Tag: Braamfontein

The Art of Cemetery Statuery. (1)

I recently joined a facebook group that has an interest in Cemetery Statuery, and it is one field I have an interest in. There is something majestic about an angel, or sad about a time worn cherub that just appeals to the senses and calls to the photographer. The oldest Cemetery we have in Johannesburg is Braamfontein and it is here that some of the older examples are to be found, but I am finding more modern examples in other cemeteries that are equally as beautiful and which are just crying out to be captured forever on film (or whatever the modern equivalent may be). This is my tribute to some of the Cemetery Angels and statues that  I have seen in Westpark, Brixton and Braamfontein cemeteries.
 
I call her "the Bathing Angel". From Braamfontein.

I call her “the Bathing Angel”. From Braamfontein.

And in her bath...

And in her bath. November 2011

Braamfontein Cemetery in Johannesburg is also the oldest existing municipal in Johannesburg, and technically should contain the largest proportion of the angels and statues of the three cemeteries I am visiting in this post.

 
 
This small porcelain chap was quite a popular angel and I have seen him in a number of cemeteries, mostly on children’s graves and in various states of disrepair. And while he is cracked he was still hanging in there the last time I saw him in 2012.

Many of these memorials have been standing here over 100 years, and are in a surprisingly good condition too. Although it is a precarious existence because there is always the possibility of damage through vandalism, or subsidence.

I have always considered her to be a bit too melodramatic for my taste, but she is quite unique and well made, although she seems to have been cut off just below the knees.

The more matronly angel below is in a  remarkable condition, and I have never seen another like her. Could she be modelled after the person she in memory of?

The strange thing is that right up till the end I was discovering statues that I had missed on previous visits. This one is also dated 2012, and I had never seen her up till that point,  she does seem disappointed though.

This enclosed area has a number of small angels, and this larger full winged version dates from 1907, Surprisingly she has not lost her wings, but that could be because she is relatively safe from destructive hands in the enclosure. Unfortunately she is weathering a lot, and I expect the proximity of the highway may be a contributing factor.

And this full winged seated thinker dates from around 1908. Strangely enough I know exactly where this angels is in the cemetery, but have very few photographs of it.
 

Leave Braamfontein in the capable hands of the angels and cherubs we head west to Brixton cemetery, leaving this beaut to raise its stone eyes to the heavens.

Braamfontein Cemetery (1500×391)

Brixton Cemetery has its fair share of angels as well, but a lot of its real gems are in shaded areas so they do not photograph very well. The one piece of cemetery statuery that really stands out in the cemetery is known as “The Organ Grave”.  The surname on the grave is Murley, but I often wonder if there was any connection to a pipe organ player.

 
Often, the most simple of statues is the most poignant, like this very weathered lamb in a children’s plot. It is quite a common motif, and I have seen it in a number of cemeteries, but I have yet to find one that is in a good condition.
 
 
Brixton has a lot of hidden treasures, and this small baby has slumbered here since the late 1930’s. His parents are probably long gone, and it is unlikely that any of his modern relatives are even aware of his existence.  May he rest in peace.

Cemetery Statuery easily lends itself to black and White photography, and all angels seem to look magnificent in stark colours. sadly though, they are very prone to vandalism, like this handless statue in Brixton.

 
This is “Little Winnie”, and she lives in the shade of lots of large trees, and consequently is very difficult to photograph.
 
Every so often I will find one displaced off her pedestal, this one seems to have taken up her final repose leaning against the headstone. The question arises, did she fall? or was she pushed?
 

And this reasonably simple angel prays that she does not become the subject of vandalism. Given her proximity to the fence I am surprised that she has survived as well as she has.

The loss of the middle part of her wings has proved to be somewhat odd, but otherwise she was intact when I last saw her, although she was not looking too pleased.

Most of the angels that I have examined closeup have various expressions, ranging from mourning right through to disdain. And, of course they are usually genderless, although I do suspect most are female. This particular example is definitely female.

