This piece covers churches built up to around 1955 that are still standing. The first piece covered the ‘Lost churches’ and can be read HERE.
I’ve broken it up into two sections:
The first section covers those that are no longer used as places of worship starting with the oldest.
The second section covers those that are still used although the denomination may have changed over time. These are sorted by suburb and roughly by age.
I started this piece in January 2016 with a list of about 40 buildings. By October it had grown to 200 while doing the research. As there are so many, I’ve not been able to visit all of them. Also, many congregations are not e-mail savvy and numerous requests for information have gone unanswered. I’ll get to all of them over time, but please do share any information or point out any inaccuracies in the piece. New information will be added as it comes through.
SECTION 1: No longer in use
Presbyterian Church – Mint Road, Fordsburg (1897)
This building was designed by G. Fleming who was also responsible for the design of the Clifton Methodist church in Braamfontein in the same year. He designed his own house at 59 Kapteijn Street.
The church is currently a bakery and is structurally intact.
Lithuanian Synagogue – Marshall Street, Jeppestown (1903)
This is a recent find although I recall a industry colleague, Nic Burger, sending me a google screen shot some time ago about a shul in Jeppe that was cut in half by the railway expansion. Such a building does exist and still stands. Research has revealed that it was built in 1903 and designed by George (Snowball) Laidler.
It appears to have been replaced by the larger Jeppestown Synagogue in 1926.
The railway expansion took place between 1939 and 1940. The new dropped lines were installed on the inside of the old lines so requiring the building to be modified and others to be completely demolished. It’s not known what the building was used for at the time of the modification. The old lines were kept running while the new dropped ones were being installed. They were switched over on completion and the original train lines were removed and tarred over to become the road. The shell of the old shul is now part of a marble factory.
Old Wesleyan Methodist Church or Pienk Kerk – 24 Chatau Road, Richmond (1907)
24 Chatou Road was an old church on the border of Melville and Richmond that was converted into the offices of BRITZ & SCHOLES ARCHITECTS in 1978.
This building was chosen as an exhibit at the Pretoria University School of Architecture 50 year Alumni exhibition held at the Pretoria Art Gallery in 1993.
The citation from the award of merit panel of judges reads, “The grace and meticulous concern for detailing attribute to the fact that this building is one of the precious landmarks of Melville and Richmond. It can always be argued that it is fairly easy to recycle an existing building, particularly a building as fine as this former Methodist Church. The external facades, however, only provide a glimpse of the innovation and care with which the Interior has been converted. Even though the internal structure lends itself to a dramatic spatial experience, credit is given to the heightening of the drama through sensitive and sensible planning, the choice of contrasting finishes, the use of colour and the visual excitement created. This consistency extends beyond the physical boundaries of the building. The utilization of all the corners of the site is equally successful, as well as the necessary additions, in order to cope with the demands of any office environment.”
The building stood empty for a number of years in the early 2000s and was until mid-2016 an antique store. In its early days, it was also used by the Jewish community on High Holidays
St. Anthony’s Indian Mission – Sherwell Street, Doornfontein (1910 unconfirmed)
There is a semblance of a basic church hall behind the façade. Unfortunately, I can not find any other information on the mission.
In the history of the AFM (Apostolic Faith Mission) church, there is mention of the first service being held in a hall on 25 May 1908 before moving to the Congregational Church in Bree Street. In 1909 the AFM split it’s congregation, which was originally mixed, into white, black, coloured and Indian. This may have originally been an AFM Indian Mission church or ‘daughter church’ as they were known.
African Congregational Church – Lower Ross Street New Doornfontein (1910 & new building 1924)
The church is famous for the MVUYANA YARD (not one of the infamous Doornfontein slum yards) which was situated at the back of the church property. Legally married couples were housed in eight of the rooms.
Pastor Mvuyana, who the yard is named after, took over the church from 1917. It was originally a wood and iron structure from 1910 and the new building above was designed by W. Paynter and erected in 1924. The first pastor was Rev. MS Dube. Pastor Mvuyana then took over in 1917. The foundation stone reads: To the glory of God, The African Congregational Church (I BANDHLA LAMA AFRIKA) in the memory of the founding of the above church Sep 3 1917. This foundation stone was laid by Rev Gardiner Mvuyana President Jan 20 1924. It was used as a church up to the 1960s and the building still stands today.
Bertrams Synagogue – Kimberly Road, Bertrams (1915 unconfirmed)
Originally the Valley Bioscope, the building was purchased by the Lorentzville/Bertrams congregation in 1918. In 1923 it was altered and then consecrated in 1926.
The building ceased to be a synagogue in 1982 (and was deconsecrated in 1983) and is now a private residence. The original build date is unknown but John Bryce Ferguson is listed as the architect, presumably for the alterations in 1926. More on the suburb of Bertrams here. Also read Melody Emmet’s interview with the current owner here
Turffontein Synagogue – Hay Street Turffontein (1916)
This synagogue, designed by Saul Margo, serviced around 100 eastern European Jewish families until the 1930s.
This may be the same synagogue referred to as the Orphiton in the first piece. Coincidentally, there is a Hay Street in Orphiton but there doesn’t appear to be any sign of old churches in that street (including a Dutch Reform Church which still stands in Hay Street in Turffontein)
Gereformeerde ‘Dopper’ Kerk Johannesburg North – 97 2nd Ave Melville (1917)
This Church hall in 2nd Ave Melville was built in 1917 and served the conservative breakaway group of Dutch Reforms known as the ‘Doppers’. It’s foundation stone was laid on 18 December 1917 with a quote in Dutch from Matthew 16:18, but was removed at some point. The community also built a church on 1st Ave Melville in 1935 that still stands (more detail further down). The hall appears to have ceased being used by the church sometime in the 1960s . Since then it has been an antique store, a residence and since the early 1990s, an architect’s firm.
Johannesburg Central Zion church (English) – 70 De Villiers Street (1920s unconfirmed)
The building may have started life as a Norwegian Church that was previously a German church which was situated diagonally opposite the Rhodes House (which no longer exists) in De Villiers Street.
Another source (and the most likely) mentions a Baptist Church in De Villiers Street dating back to the 1920s designed by Howden & Stewart. What is known is that it was the headquarters for the Zion Church from 1941 and was purchased at less than market value. The building was known as the ‘Danish Hall’ at the time the Zion church rented it before the outright purchase. The Afrikaans congregation of the Zion church had its own little church in Booysens Reserve covered further down in this piece.
The architecture of this building mirrors many churches built in Johannesburg between 1898 – 1920. There are no unique features to identify or date it. The building is now a makeshift spaza shop and is dwarfed by the old Ster City movie complex which was built around it in 1969.
Apostolic Faith Mission Solomon Street Vrededorp (1920s)
This building was one of many AFM churches and halls that went up around Johannesburg in the 1920s. It became the home of Tom Kight Funeral home in 1981. It shares similar Flemish square-like roof flourishes with the Presbyterian church in Mayfair.
The building is currently abandoned and all attempts to get information on it have proved fruitless.
