Nothing has yet been found that happened this very day in Kimberley’s history. Research is ongoing, but not at the moment as the research library is closed.
The Transport Hall (Holmes’ Garage) at the Mine Museum
A display of early transport including a “Spider”, Cape Cart, Buckboard, Scotch cart, as well as a Jewish Hearse, and Kimberley’s first motor-car – a 1901 Panhard et Levassor (pictured) that was used by Gardner Williams, the first General Manager of De Beers Consolidated Mines, and a 1906 Columbia Electric Victorian Phaeton.
The electric car, (pictured) owned by Williams’ wife, could do 13 mph, was brought into the museum in June 1961. The Buckboard was used regularly by the De Beers’ Directors during their shooting expeditions on the farms around Kimberley and was pulled by four mules. The Jewish hearse was originally a wooden box structure on a chassis and dates back to the late 1890s, being drawn by two black horses. Upon the advent of modern motorised transport the “box” was placed upon a Chevrolet six cylinder chassis in circa 1926 and used until the 1960s. Also on display is an ambulance stretcher carrier used in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902.
Mr Harold Holmes came to South Africa from England in 1897, and met Mr Garlick of Garlick’s Engineering Works of Kimberley in Cape Town who offered him employment in assembling bicycles. When motorised vehicles arrived in Kimberley from 1901 Holmes soon learnt the intricacies of the engines for both cars and motorbikes. He bought Garlick’s Engineering Works in 1907, which he had renamed Holmes’ garage by 1908. By 1911 he was importing Model T Fords, which he sold for £197. Through his intimate knowledge of engines, he also helped build the famed Compton-Paterson biplane, a replica of which stands in the Pioneers of Aviation museum in Kimberley. Originally situated at Old Main Street, the firm at its peak had branches in Kimberley, Vryburg and Barkly West.
Nothing yet found that happened this very day in Kimberley’s history. Research continues…
DID YOU KNOW
Kimberley’s Honoured Dead Memorial in the Sacred Circle that connects Dalham, Memorial, and Oliver Roads is indeed most impressive.
If you have been fortunate enough to listen to a tourist guide explain the history of the Memorial, you would remember that it was designed by Herbert Baker (later Sir Herbert). You would no doubt also recall that Baker’s design was based on the Nereid Monument discovered in Xanthos, Asia Minor in 1840-42, and that it had been a tomb for a King. It had also been destroyed, presumably in an earthquake.
Time to dig a little deeper.
The Nereid Monument, pictured in an artist’s impression based on what was discovered, is remarkably similar to Sir Hebert’s Honoured Dead Memorial, also pictured.
Xanthos was in Lycia, Asia Minor, today what is Fethiye, in Mugla Province, Turkey.
The Nereid monument was indeed a tomb, believed to have been built in circa 390 BC for (or by) the ruler, or King, of western Lycia, one Arbinas, also known as Erbbina and Erbinna. It is believed to have fallen, or been destroyed, at some time during the Byzantine era which ended in approximately 1453.
British explorer and archaeologist Charles Fellows found the tomb, or what was left of it, in 1840-42 and transported back to Great Britain certain sections which have been reconstructed in the British Museum.
It is not only Kimberley’s Honoured Dead Memorial that has been fashioned after the Nereid Monument, but also the more world famous Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Bodrum, Turkey.
The original tomb had sculpted friezes depicting many sea nymphs that were known as “nereids”, hence the tomb’s name.
Kimberley’s Monument is also a tomb with 27 British and Imperial soldiers who died defending Kimberley in 1899-1900 buried within.
Nothing yet found for this particular day in Kimberley’s history. The search continues…
DID YOU KNOW
The fire on Tuesday 10 June 1975 at Mulder’s Shoe Bar on Old Main Road caused over R40 000 worth of damage.
The fire, which broke out at 5.30pm destroyed the stock in the women’s fashion parlour but left the goods in the adjoining shoe stores undamaged.
