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Today in Kimberley's History

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY – 15 DECEMBER

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UPDATED: 15/12/2017

15 December 1887, GRK Bradshaw, the Mayor of Beaconsfield, killed when he fell off his panicked horse that had collided with a Cape cart between Beaconsfield and Kimberley.
15 December 1937, Miss Caroline Maritz gives a display of acrobatic dancing at the Police Ball Alexandersfontein Hotel.
15 December 1955, Kimberley’s municipal budget exceeds £1 million for the first time.
15 December 1957, Thomas Choeu the first pupil of St Boniface to become a priest.

DID YOU KNOW

Stockdale Street is named after Richard H. Stockdale, a wholesale/retail merchant of Kimberley and Windsorton (Hebron). In August 1871 he purchased the farm “Vooruitzicht”, also known as De Beers, for Mr Arthur Ebden, from the De Beers brothers.

Currey Street is named after John Blades Currey, Secretary to the Griqualand West Government under Sir Richard Southey from 1873 until 1880. He then became Manager of the London and South African Exploration Company until 1899 when De Beers Consolidated Mines bought out the company. He then moved to Rhodes’ Groote Schuur Estate. Currey and his wife, Mary, had looked after the young Cecil when he arrived in Kimberley and even hosted his 21st birthday at Windsorton. Rhodes never forgot.

Lennox Street is often referred to as being named after the legendary vagabond Scotty Smith – who was a Lennox. This is incorrect as Scotty Smith only arrived in the Northern Cape in 1878/79 and the street was in existence before that date. It is named after Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox who was an England-based shareholder of the London and South African Exploration Company who owned the land when the street was originally laid. Gordon-Lennox was the 6th Duke of Richmond and lived from 1818 to 1903.

Crossman Road is named after Lt-Colonel (later Sir) William Crossman, Royal Engineers, who was in charge of the Royal Commission into the Black Flag Rebellion of 1875. Appointed by Lord Carnarvon, the commission sat in Kimberley in January 1876. Appointed Lieutenant in 1848. In 1852 Crossman, while a Lieutenant, was a Magistrate in the Perth, Albany district of Australia, and in 1855 married Catherine Josephine Morley. He returned to England in 1856 with his wife and child. By 1858 he was a Captain, in 1872 a Major, 1873 a Lieutenant-Colonel and by 1878 was a Colonel. He worked on the fortifications of Plymouth Harbour, and by 1884 had worked in South Africa and Canada, being Secretary for the Royal Commission on the defences of Canada. He was knighted in 1885 and was elected a Member of Parliament for Plymouth (England) the same year, keeping his seat until 1892. The following year he retired from the British Army with the rank of Major-General, and was appointed the High Sheriff of Northumberland. He died in Plymouth on 19 April 1901, leaving his wife, sons Robert and Lawrence, and daughters Mary and Alice.

Jones Street (now Phakamile Mabija Road) was named after William Thomas Jones, the owner of a pub named the “Old Cock” just off Market Square on the street. Jones, himself known as “Old Cock”, saw service in the Frontier Wars of 1846 and 1851 and in 1878 had resolved to go to the Transvaal as the Sergeant in charge of a group of volunteers known as “the Old Duffers”.

15 December 1887, GRK Bradshaw, the Mayor of Beaconsfield, killed when he fell off his panicked horse that had collided with a Cape cart between Beaconsfield and Kimberley.
15 December 1937, Miss Caroline Maritz gives a display of acrobatic dancing at the Police Ball Alexandersfontein Hotel.
15 December 1955, Kimberley’s municipal budget exceeds £1 million for the first time.
15 December 1957, Thomas Choeu the first pupil of St Boniface to become a priest.

DID YOU KNOW

In 1883 the region known as Picardi Ridge (also spelt Picardy and Picardie) on Dronfield farm was called Harold’s Kop. Resident in the house and adjacent store at the base of the kopje (spur) was the 34-year-old Peter George Henry Felstead, registered in the Kimberley region Burgher List of 1883 as a Shopkeeper rather than a farmer. The name Felstead’s Farm and Felstead’s Ridge comes from this Peter Felstead.

Andrew ‘Jock’ Pringle was the first Estate Manager employed at Rooipoort, although he lived and stayed at Dronfield (Felstead’s Farm) until the Anglo-Boer war after initially being based at Rooipoort. A gamekeeper from Scotland by profession he arrived and started working for De Beers in February 1895 and retired in 1932. (The name Pringle’s Ridge comes from Andrew Pringle when he lived at Felstead’s Farm).

During the 1882-1884 outbreak of smallpox, Felstead’s Farm with its various buildings was utilised as a Quarantine Station for the disease, particularly for those entering into Kimberley from the Transvaal, the two main trails into Kimberley crossing Dronfield.

Many Kimberley doctors, including Drs Matthews, Jameson, Sauer, etc, visited the farm as part of their daily duties when the disease was at its peak.

On Saturday 1 December 1883 Doctors JW Matthews and Leander Starr Jameson visited the Quarantine Station at Felstead’s Farm early in the morning. By 07h30 they had finished their business, and left for Kimberley by trap, the diamond city being some six miles (ten kilometres) distant.

In order to avoid a collision with an ox standing in the track, Dr Matthews, who was driving, overcorrected and the trap overturned, throwing Dr Jameson some 15 yards distant. Dr Jameson was uninjured but Dr Matthews, who had hit the ground headfirst, was unconscious.

Dr Jameson, later the leader of the ill-fated Jameson raid of 1895/96 into the Transvaal, and Premier of the Cape Colony from 1904-1908, immediately righted the trap and returned post-haste to Felstead’s as the station was closer than Kimberley, and other doctors were present at the Quarantine Station. Dr Matthews was suffering from severe concussion and cerebral haemorraging, and at midday, he was transferred from Felstead’s to Carnarvon Hospital on Dutoitspan Road, Kimberley.

He recovered consciousness on 5 December and was released some days later.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

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