Poswohl or Mooi Street Synagogue (1921)
This building was designed by S.V. Mann (who also designed the Alhambra Theatre in Doornfontein) and built by K. Achber. The cornerstone of this neo-Byzantine synagogue was laid on 24 August 1921 by Mr. Abraham Leib Beinashowitz. Chief Rabbi Dr. J. L. Landau consecrated the synagogue on 11th June 1922. The building was erected by a community of Jews who emigrated from Poswohl in Lithuania to Johannesburg.
There are probably no examples in the world of a synagogue like this that was established by people from one small village in a city half-way across the world. The site was declared a national monument in 1981 and is currently a bar/pool hall. Interestingly, all the Jews who stayed behind in Poswohl Lithuania all died in WW II. It is believed to be the only monument in the world for the Jews of Poswohl.
Congregational Union of SA Church – Buxton Street, Doornfontein (1921)
Nothing is known about the architect, but this important historical building was once one of the few churches where natives could worship freely.
The house next door is also one of the few remaining tin houses in Johannesburg and probably the only one left in Doornfontein.
Methodist Church, 67 13th street, Orange Grove (1925)
Original plans indicate it was a scout hall but it was used as Methodist church first. The foundation stone was laid by Frank Raleigh on 20th June 1925.
It’s now a residential home.
Wesleyan Church Ferreira’s Dorp – Ntemi Piliso Street (Previously West Street) (1927)
This was built around the same time as the new St. Alban’s situated just behind it. There is no other information on this church except it’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Methodist church in Ferreira’s Dorp’.
The official name from the plans is ‘Johannesburg Wesleyan Coloured Circuit Mission Hall’ and it designed by D. Macdonald Sinclair.
Beit Hamedrash Hagodel or the Sherwell St Shul – Doornfontein (1931)
This was the third Beth Hamedrash in Johannesburg and was designed and built by Saul Margo. The first two were the converted house in Fox Street from 1891 and the second was the also known as the Fox Street Shul that was built on the site of the first.
The Beit Hamadrash Hagodel (sometimes also referred to as Beth Hamadrash Hagodal) was in use from 1931. In 1954 when it amalgamated with the remaining congregation of the Beth Hamadrash in Fox Street (which was demolished around 1947). It continued until the late 1970s and the building was sold in 1980. The money from the sale was used to fund the building of the Beth Hamedrash in Sandton. As with the Fox Street synagogue, Jews moved out of the area further north to greener pastures (which was Doornfontein at the time). The same thing happened in Doornfontein in the late 1970s when Jews left the area for Berea, Yeoville, Sydenham, Linksfield and Sandton.
Today the building is part of WITS Tech (or UJ) campus and is used as a rehabilitation centre.
Baptist Church Melville – 4th Ave Melville (1940s)
This current architect foffice used to be a Baptist church that was still in use in the 1960s. Thanks to Jane Gurney who pointed this out and also led to the discovery of the Doppers church hall on 2nd Ave. More info to follow.
Hermannsberg Mission Society Church Hall – Marshall and Alexander Street Ferriera’s Dorp (1899 or 1950)
According to some sources, the building dates back to 1899 and was originally a church – possibly the Hermansberg Mission Society church Hall. It was converted into the Casino Theatre/Cinema in 1951 for the Indian community.
It’s also been a furniture factory and is now an art studio run by Assemblage (www.assemblage.co.za) who kindly allowed me to take a few pictures. I could not find a foundation stone to confirm. The building is just off both the 1910 and 1935 insurance maps as the area was considered poor and uninsurable. If it is the 1899 building, it has been extensively modified from its church hall origins.
Yad Vesham Memorial Hall Barnato and Fife Street Berea (1954)
It appears this synagogue used to be a house dating back to the early 1900s. The current building was built in 1954 and is now a crèche and hasn’t functioned as a Jewish centre since the early 1990s.
It was built by the Eitz Chayim Hebrew Congregation who prior to this (from 1943) owned and used the Queens Hall in Claim Street until their new building was completed. Eitz Chayim is an international movement providing spiritual centres for Jewish refugees from Europe.
SECTION 2: Still places of worship (by suburb in alphabetical order)
Coloured church and school, 27 2nd Avenue (1912)
Established in 1912. Many of the coloured population were relocated in the 1960s and 1970s.
St. Hubert’s Catholic Mission, 70 1st Avenue (1919)
The mission was established in 1918 by Fr. C. de Hovre from the Lady of the Wayside Catholic church in Maryvale near Highlands North.
The original building was replaced in 1930. The church has long been associated with the struggle. It is estimated that here are 6000 Catholics in Alexandra today.
African Methodist Episcopal Church, 46 10th Ave (1933)
Founded in 1933, this church is a major landmark in Alexandra. It was a place of refuge during the uprisings and was used as a voting station in the 1994 elections.
Ethiopian Church, 9th Avenue (1945)
Opened by the right Reverend SM Macasela on 8th July 1945 according to the foundation stone which also reads ‘Christianity must conquer’. The Ethiopian church had close ties to the AME church in the late 1890s.
The reference to Ethiopia come from Psalm 68 verse 31: “Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God”
There are many other churches in Alexandra: St Engenas, the Zion Christian Church, the African Methodist Episcopal church, Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, the Oblate Mazenod Mission House, the Convent of St Angela, the Missionary Church, the Alexandra Baptist Church, the Apostolic Strangers of South Africa, the Alexandra Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Gereformeerde Church, the Full Gospel Church of God, the Christian Apostolic Church in Zion in South Africa, the Evangelical Church in South Africa, the Alexandra Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Assembly of God, and the Zion Combination Church of South Africa. I’ve only focused on the churches I can date and will add others once I have confirmation.
St. Peters Anglican Church, 8 Walton Ave
Church records for baptisms and marriages go back to 1907 and 1915. The foundation stone on the office building is dated 1960. Not sure if this is the same for the church.
St. John the Divine 1904, Fawcus Street (1904)
This church still stands in Belgravia on the corner of Fawcus and Scott Streets. It was designed by G. A. H. Dickson in 1904. The foundation stone was laid in the same year by Edith Grace Jeppe. The church was completed in 1905 and had alterations done in 1946.
St. Anne’s, Boom & Marshall Street (1906)
St Anne’s was founded in 1903 and was also the third Catholic Church in Johannesburg. Research points to this church being built in 1906 with J. F. Beardwood as the architect.
The current building replaced the original structure sometime after 1950.
School of the Berea Hebrew congregation, Tudhope & Doris Street (1921 & 1967)
There is some confusion with this building. One source states the first synagogue in Berea dates back to 1921 and was designed by Willam Paynter. Another dates the building back to 1932 having being designed by Obel & Obel, although I can’t verify this. The old shul was demolished in 1967 and the current building erected.
The only old picture I can find leads me to believe the 1921 information is correct based purely on the design. The new building is now home to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
Bertrams and Judith’s Paarl
Bertrams Methodist Church, 18 Carnarvon Road (1899)
This church opened on 14 June 1899 and seated 150 people. Services were disrupted by the Anglo-Boer war but continued in 1902.
The church was enlarged in 1902 and again in 1907 with further additions in 1911 and 1914.
