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Today in Kimberley's History

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY – 14 JANUARY

UPDATED: 14/01/2019

14 January 1871, First official mail from Cape Town to Klipdrift dispatched.

DID YOU KNOW

It was on 15 October 1870 that the first mail was dispatched from the Diamond Fields to Cape Town, this via Bloemfontein and then forwarded.PT-Post_Office_Stamp-1871-01

On 14 January 1871 the first mails from Cape Town to the receiving station at Klipdrift (now Barkly West) were dispatched. (Some sources state 19 January which is when the post office at Klipdrift was opened).

On 1 September 1874 the Kimberley Postmaster amended a stock of 4d stamps by inscribing them “1d” by hand in reddish brown ink. (See picture).

PT-Post_Office_Stamp-1871-02The territory, known as Griqualand Diamond Fields to the postal authorities, initially used postal adhesives from the Cape, but between 1877 and 1880 made use of stamps overprinted with the letters “GW” and “G” in a variety of fonts and sizes. (See pictures).

By October 1880 the area reverted to using the Cape Colony stamps without any overprints.PT-Post_Office_Stamp-1871-03

Post Boxes were introduced in Pot Elizabeth in 1878, Cape Town in 1879 and thereafter all the major centres including Kimberley. In 1882 registered mail was used for the first time, as were Postal Orders for transmitting small amounts of money. On 1 July 1882 the parcel post was introduced.

On the telegraph side of communication Kimberley was linked to Cape Town by 1876.

14 January 1871, First official mail from Cape Town to Klipdrift dispatched.

DID YOU KNOW

The first fully-bitumen surfaced road – Stockdale Street – was completed in 1925. Was it mere coincidence that this street boasted the HQ of De Beers, The Perm, the DFA, and the Fire Brigade as well as the then renowned Queen’s Hotel? It was the most important street of the then Kimberley. HA Oliver CMG was honoured by the Chamber of Commerce on 8 December 1926 when a scroll was presented to him upon his departure from the Diamond Fields after 50 years in the public and commercial life of Kimberley.

The suburb of West End, in haphazard existence since before the turn of the century, was completed in 1927. An interesting suburb, it boasted a variety of different architecture nestled between mine tailings and bordered on Number 2 Location. A family link with De Beers ceased in 1928 when Alpheus Williams resigned as General Manager after 26 years in the position. His father Gardner had been GM from 1888 until his son took over the reigns in 1902, thus making the De Beers GM’s position a family job for 40 years.

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