21 October 1871, Gladstone suburb in use.
21 October 1968, Statue of Danie Theron unveiled at Alexandersfontein.
Pictured is the bridge erected in 1891
This suburb was first named Gladstone after the English Prime Minister of the time, the name being in use as early as 21 October 1871. By 9 November that same year there were 100 stands on sale at a cost of £14 each, the owners of the township being Ebden and partners who had bought the land from the De Beers brothers.
When named Gladstone, there was a lovely story in the Cape newspaper, the Standard and Mail, where a play on words changed the meaning to “Glad-stone”, meaning “Happy-diamond”. The name Gladstone has fallen by the wayside, being replaced by the name “De Beers”. Gladstone was generally accepted as the section south/west of Warren Street, while De Beers was north/east of the street.
The railway reached Kimberley in 1885 and virtually immediately there were problems with vehicular traffic crossing the railway lines from Kimberley North into Gladstone/De Beers suburb. All traffic had to halt, sometimes for up to 30 minutes, while shunting operations took place. Given the position of the De Beers Mining Company Boardroom on Warren Street, and the mine, one can imagine how this affected business. Despite money being made available from the Cape colonial government in 1888, the bridge was only erected in 1891.
During the siege 14 October 1899 – 15 February 1900 the bridge was used as a bomb shelter for the local residents escaping the Boer shelling.