A church hall was added in 1950 and opened on 22 September of that year. Prior to the church being built, the first service was held at a “Mrs Howard’s’ school in Thames Road in 1896. Thames Road today is made up of the Maurice Freeman housing estate which includes a social centre, houses and flats which were built in the 1930s after the area was cleared after being declared a slum.
Holy Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Gordon Terrace (1930s)
Church of the Latter Day Saints, Hunter Street (1950s possibly even later)
Bertrams Chapel, 41 Kimberly Road (1920s)
Valley-Observatory Jewish Congregation, 11 The Curve (1953)
The foundation stone was laid on 2nd August 1953. It is now the Yeshiva Gedolah.
Apostolic Faith Mission, 7th Ave & 189 8th Ave (1940s & 1977)
Some of the later AFM churches are very similar in design and structure to the Dutch Reform Churches. This is because the AFM, now with Afrikaans leadership, modelled its new churches on DRC lines.
Relations between the two bodies also improved, especially when AFM supported Apartheid, despite having a sister church with black, coloured and Indian congregants. This all unravelled in time.
Holy Angels Catholic Church, 32 Kitcheners Ave (1920s unconfirmed)
St. Michael’s, Boksburg (1911)
Designed by Herbert Baker in the Romanesque style. The church was consecrated in 1912.
Christ Church Boksburg, 48 4th Street (1940s)
All Saints Church, Frimley Street
House, 16 Chambers Street
Houses were often used for Jewish services provided that certain rules were adhered to regarding the formation of a minyan.
Many now established congregations started off in houses while funds were being raised and the shul was being built. This listing came from a Johannesburg visitors guide from 1950.
7th Day Adventist Church, 133 Nelson Road (Now Baptist church)
Afrikaans Zion Church, 73 Nelson Road
The current owners are not aware of its history and there is no foundation stone to verify.
The English Zion Church was in De Villiers street in an older church they bought in 1941.
Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 16 Steimens Street (1937)
More details of this church in the Braamfontein post here.
Holy Trinity Christ Church, Forest Road
Bramley Methodist Church, Silwood Road
Brixton & Mayfair West
St. Augustine of Hippo, 108 Fulham Road (1913)
This church was designed by Baker & Fleming with a low pitched corrugated iron roof, buttressed walls, small arched windows and air vents over central façade.
Wesleyan Church Brixton, 114 Caroline Street (1905)
Church hall with high pitched roof, air vents over main gothic style window and side entrance. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs Amos Burnett on 8th July 1905.
Alterations were done in 1925 by D. Macdonald Sinclair.
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (of Japan), 156 Fulham Road
The current parish has been using this church since 1987. The building was previously the Brixton Tabernacle and Full Gospel Church before that.
Gereformeerde Kerk, 67 Fulham Road (1931)
This church was designed by Nelly Edwards. It’s a gabled church hall with central doorway, pitched corrugated iron roof and added front lobby.
Dutch Reform Church Brixton, 43 Putney Road (1944)
This church was designed by Geers & Geers.
In the 1990s it became the main DRC church in the area after the other buildings were sold in the 1990s
Gereformeerde (Dopper) Kerk 35 Putney Road (1934)
This church is not far away from the DRC church and was designed by Gerhard Moerdyk & Watson in 1934.
The building was sold and converted (along with the clock tower) into a home. An early google pic above from 2009 shows construction. The community was not keen on the building being sold to another religious group.
NG Kerk Johannesburg West, Indra Street (1940)
Another Geers & Geers Dutch church similar in design to the one in Melville. It’s now used as a mosque. This is a block away from Caroline Street.
The church also had a hall that was a few block away in St. Gothard Ave. This hall has also been converted into a mosque (Masjid-E-Khair)
Apostolic Faith Mission Mayfair West, 90 Jason Street (1930s)
One of the many AFM churches. Mayfair West was a relatively new suburb with most houses and buildings were built from the late 1920s to 1940s. Plans below relate to extensions from 1938. A church hall was also added in 1975. This one is also just off High Street hence keeping it under Brixton.
Plans below relate to extensions from 1938. A church hall was also added in 1975. This one is also just off High Street hence keeping it under Brixton.
Churches in the city
Albert Street Methodist Church/Refugee School (1893 and 1915)
This was originally known as Wesleyan Native Mission and appears to have been a tin or iron clad structure dating back to 1893. The original foundation stone was laid on the 9th April 1893. The current building was built in 1915. According to the foundation stones, it was re-laid on 31 October 1915 by Prime Minister Louis Botha and Rev. G. Weavend. The church was shut down n 1958 by the apartheid government for being a ‘black spot’. It re-opened in 2008 under Bishop Paul Verryn and Central City Mission.
There is some chance that the small house next to the church hall has some heritage significance as it appears on the 1895 Insurance map and is one of a handful of remaining houses in the CBD and probably the only one left south of Joubert Park.
It appears that the original church and manse were badly damaged by a dynamite explosion in 1896. This may have been the Begbie explosion. The buildings were repaired within 6 months thanks to donor generosity.
St. Alban’s Church, Ferreirastown (1898 and 1927)
The current building erected in 1927 designed by Baker & Fleming replaced the original wood and iron structure from 1898. The church had a largely coloured congregation. in 1958, the Anglican Diocese, under Bishop Desmond Tutu, was based at the church. In the 1960s, much of the congregation were forcefully removed from the area under the group areas act and relocated. The church was restored in 2012.
The site is not far from the original Ferreira’s camp.
Christian Science Church Hillbrow (1909)
This church was at 55a Banket Street and dates back to 1909. It was designed by Kallenbach & Kennedy who also designed amongst others, the German club 1928 and Bijou Bioscope 1910.
According to the Christian Science Journal no.28, the first reader was Mrs Anna Catherine Wilks. Their reading room was in Sackes Building which has also been home to many church organisations over the years. At the same time, the Christian Science Society met at the Corona Lodge in Berea (still standing) and had their reading room in Livingstone building in Rissik Street. Not sure what the relationship was between the two, but there are currently three Church of Christ the Scientist churches in Johannesburg (covered in later suburbs)
Church of St. Constantine & St. Helen Greek Orthodox – Wolmarans & Nugget Street (1912)
Built in 1912 and designed by Hermann Kallenbach in the Byzantine style. It was the first Greek Orthodox church in Johannesburg.
The church is in immaculate condition and very much in use.
Wolmarans Street Synagogue or Great Synagogue (1915)
When the Park Street Synagogue was sold in 1912, a new site in Wolmarans Street was selected for a new synagogue. It was designed by Theophile Schaerer based on the selection of his winning design.
The foundation stone was laid by Sammy Marks in September 1913 and the building was completed in 1915. In the same year, the Witwatersrand Old Hebrew Congregation amalgamated with the Johannesburg Hebrew Congregation to become the United Hebrew Congregation of Johannesburg and the synagogue became known as the Great Synagogue. Before the split, there was to be a new second synagogue built in End Street Doornfontein. The split occurred in 1891 and the new building was only realised in 1904 due to the war. A foundation stone was eventually laid in 1906 but for various reasons, it was never built. On the 7th March 1915, the foundation stone was installed at the Great synagogue.
