HERITAGE AND HISTORY
Originally established by the Randlords in the 1890s, Parktown is now home to many businesses, hospitals, schools, churches and restaurants, whilst still maintaining quiet residential areas. It is also home to three of the five campuses of the University of the Witwatersrand including the education campus, medical school and Wits Business School.
In addition to Sir Herbert Baker, many other architects were influential in building this historical suburb, including Frank Emley, J.A. Cope Christie, Francis Fleming and J.H. Aldwyncle. Baker’s Parktown houses drew influences from the Cape Dutch revival style, which he had mastered in the Cape and combined this with stone work using “koppie stone” which was quarried in the area, often from the grounds of the houses that he built. J.A. Cope Christie was more influenced by the traditional Victorian style which he combined with elements of Art Nouveau.
The Parktown Mansions tell many stories of the history of Johannesburg as they were the homes of some of the most influential residents of the early city. Whilst there are a number of mansions still standing in present day Parktown, a vast majority were destroyed during the late 1960s and 1970s to facilitate the construction of the M1 motorway and the increasing popularity of Parktown as a business district.
Remaining Baker mansions in Parktown include Northwards, Villa Arcadia, Bishopskop, The Stonehouse and Brenthurst. Other important mansions include Dolobran designed by J.A. Cope Christie and North Lodge designed by J.H. Aldwyncle.
The Parktown Westcliff Heritage Trust
Parktown and Westcliff are two of the oldest suburbs of Johannesburg and home to the mining magnates from 1892 till today. The concerntration of power and money, combined with the exuberant and extravagant taste of these pioneers, is reflected in the homes they built on the prominent ridges which lie Norht of the city centre.
The Trust organizes tours of the houses and gardens since most are not accessible to the public.
Visit the website at www.parktownheritage.co.za to see the quarterly programme
The Committee is very pleased to be able to report that an archive containing the records of the Association going back 38 years has been established at St Margaret’s – in one of Parktown’s most beautiful heritage houses. This has been made possible through the enormous generosity of Ashley Alley – a Committee member – and his company, Izingwe.
The records comprise the minutes of meetings, every newsletter, correspondence, the campaign against the motorway, the fight for public involvement in planning, all the rezonings of land from July 1973 onward, the records of the Northern Areas Group and other documents of potential historical interest. The archive will prove to be a treasure trove to researchers interested in the social, planning and even political history and heritage of Parktown during the last quarter of the twentieth century.
No. 3 Rockridge Road
Contact person: Mary Phillips
Contact number: 011 726-1112
Opening hours: Weekdays, normal business hours
- A walk down Victorian Parktown by Lucille Davie
- Deneys Reitz by William Gaul and Steven Gamble
- Strolling through Parktown by Lucille Davie