryant’s Building
Designed by Waterson & Veale, this building was completed on 3 June 1906. It’s a typical example of Victorian excesses tempered by simpler Edwardian style. The cast iron balcony, roof signage and corner tower are all Victorian whereas the stark lines of the facade and lack of decorative gables and dormer windows are all Edwardian traits.
The building originally housed one of the few Afrikaaner businesses in Johannesburg. Jooste & Bryant were importers and distributors of brandy and other luxury goods.
Tram Terminus Building
Not actually in Jeppestown at all, this building from 1911 had appeared in two books as being in Marshall Street. I came across a different location on another site but that address was also incorrect (Cnr Jules and 17th street). After a little investigation, I eventually found it further up Jules street. It was probably where the tram line ended on that route.