This description from Chipkin’s book “…a large domical shelter based on spherical geometry. It was at the shul building that Schaerer, the engineer-architect and late product of the age of eclecticism, was inspired to adopt Byzantine prototypes for the orchestration of volumetric space suitable in scale for a congregation of 1400 people and appropriate for Jewish ritual. A reinforced-concrete central saucer dome (with welted and seamed copper-sheeting), raised up on a cylindrical clerestory drum, is supported on pendentives between a series of giant arches which define the congregational space of the interior.”
Due to a dwindling congregation, it ceased to operate as a synagogue in the 1990s. The Sandton shul captured most of the remaining congregation. Today the church is headquarters for the Universal Church of God. The interior pictures were taken in July 2016 during a packed Sunday service.
Across the road and still standing is the old Hebrew School that dates back to 1910.
Hebrew High School Building – Wolmarans Street, 1910
Jewish schools were always linked to a synagogue. The first Jewish School was next to the De Villiers Street or Park Synagogue. The school moved to become I.H. Harris school in end Street Doornfontein.
Presumably, this school was somehow part of the Wolmarans Street Shul although predates it by 5 years. The building, designed by Kallenbach & Kennedy, was built for H. J. Isaacs (from the Johannesburg Hebrew Congregation). It had four classrooms, an assembly hall, cloakroom and committee room.
There was another Hebrew Day School on the corner of Kerk and Smal Streets dating from 1890 which may somehow be connected to either school. It was run by Bension Aaron who was involved with the JHB Hebrew Congregation especially around the Boer War. This Smal Street site today is taken up by the blue-glassed building that was once the Southern Sun Hotel.
Seventh Day Adventist Church – Claim & De Villiers Street (1917)
Roman Catholic Church – Heidelburg Road Village Main (1923)
This is a case of a historic building hiding in plain site. It’s situated just north of the M2 as it approaches Joe Slovo turn-off and can be seen from the highway.
Research shows that part of the Village Main mining land (on which the church stands) was transferred to the Catholic Church in 1923. The original church building still exists but the rest, which included a school, burnt down in 1950s.
Masjid Himayatul Islam – Nugget Street Mosque (Date unknown)
Designed by Margoles, Dukes (two brothers) and Smith.
Craighall Wesleyan Church – 4 Norfolk Avenue (Date Unknown)
St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church – 35 Lancaster Ave (Est.1948)
Cyrildene Synagogue – Adia Street (1952)
The foundation stone was laid by Mr Simon Finger on the 27th August 1950 and the building was designed by Margo & Margo.
Cyrildene had a strong Jewish community up until the late 1980s known as the Cyrildene-Observatory extension Hebrew Congregation. Although the suburb has since transformed into the new ‘China Town’, the Synagogue still serves a small group of Jews from the area and surrounds.
Denver Methodist church – Jules and Short Street (1927)
Services began at the Nourse Deep Mine early in 1895. The first church building was opened on December 17th 1898 in Sandberg Street, Denver (and the ruins may still exist).
A new church was built in 1905 in Crystal Street and designed by A. E. Till. This building was sold due to the area becoming more industrialised.
In February 1927 the existing church was opened on the corner of Jules St and Short St. The Sunday school hall was built in 1949. The Spes Bona Society is currently using the building.
Denver Talimul Islam – 33 Berlin Street (1920s)
I’ve come across this building before and suspect it was previously a bioscope or theatre.
Lions Shul – Siemert Street (1905)
The Lions Shul at 120 Siemert Road is the oldest surviving Shul in Johannesburg. It was built in 1905 (for four thousand Pounds) and named after the two cast-iron lions that guard its entrance. Morrie Jacob Harris was the architect.
The shul almost destroyed by a fire in 1930. It was completely restored although the process did alter the building slightly from its original form.
Evangelical Lutheran Church – Davies Street (1911 & 1926)
This started out as the Church of Sweden Mission. An old bakery on the site is converted into a chapel. It’s destroyed in 1909 during a freak blizzard.
A new church is built with the foundation stone laid on 25 September 1910 and the building completed in 1911.
The bell tower was built in 1926. The congregation was largely Zulu.
Dutch Reform Church Parsonage – Commissioner Street (1898)
The parsonage, designed by Fleming & Reynolds, was built in 1898 around the same time as the DRC Hall a few blocks away in Troyeville.
The hall appears to be have been a temporary church while the main building in Op De Bergen was being planned and built.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – Commissioner Street (1903)
Designed by Kallenbach & Reynolds in 1903
St. Andrews Church Hall – Fox & Mordaunt Street (1903)
This hall stands behind the church and is still part of the property. It was designed by Andrew Redcote Dewar.
Salvation Army Fairview Corps – 323 Comissioner Street (1920s)
Fairview Assembly Hall of God – 82 Ford Street (1940s)
St. Francis in the Forest – Cnr Talton & Durris Streets (1937)
This Methodist church was built in 1937. The grounds were previously a riding school and the original congregation started using the hall next to the stables in 1922.
A memorial hall was added in 1962 and classrooms in 1972.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – Queen & Oodendaal Streets (1905)
The original wood and iron church which probably dated back to the early 1890s stood in President Street and was moved to the current location around 1904. The foundation stone of the new church was laid on 15 March 1905 by Milner.
The church was opened on 27th January 1906 by the Second Earl of Selborne. Architects were A. W. Simpson and A. Le Gerche. The design is Neo-Gothic in style and similar to the DRC church in Troyeville. It had two spires but one was demolished for safety reasons.
St. Boniface – 133 Meyer Street (1910)
Sir Herbert Baker designed this church in 1908 and it was built in 1910. It was previously a wood and iron structure. The Anglican parish of Germiston was founded in 1897 but missionary work dates back to around Germiston and Johannesburg’s beginnings in 1886.
The building is typical of the Baker style and reminiscent of his work on St. Georges Cathedral in Cape Town and St. George’s in Parktown. It’s on one of the larger parish churches designed by him and also one completed close to his original plans.
http://marknelza.blogspot.co.za/2013/04/st-boniface-anglican-church.html has some great pictures of the interior.
Germiston Synagogue, Webber Street (1946)
Other churches in Germiston where the age has not been verified are St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, Herformde Kerk that looks like a Geers & Geers design in Kerk Street, possible DRC church in Victoria street, Methodist church in Lady Duncan Street and well as a church hall also in Victoria Street. They are all, most likely, late 1940s or early 1950s, although I suspect the hall may be 1930s.
Greenside Shul – Chester Road (1946)
The foundation stone was laid by Max Goodman on 24th November 1946 and the building was completed in 1947. It was designed by Gliksman, Dirksen & Adamson.
Prior to this, the congregation used the Parkview Scout Hall (where the first organised Minyan was held in 1938) and Redhill School. The congregation was known as the Parkview Greenside and Districts Hebrew Congregation.
Highlands North / Maryvale
Temple Shalom – Louis Botha Ave (1940s)
There is very little information on the history of this building. It was probably built in the 1940s. In the 1980s a political music concert was held there which points to it being part of the reform Jewish movement.
Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Church (1938 & 1959)
The original building was a convent built in 1904. The first service was held there on 8th September 1904. In 1918, the church opened St. Hubert’s Mission in Alexandra.
