27 January 1910, A liberal supporter of all sports, James A Hill of Hill and Paddon, dies at his home “Violet Bank” on Park Road.
JAMES HILL OF VIOLET BANK and HILL AND PADDON
James (Jimmy) Alfred Hill was born in Bristol, England in 1849 to James Hill and Mrs Hill (nee Curran), and at the date of his demise on 27 January 1910, he was 60 years and three months old.
He left England for South Africa in 1867, being a partner in the firm Savage and Hill in Port Elizabeth until moving to the Diamond Fields where he was a digger. Not being very successful as a digger he opened a commercial business in late 1870, Hill and Paddon, the firm for which he became known, on the river diggings at Klipdrift (later Barkly West). In 1871 the firm relocated to the New Rush (Kimberley), firstly on Stockdale Street, then Natal Street and by 1902 was on Jones Street.
In 1890 the firm was floated into a (limited) company, with James Hill, George Tapscott and Selwyn Scott Brown as Directors, becoming the largest direct importers of goods into Kimberley, selling groceries, soft goods, ironmongery, produce, wine and spirits. It was that same year of 1890 that Hill and Paddon supplied all goods for the Pioneer Column that left the Market Square in Kimberley to settle what became known as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
It was the large supply of groceries held by the firm that allowed Kimberley to feed the military and the civilians during the siege of 1899-1900.
The partnership between Hill and Alf Paddon was dissolved in England in 1896.
In 1884 he was elected, together with Cecil Rhodes, as a representative of Barkly West, Herbert and Hay for the Cape Colonial Legislative, but resigned in 1886 as he went to England on business for some five years before returning. In 1898 he was again elected together with Mr Rhodes as the two representatives for Barkly West region in the Cape Assembly.
James Hill was genial, attentive and courteous not only in his business dealings but also in his social life. Generous to a fault, he gave numerous donations throughout his life, the majority of which are unrecorded.
He married Amy Henrietta MacKenzie on 11 March 1885 at South Norwood, London, the marriage producing two sons, the eldest of whom died in 1909. The surviving son was Thomas (Tom) Alexander Fredrick Hill.
He played a very important part in opening up commerce in Griqualand West and materially assisted in developing the farming resources of the region, the firm owning a considerable number of good farms in the Barkly West region.
He also enjoyed his sport, especially football and was for three years in succession the President of the Griqualand West Football Association, to which he gave several valuable trophies. He enjoyed shooting and was considered an excellent shot.
On the last day of his life he had been at work all day, quite cheerful, but became ill at his home Violet Bank on Park Road at 21h00 and died at 23h00 of an apoplectic seizure.
He was buried in the West End cemetery.
(The family were staunch Anglicans. The set of large stained glass windows in the north transept at St Cyprian’s Cathedral, depicting the resurrection, were given in memory of Jimmy Hill and the elder son, a plaque below it being inscribed: “To the glory of God and in loving memory of James Alfred Hill who fell asleep 27th January 1910; also of James Sidney MacKenzie Hill who fell asleep 28th June 1909. This window is erected by AHH and TAFH. Omne bonum Dei bonum”. Tom Hill also very generously donated the organ in memory of his mother: but there is a sad footnote, as recorded by the Diamond Fields Advertiser, that at the dedication of the new organ on 18 November 1937, the then late Mr [Tom] Hill could be present “only in spirit and not in body to hear the results of his great gift.” [“Amy Henrietta Hill, at rest June 23 1935, this organ was given by her son Thomas Alexander Frederick Hill, 1936″.] David Morris very kindly provided the information about the Hill family and their connection with the St Cyprian’s Cathedral.)27 January 1910, A liberal supporter of all sports, James A Hill of Hill and Paddon, dies at his home “Violet Bank” on Park Road.
DID YOU KNOW
Violet Bank was built at the turn of the 19th century and occupied until his death in 1910 by James Hill, who in 1884 had been elected a Member of the Cape Legislative Assembly, representing Barkly West. Jimmy Hill, as he was known, came to the Diamond Fields in 1870. Finding no success as a digger, he entered into partnership with a Mr Alf Paddon to open a general merchant’s store, first at Barkly West, then at Kimberley. The partnership between Hill and Paddon was dissolved in 1896.
James Alfred Hill was born in Bristol, England in 1849 to James Hill and Mrs Hill (nee Curran), and at the date of his demise he was 60 years and three months old. He married Amy Henrietta MacKenzie on 11 March 1885 at South Norwood, London, the marriage producing one son, Thomas Alexander Fredrick Hill.