Mr WH Mulder, the managing director of the shop believed the fire had been started by an electrical fault or the air conditioner in a back office, his view being supported by Kimberley’s fire chief, Mr WS Kruger.
Firemen had to break in through a side door and window to get at the flames, and with the help of the SAP and the Kimberley Commando they had the fire under control within 30 minutes.
Shoes, stockings, handbags and tins of shoe polish were destroyed by flames, heat or water and duplicate books of the store’s records were charred.
Hundreds of people crowded around as smoke poured out the shop and Old Main Road was closed to vehicular traffic.
“It has taken me 11 years to build up this shop and it has been ruined in one night,” Mr Mulder stated.
Nothing has yet been found that happened this very day in Kimberley’s history. The research is ongoing. Aluta Continua.
DID YOU KNOW
Building work started on the Griqualand West Supreme Court (pictured) in 1882 and took two years to complete, opening in February 1884. This was short-lived as the building was declared unsafe in 1886, partially demolished and rebuilt.
The clock tower (with clock) was added on in 1889. The building remained the Supreme Court of Griqualand West until 1968 when it moved to its present position in the Civic Centre (Malay Camp), but was retained as the Magistrate’s Court until May 1990 when the staff moved into their new premises on Knight Street – opened officially by Kobie Coetsee on 22 February 1991. The South African Police Services used the building as offices until 1994 when it was returned to the Dept of Public Works. The building itself, a National Monument (declared 2 November 1990), is built of blue ironstone that came from a kopje overlooking Dutoitspan Mine. Convicts built the entire structure, and most of the fittings and the furniture were made in Kimberley.
Restored at a cost of R6.3 million in 2001 by MDH Joint Venture, the building was used by the Public Works as their regional offices.
Nothing to report for today in Kimberley’s history. Research does continue.
DID YOU KNOW
The region in which Warrenton is situated is part of the disputed area between the OFS, the Cape Colony and the Griqua nation.
Originally known as Stranger’s Rest, the name changed to Fourteen Streams, but in 1880 was named Warrenton. Fourteen Streams is the section of the Vaal River just upstream from the railway bridge where there are numerous islands in the river.
On 8 February 1878 the farmers H.A.L. Hamelberg and C.E. Fichardt registered the farm Grasbult by Orange Free State title deed -on which Warrenton was proclaimed a town – but by 1880 the western half was owned by Gabriel Nicolaas Venter. That same year of 1880 saw 18 farmers purchase the 3365 morgen farm from Venter in order to establish a Church village and to exploit the possibility of irrigation farming. It was surveyed and 267 erven plotted.
The area was incorporated into the Cape Colony – excepting for two large farms that remained as part of the OFS – and named Warrenton in 1880 after Sir Charles Warren. The reason for the name was twofold – the farmers were pleased with his surveying the disputed border between the Cape Colony and the OFS in 1877, and also with his military leadership against the 1878-79 popular uprisings.
In 1881 the Dutch Reformed Church took ownership of Warrenton and in 1885 the first school was started. Four years later on 2 May 1889 Warrenton was gazetted as a Village Management Board, the same year diamonds were first found on town land. This discovery of diamonds on town land saw a feverish search for more and between 1905 and 1921 a total of 21 630 carats worth were discovered.
As Warrenton was on Cecil Rhodes’ planned Cape to Cairo rail link the railway reached the town in 1890, but it was only in the late 1920s that the low level bridge was built across the Vaal river for wagons, and naturally, motorised vehicles.
In the region is the farm Driehoek, registered on 18 January 1878 by Johannes Nicolaas de Beer when he sold his farm in what is now Kimberley. De Beer is buried on the farm.
There are three blockhouses from the Anglo-Boer War in Warrenton close to the railway bridge, two being of irregular design, the other being of the more recognised stone-cut blockhouses.
Pictured is one of the Warrenton blockhouses, as well as Mrs Moir’s house used by the British as a “conning” tower during the artillery duels against the Boers between March and May 1900.