The current red brick church was opened in 1938. A convent school was added in 1939. On the 15th November 1959, the big main church was opened. In 1968 the Norwood Chapel of Ease was opened.
More here: http://maryvale.co.za/parish/about-us/
Maryvale is a small suburb between Orange Grove and Highlands North just off Louis Both Avenue.
Christ Church, Cnr Caroline and Twist street (1908)
On the corner of Clarendon Place and Caroline street is Christ Church. It was built in 1908 and designed by Gilbert St John Cottrill. He also designed St. Saviour’s in City & Suburban.
The building has been modified and added to over the years.
Lutheran Church, Twist Street (1912)
Friedenskirche or Church of Peace was built in 1912 opposite the German school using sandstone. It was designed by Swiss architect Theophile Schaerer and served the German community until the early 1980s. According to Konrad Vokes, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Johannesburg served all people irrespective of colour, race, nationality or descent and that the German language contingent of the congregation steadily dwindled to an insignificant number over the past three decades.
Divine services, however, are being held for German speakers at the German Old Age Home in Richmond.
It still stands and operates as a church as well as a community centre for disadvantaged Hillbrow residents. Its spire is still a striking landmark despite all the high-rise buildings. The church still stands as does what appears to be the minister’s house designed in 1936 by Werner Wagner, who was a junior partner with Gordon Leith’s practice from 1935.
Temple Israel, Paul Nel Street (1935)
The foundation stone of Temple Israel was laid by the then Mayor of Johannesburg, Councilor Maurice Freeman, on 22 September 1935, and the official opening of the shul took place on 23 August 1936.” It was designed by architects Kallenbach, Kennedy and Furner.
The Jewish Reform Congregation’s first home in 1933 was the still standing Queens Hall in Claim Street. They sold it in 1936 to an African Zionist Federation.
Central Baptist Church, Leyds Street (1950s)
St. Mary the less, Park Street (1889)
It’s generally agreed that this is the oldest remaining building in Johannesburg and is certainly the oldest church. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs. John Darragh on 10 September 1889 although services didn’t start until after Holy Week in 1891. In 1897 the church was extended eastwards by adding the chancel and sanctuary. In 1904 the porch and vestry was added followed by the organ chamber in 1908. The organ was built by British firm Morgan & Smith.
The present bell is the successor of the one sent to England in 1916 to be recast that now lies at the bottom of the Atlantic. It as returning on the Alnwick Castle which was torpedoed by the Germans during the WWI. It was replaced by insurance in January 1918.
With its diminished congregation, it still survives.
Jeppestown Synagogue, Mordaunt Street (1926)
The synagogue was built in 1926. 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.
It is now the Assembly of God Portuguese Community Church Templo Sede Ebeneezer J.H.B. I’ve been told that the original tabernacle from the President Street Synagogue is still in the building
United Pentecostal church – Ford & Marshall Street (1940s)
AFM Church Jeppe – Grace & Doran Street (1930s)
Kenilworth, La Rochelle and Regents Park
Apostolic Church – Donnelly Street (1920s)
Dates from the early 1920s and had alterations done in 1942
St. Paul’s Church – 161 De Villiers Street (1932)
Designed by John Shaw and typical cape Dutch and Germanic typology of early NDK churches popular at the time.
The building is mostly original.
Salvation Army Kenilworth Corps – Fraser Street (1920s)
Originally a hall owned by the town council, it was used for boxing matches in the 1920s and also by the Freemason’s in the 1980’s.
Assembly church of God – Lindhorst Street (1930s)
7th Day Adventist Church southern suburbs – Tramway & Bishop Street
The Adventist church movement was first organised in South Africa in the 1920s. By 1940 it has 3367 white, 599 coloured and 26 482 native members (according to the corresponding yearbook).
The church is now Assemblia De Deus and caters to mainly the Mozambiqueans living in the southern suburbs.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church La Rochelle – 9 5th Street (1910)
The church was founded in 1906. There are a number of buildings that form part of this church. Two appear to be from the early 1900s, one from the 1930s and the main church from the 1960s (which may have replaced an earlier church)
New Apostolic Church La Rochelle (1934)
The foundation stone was laid on the 31st March 1934 by Heinrich Franz Schlaphoff.
The congregation was formed in 1910 and used to run out of an old bakery.
7th Day Adventist Church, 6th Street La Rochelle (1920s)
Found this run-down building by chance. It’s not listed anywhere but was clearly built as a church.
The building, despite being modified, has very few architectural clues but probably dates to the 1920s.
Church of the Nazarene, 14 Bob Street Regents Park
The church is now called Nova Vida.
Second Church of Christ Scientist – 9 Blenheim Street (1927)
Designed by Cowin, Powers & Ellis. The first church is in Hillbrow in Wolmarans Street
St. Michael & All Angels – 23 Essex Road (1909)
The foundation stone was laid by Lady Farrar on 3rd March 1909.
Kensington Methodist Church – 90 Roberts Avenue (1924)
Sunday School was started in January 1923 and services in April of that year. The present church was opened in May 1924. There were extensions in 1929 and again in 1943 when the hall was built. In 1949 a larger hall was added.
There were further extensions and renovations in 1960 and 1992.
St. Andrew’s Kensington – Ocean Road ( after 1936)
Designed by Charles Douglas St. Leger and one of three churches he designed after returning to Johannesburg in 1936. The others were St. Dunstan in Benoni and St. Francis in Parkview
Kensington Congregational Church – Onyx Street (1950)
Kensington Hebrew Congregation – Orion Street (1940)
The foundation stone was laid by the president of the Kensington Hebrew congregation on the 26th November 1939.
There appear to be have been some additions at the end of 1950.
Christadelphian Church – Somerset Road (1920s)
The original church was in Academy House on the corner of Edith Cavell and Plein street which is now demolished.
Dutch Reform Church Paarlshoop, Marais Street (1899)
The foundation stone was laid on 28 March 1899 a year after the township had been taken over from the Paarl Syndicate. The inauguration was only on the 12 December 1902 due to the Boer War. It was designed by Kallenbach and built by a Mr Ford.
It was restored in the 1980s but evidently not very sympathetically. Many of the original flourishes and finishes are gone. It is now a Muslim school.
Linden & Victory Park
Linden Presbyterian Church – 52 5th Ave (1950s)
Dutch Reform Church – 5th Street (1936)
This looks to be a typical Geers & Geers designed church
St. Charles Catholic Church – 3 No.3 Road (1950s)
St. Patrick’s Anglican Church – Barlte Street (1904)
The church opened on 13 May 1904 and the first minister was Rev. WP McCormick.
Malvern Methodist Church – Hereford & St. Frisquin Street (1912)
In 1893 Sunday school was started in the Recreation hall of the Jumpers and Treasury Gold Mines. Regular services began in 1894, and in 1896 a wood and iron church was built on the mining ground. This was later sold to the Methodist African Mission. In 1912 the new Malvern church in Hereford Street was built and opened on February 8th 1913.
A hall was built for the growing Sunday School in 1924 (over 400 scholars in 1957). There were further renovations in 1972.
St. Mary’s Anglican Church – 55 Jules Street (1926)
This may be the church hall designed by Percy Rogers Cooke in 1926. It’s now a Church of the Nazarene. No foundation was found to verify the date.
Malvern Shul – 76 St. Frisquin Street (1931)
Funded by the Malvern & Denver Hebrew Congregation, the foundation stone as laid in August 1931 (possibly on Sunday 23rd) by Miss Golda Twersky in memory of her father, Mr Simon Twersky, who was meant to lay it but died suddenly. Present were the Mayor and Mayoress of Johannesburg, Rabbi Rosenzweig and (later) the Chief Rabbi Dr J. L. Landau.
St. James Presbyterian Church – Mars Street (1936)
Started in 1914 with services at the Star Bioscope. In 1915, a corrugated iron building known as the ‘Tim Temple’ became the Malvern & Denver Presbyterian Church. Over time, the congregation grew and a new church was built in Mars Street. The foundation stone was laid on 24th October 1936 and the doors opened on 27th March 1937.
The church was designed by Horace Fyvie. The building was sold in the late 1970s when the church moved to Bedfordview.
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church – Mullins Street (1936)
Designed by founding Father Pierce in 1935, the church opened in November 1936
Christ Church Mayfair – Park Drive (1897)
Built in 1897 on the Crown Mines Land through the efforts of the first rector of the parish, Rev. R. H. Bellamy. It is only one of only a few Pre-1900 churches still operational in its original form.
The bell tower was added in 1971.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church – 25 Langerman Street (? Est 1892)
Established in 1892, it appears only the tower remains. Church was closed in 1997 after being declared structurally unsafe.
The date of the original church build is unknown.
Methodist Church Mayfair North – Oxford & 4th Avenue (1920s)
Apostolic Faith Mission – 112 6th Ave (1940s)
Salvation Army Mayfair Corps – 126 8th Avenue (1940s)
Methodist Church Mayfair – 8th Avenue & Church Street (1920s)
This building on the corner may have originally been the church. No other info exists.
Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk – Bellona Street Mayfair West (1940s)
This church is now a Hindu temple and appears to have been taken over in 2012. No records found yet on the original build date.
Mayfair Synagogue – 11th Ave (1928)
Designed by William George Lansley in 1928, it’s now a mosque.
Presbyterian Church and hall – 9th Avenue (1932)
Designed by Gordon Leith. There is a listing for a double story manse from 1903, but this is no longer there. The 1932 church may have replaced it.
Melville Methodist Church, 4th Ave (1912)
The foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Pretoria in 1912
Dutch Reform Church (Gereformeerde ‘Dopper’ Kerk), 1st Ave & 3rd Street (1915 & 1935)
The original church on this site (of which I’ve not found a picture) was built in 1915 and may not have been a Dutch church. It was replaced by the current building in 1935 which was designed by P. S. Dykstra LIA. The original ‘Dopper’ church hall in Melville was built in 2nd Ave in 1917 and still stands.
Nederduitse Hervormde Kerk, 4th Ave (1939-41)
One of many Dutch churches in the area designed by father & son team Geers & Geers.
Apostolic Faith Mission, 6th Ave (1930s)
Another suburban branch of the AFM church group.
Newville Methodist Church, Shortmarket & Anzac Street (1920s)
The church is now a Pinkster Kerk
Apostolic Faith Mission, Newlands Road (1940s)
St. Alban’s Liberal Catholic Church, 3 Observatory Ave (Unknown)
7th Day Adventist Church, 2 11th Street (1949)
This church was erected in 1949 and designed by D. M. Sinclair.
St. Luke’s Orchards, 18 High Road
The original church was built in 1907 and designed by Baker, Masey & Sloper. In 1917 the priest’s vestry was built, in 1920 a brick vicarage was built as well as an extension for the organ.
In 1951 the parish hall was built and in 1956 the church tower, gallery and vestries were added.
Pageview & Fietas
Islam was the predominant religion in the area. Both the ‘Malays’ and ‘Indians’ were Muslims and as such, each group had their own mosque and followed their own customs. Both mosques and communities were central to the entire suburb.
23rd Street Mosque (1914 & 1936)
This is the ‘Malay’ mosque (connected to the Cape Muslim community) established in 1895. The existing original structure (ruins still standing) was erected in 1914. Built next to it, the current mosque dates back to 1936.
15th Street Mosque Talimul Islam Mosque (1948)
This ‘Indian’ Mosque opposite Brixton Cemetery appears to have been built much later around 1948 although sources point to it being built in the early 1900s.
Methodist Church, Kruis Street (1920s)
St. Anthony’s Mission, Kruis Street (1920s)
Parktown North Methodist Church, 7th Avenue (1910 & 1938)
Dating back to 1910, this was one of the smallest churches in the Transvaal measuring 20 feet by 2 feet. It appears a new church went up in 1938. Await more details.
St. George’s Church, Sherborne Road (1904 & 1910)
This church began as a parish hall whose foundation stone was laid by Lord Milner in 1904. It was designed by Baker, Masey & Sloper in the Norman style and built by John Barrow. In 1910, Baker was asked to design the chancel and campanile. Like many of Baker’s buildings, the exterior is of koppie stone. The roof was covered with broseley tiles made in Craighall Park. Further work was done in 1963.
The first church designed and built by Herbert Baker in the Transvaal was the Church of St. John the Divine in Randfontein in 1904.
Also by Baker are St George’s at Cullinan from 1904, St Michael’s and all Angels in Boksburg from 1911, Christ Church of Christ in Arcadia from 1906, Cathedral of St. Alban in Pretoria from 1905, Church of the Holy Trinity in Turffontein 1907, St. Boniface Church in Germiston 1910, St. Michael’s Church in Sunnyside 1908, St. Peter’s Church Krugersdorp 1903-5.
St Mary on the Limpopo, Clarendon Place (1953)
The church was built on the site of the old deanery of St. Mary’s Anglican Cathedral. A garage stood where the chapel is now.
‘On the Limpopo’ was added in 1982 after it was found that a tributary of the Limpopo runs underneath the church. The roof is slated and the window frames and doors made of teak. The altar crucifix is in the memory of Dean Palmer, after whom the adjoining flats were named. The church is hidden between Brenthurst Clinic and the flats.
St. Francis of Assisi Anglican church, Tyrone Ave (1922 & 1942)
The church was founded in 1922 and was connected to St. George’s in Parktown. The church hall was started in September 1922 and completed in May 1923. Baker & Fleming may have been the designers. A rectory and chapel were added in 1927.
The foundation stone for the new bigger church was laid on 25th April 1942. Due to lack of funds, it was smaller than intended. This was rectified in 1957 with further enlargements.
Third Church of Christ the Scientist, 69 Roscommon Road (1925)
Built in 1925 and designed by Gordon Leith.
St. Columbia’s Presbyterian Church, Lurgan Ave (1926)
Also by Gordon Leith, this church dates back to 1926. It’s across the road from George Hay Park
There are two Apostolic Faith Mission churches dating to the 1940s in Ferndale (York Ave from 1943) and Fountainebleau (Hester Street).
Oxford Shul, 20 North Avenue (1949)
Oxford Synagogue was founded in 1943. Negotiations for the presently developed two-acre site at a purchase price of £15,000 was in progress, and a deputation of founding members received the blessing of the United Hebrew Congregation to proceed with the purchase. In the following year, the first High Festival Services were held in the large Tudor House, by then partly converted into a small synagogue accommodating 400 congregants.
Rev. Yesorsky and his family occupied the rest of this large house until mid-1947, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. Rozowski. The former owner, Mrs Davis, had conducted a Nursery School in the converted stables, but as soon as the property was purchased in 1944 the Oxford Hebrew-English Nursery School was established in its place.
Five years later, in 1949, building operations on the Hall commenced. This Hall was then used as a Synagogue to accommodate 800 worshippers. The foundation stone was laid on the 4th May 1949 by Dr. William Nicol who was the administrator of the Transvaal at the time.
In 1954, two extra acres of land adjacent to the Synagogue property and facing Riviera Road were purchased. In August 1961 the foundation stone to the Synagogue proper was laid by the late Hon. Justice S M. Kuper and the foundation stone to the small Synagogue by Chief Rabbi Rabinowitz.
The official opening of the Synagogue took place in August 1962.
St. Martin’s in the Veld, Croadock Avenue (1913)
Baptism and marriage certificates date back to 1913.
Immaculate conception Catholic Church, Keyes Avenue (1935)
Designed by Brendan Clinch and built in 1935.
St. Mary’s Anglican Church, 114 Albert Street (1904)
One of the first churches in the area and designed by Herbert Baker using natural stone.
The church marriage records start at 1904. Later additions were also done by by Baker & Fleming.
Victory Dream Centre, 114 George Street, (1920s)
This church hall with cape style gables is on the same property as the current AFM church and dates to the 1920s. It’s not known what kind of church it started out as.
Rosettenville Synagogue, 198 Prairie Street (1929)
Designed by Obel & Obel in 1929. The foundation stone was laid on the 31st August 1930 by Sam Kruger, Esq. It’s still a protected building today although little is left of the Jewish community in the area.
Methodist Church, 140 High Street (1930s)
The designer of this simple Methodist church is unknown, but it dates back to the 1930s.
Apostolic Faith Mission, 192 Bouquet Street (1933)
This may have been the original AFM church in the area. It was designed by B. Du Toit and the original plans date back to 1933. The façade has been greatly modified since then. It is now the S.O.S. Africa Ministry Assembleia de Deus Nova Alianca Sede Internacional.
Rosettenville Methodist Church, Mabel & Lily Road (1937)
The foundation stone was laid by Mr C.H. Leake on 12th December 1937.
There are two buildings which make up this church. It’s now known as the Revival church and Papillon Development Centre
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Verona Street (1948)
The foundation stone was laid by the Rt. Hon. G. Brand Van Zyl, Governer General of the Union of South Africa on the 22nd May 1948.
AFM Church, 118 George Street, (1940s)
This appears to have previously been a Dutch Reform or NG Church very much in the typical Geers & Geers style. Given the connections between the AFM and DRC, It’s possible the AFM took over as the Afrikaans congregation dwindled.
Rouxville / Highlands North
Rouxville Baptist Church, Main Street
The church dates to around 1947 and has links with the Alexandra Baptist church.
Sydenam-Highlands North Shul, Main Street
The congregation was founded in 1941, but it wasn’t until 1943 that the hall was built. The piece of land already had a thatched house which was turned into a nursery school.
The current building was opened on the 4th December 1955.
Little Church in the Pines, Stella Road (1925)
This is the oldest original building in Sandton. It opened in 1925 and was partly built by Oom Rooibard Miller who was an early resident of Sandton on land donated by Obermeyer family who had ties to Sytze Weirda’s family.
Sophiatown & Albertville
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Bernard Street (1929)
Archdiocese of Johannesburg parish church built in 1929 by Father Ives Saccadas, O.M.I. to serve the communities of Sophiatown and Martindale.
Church of Christ the King, Ray Street (1933)
Designed by Fleming and built in 1933 with the bell tower added on 1936. Father Trevor Huddlestone was the famous anti-apartheid rector (and priest of the chapel of Mary Magdelene in the church of Christ the King) until 1955 around the time of the forced removals in the area.
Besides a few churches, there are only two houses in the area that escaped destruction by the government.
Omega Church, Main street Albertville (1920s)
Pinkster Kerk, Meyer Street Albertville (1930s)
Nederduitse Hervormde of Gereformeerde Kerk Waterval
This was a late find only by chance driving through the suburb. It matches a church from another source that was labelled as being in Turffontein.
It was designed by Moerdyk in 1926 and the foundation stone was laid on the 14th July 1928
Baptist church, Op De Bergen Street (1897 & 1911)
Originally this was a wood and iron structure erected in 1897. The current building dates to 1911 and was designed by Mr Monsborough.
An EJ Wellman is also mentioned as the architect from another source.
Dutch Reform Church Hall, Princess Street (1898)
This is the oldest original church building in Troyeville. It was designed by Fleming and the foundation stone was laid by FW Reitz in October 1898.
It was used as a temporary church while the DRC church was being built and then resumed its role as the church hall. In 1920, the Malvern Afrikaans school opened on the premises. In 1923 the east DRC bought and used the hall until the 1950s. It was declared a national monument in 1985 and is currently a Presbyterian Reform church. Interestingly, there was also Dutch Reform Parsonage built on the corner of Commissioner and Corrie Streets in 1898, presumably for the ministers and staff of the DRC. The parsonage, which still stands and is a fine example of a home from that era, was designed by Fleming & Reynolds.
Dutch Reform Church, Op De Bergen Street (1906)
The foundation stone was laid on the 7 May 1906 and the church officially opened by General De La Rey in January 1907. This Kallenbach & Reynolds designed building was declared a national monument on 9 March 1973.
It was designed in the shape of a Greek cross to fit the plot of land. The building is still owned by the DRC and is currently used by Faith and Victory in Jesus Christ Ministries.
Troyeville Spiritualist Church, 5 Princess Str (1937)
Established in 1937, this was the first spiritualist church in Johannesburg. It appears to be have been represented by a Mr and Mrs L Lloyd, the former also listed president in 1948. An entry by Lloyd in the Spiritualist Centenary book says the religion was practised as early as 1899.
An earlier president was L. Rothchild. Other members included the fascinating Baroness Lotte Van Strahl and her husband. She was known as the ‘Girl with the X-Ray eyes’ and could somehow ‘read’ items belonging others and give descriptions of the owners using Psychometry. It’s now the Divine Foundation Church.
Mana Igrega Crista Church, Andries & Clarence Streets (1943)
This was originally the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk Kensington Gemeente (even though it’s Troyeville). The foundation stone was laid on the 4th December 1943. This building is in the typical Geers & Geers style of Dutch churches from the time although there is no indication that they designed it.
Jubileum Kerk Saal, Corrie Street (1957)
This is now an Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa branch. The hall was part of the DRC family.
Reformed Church of SA (Eglise Dela Bonne Nouvelle), Pretoria Street (1951)
This church design is in the style of typical Geers & Geers Afrikaans churches of the 1940s although this one was designed by Moerdyk & Watson.
The foundation stone was laid on the 16th June 1951. The Reformed Church was a breakaway church from the original Dutch Reform Church. It is now home to a Portuguese or Mozambican church.
Turffontein Congregational Church, De Villiers Street (1906)
The church was established in 1897 with the building, designed by Robert Howder, built in 1906.
The foundation stone was laid by the Mayoress of Johannesburg Mrs J. Quinn on the 6th January 1906.
Church of the Holy Trinity, 136 Hay Street (1907)
Built in 1907 and designed by Baker, Masey & Sloper. It’s one of several Baker churches that still exist but the only Baker structure in the suburb.
It’s a simplified Baker design in the gothic vernacular.
Gereformeerde Kerk Johannesburg Suid, Hay Street, (1930)
The foundation stone was laid P. C. W. Grobler on the 13th September 1930. The church was designed by H. Rowe & Rowe and has a strong Cape Dutch connection via the gables.
St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 98 Tramway Street (1930)
Designed by Charles Smal in modern eclectic style and built in 1930. The foundation stone was laid by John Orr on the 22 February 1930. The congregation dates back to 1905.
Methodist Church, Church & Bishop Street, 1938
Designed by Mann & Joubert in 1938, it looks more like a deco power station than a church. The foundation stone was laid by Mr T. A. McGuffie on 19th November 1938.
The Edgar Price Memorial Hall adjacent to the church was built in 1950. The church is still Methodist but is known as the Imvana Trinity Methodist Church.
Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk, President Street (1944)
Designed in 1944 by Geers & Geers in modern ‘gemeente’ style with Dudok influence.
Holy Family Catholic Church, 58A Garden Street (1950)
Designed by A. J. C. Voorvelt in 1949 and built in 1950.
Church of Christ Turffontein, Bertha & High Street (1952)
Another Geers & Geers church although later than their other churches. This is not designed in their typical style probably due to it being for a non-Dutch congregation.
St. Savior’s Anglican Church, 10 8th Street (1895 or 1912)
Baptism records go back to 1897 and a rented room was being used in 1911. It’s currently part of the Jam Hofmeyer Community Centre and is used as a kitchen and diner.
The site claims that the church was built in 1897, but I’ll need to verify. Baker is incorrectly listed as the architect on one of JHF documents. He designed St. Saviour’s in Claremont, Cape Town, in 1903.
NG Kerk Vrededorp, 1st Street (1932)
It appears to have started as a Dutch Reform Mission church established on 2 March 1932 and was linked to the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk. The hall was built first followed by the parsonage on the corner some years later, and then the tower.
Leith is listed as the architect, but I can’t find proof. The premises are now a Brahmin temple and the original hall is still standing.
Dutch Reform Church, Cottesloe (1935)
This famous DRC church on Cottesloe ridge was designed by Gerhard Moerdijk in 1935. It has a striking Cape Dutch style façade and tower.
He, along with Gorden Leith, also designed the new Park Station in 1927. Moerdijk also designed the Voortrekker Monument in the late 1940s.
Apostolic Faith Mission, Stafford Street (1930s)
7th Day Adventist Church Westdene, 102 Aberdeen Road (1930s)
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk Westdene, 4th Ave (1938)
The foundation stone was laid on 15 October 1938. The adjacent hall had its foundation laid on the 4 September 1943.
Nedersuitse Hervormde Kerk Westdene (Johannesburg West), Tenby Street (1949)
The foundation stone laid on 12th March 1949. There is also a hall across the road, and although the foundation stone is not dated, Geers & Geers are listed as the architects. They may have designed both buildings.
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, Francis street (1905)
The original church is attributed to Grainger and Fleming in 1905. The Sunday school dates back to 1913 designed by Stet and further work in 1922 was by Stucke & Harrison.
St. Aiden’s Yeoville, Dunbar Street (1913)
Dates from 1913 and was designed by Waterson & Veale who notably also designed the still standing Jooste & Bryant building in Jeppe as well as the demolished Murray Gordon Mansions which once stood on the hill in Westcliff.
St. Aiden’s is in the Arts & Crafts style. The steeple was added by F. L. H. Fleming in 1937 who also designed the St. John’s College steeple around 1927.
Yeoville Synagogue, Hunter Street (1936)
A JHF document lists this synagogue as being built in 1922 and designed by Allen Wilson. Other research points to the establishment of the Adass Yeshurun Synagogue and Reform Synagogue in 1936 that catered to the new German Jews (see more below).
The building is certainly 1930s in design and from various reminisces, was the centre of Jewish life in Yeoville between the 1930s – 1970s. It’s now a Pentecostal church.
Mikvah Adath Jeshurun Shul, 34 Fortesque Street and Hunter Street (1936)
This shul (which could be mistaken for a house), also in Hunter Street, appears to have also catered for German Jews, but of the orthodox variety known as Herschian tradition. These were made up of a small percentage of German Jews that managed to escape Nazi Germany between 1933-1937 to Johannesburg. They may have initially founded the big Yeoville synagogue and later, members may have left to spread this orthodox movement.
There was a trend of setting up small circles of higher orthodox learning often in houses and homes around Johannesburg which this shul appears to be part of. According to ‘Community and Conscience: Jews in Apartheid South Africa’, the congregation didn’t have a rabbi for 17 years and ran independent of any Jewish affiliation for 30 years. This points to these two congregations being different but more research is needed to confirm the connection.
St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Muller & Cavendish Street (1934)
Established in 1912, this Catholic church was designed by Brendan Cinch in 1934. For some great interior shots visit this blog.
Yeoville Congregational Church, Muller & Bedford Street (1930s)
Torah Centre, Muller & Fortesque Street (1930s)
Coming next in early 2017: Part 3 – A follow-up post showing all the possible church buildings found while researching this piece where no information was found. The buildings simply look as though they were once places of worship.
The Johannesburg Saga – Shorten
Herbert Baker in South Africa – Doreen E. Grieg
Early Johannesburg – Hannes Meiring
Our Building Heritage – Paddy Hartdegen
Wagon Tracks and Orchards – Juliette Marais Louw
Working Life 1886-1940 – Lulu Callinicos
Johannesburg style – Clive Chipkin
Hilda & Rusty Bernstein Papers from the Historical Papers Research Archive at WITS.
History of the Johannesburg East Methodist Circuit – James Massey (Editor)
Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa (World Heritage Encyclopaedia Edition)
Oxford Shul http://www.oxfordshul.com
JewishGen always has a wealth of information relating to Jewish history in JHB
The (Dis)Continuity of the Johannesburg West Dutch Reformed Church – Brendan Hart 2013
Barry at GAPP Architects in Melville for info on the dopper church hall
http://www.artefacts.co.za is a goldmine for information and fact/date checking on architects and buildings.
http://www.heritageportal.co.za provided much info and helpful links.
Tsica Heritage Consultants reports on Brixton, Aukland Park, Orange Grove, Turffontein, Kenilworth and Rosettenville were invaluable to this piece. They are freely available on the internet and comprehensive.
http://www.joburg.org was full of church heritage info
Google Earth provided street views to locations I couldn’t visit