And yet another handless angel. I have often pondered on this loss of limbs, and it is not always attributable to vandalism, but may be a weak part of the statue, without knowing how these were constructed it is difficult to say how it actually happens. But an upstretched arm could easily be blown off by wind or a flying tree branch. I have just seen too many broken arms and hands to be able to attribute it to the moron with a thing for stone hands. I have also never found one of these arms or hands below a statue, so who knows where those go to.

The Christ figure is a popular one too, often being found in the Catholic areas of a cemetery, and this fine example dates from very early the earliest days of the cemetery.
 

It is time to leave this cemetery of contrasts and head north along Beyers Naude Drive towards Westpark, which is the youngest of the three cemeteries.

Brixton Cemetery (1498x528)

Brixton Cemetery (1498×528)

Space and bandwidth does not allow me to show off all the angels from all of these three cemeteries, suffice to say there are many more just waiting to be seen.  I continued in this theme on page 2 where I will explored some of the modern (and not so modern) angels I have spotted in other local cemeteries.
 
 
©  DRW 2011-2018. Updated 19/05/2015. Moved to allatsea and images recreated 20/03/2016
Updated: 10/01/2018 — 20:40

The Braamfontein Gallery

These photographs of Johannesburg and Braamfontein were taken on 15 October 2011 while on a walking tour. A slight deviation was made to photograph a forgotten memorial at the old MOTH Hall. The tour was conducted by Past Experiences.

[ Page 1 ] [ Page 2 ] [ Page 3 ]
[ Page 4 ] [ Newtown ] Constitutional Hill
Looking towards Newtown

Looking towards Newtown

Milner Park Hotel

Milner Park Hotel

Bertha Street

Bertha Street

Steel Street Trees

Steel Street Trees

Cnr Jorissen and Melle

Cnr Jorissen and Melle

Eland Statue

Eland Statue

Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Bertha Street

Bertha Street

Wits School of Art

Wits School of Art

Dianetics & Scientology Self Improvement Centre

Dianetics & Scientology
Self Improvement Centre

Original house Henri Street

Original house
Henri Street

Neighbourgoods Market

Neighbourgoods Market

Neighbourgoods Market

Neighbourgoods Market

Street art

Street art

Into town

Into town

Accommodation

Accommodation

Rissik Street Bridge

Rissik Street Bridge

Into town

Park Station

Braamfontein skyline and coach staging yard from the Nelson Mandela Bridge (1506x601)

Braamfontein skyline and coach staging yard from the Nelson Mandela Bridge (1506×601)

Bertha Street looking South towards Newtown (1506x557)

Bertha Street looking South towards Newtown (1506×557)

Corner Jorrrisen and Station Street (1481x648)

Corner Jorrisen and Station Street (1481×648)

Melle and Jorrisen Streets looking South (1505x511)

Melle and Jorrisen Streets looking South (1505×511)

Milner Park Hotel and Metro Hotel. (1506x544)

Milner Park Hotel and Metro Hotel. (1506×544)

     

© DRW 2011-2018. Created 15 October 2011

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:41

The Newtown Gallery

in 2011 I joined a walking tour with Past Experiences and they helped me discover parts of Johannesburg that I did not really know from my younger days, in fact discovering Newtown was quite an experience. These images are from my various meanderings into Newtown, mostly during 2011.  There is an overflow from a walk I did down to Diagonal Street amongst these, and it is probable that some images are duplicated in my Johannesburg City galleries too. More information on Newtown may be found at the Newtown Heritage Trail website

[ Page 1 ] [ Page 2 ] [ Page 3 ]
[ Page 4 ] Constitutional Hill [ Braamfontein ]
Johannesburgs former station

Johannesburgs former station

Nelson Mandela Bridge

Nelson Mandela Bridge

The Market Theatre

The Market Theatre

Museum Africa

Museum Africa

Period bus shelter

Period bus shelter

Carved wooden heads

Carved wooden heads

11 Diagonal Street

11 Diagonal Street

Banner of Hope

Banner of Hope

The Graffiti Project

The Graffiti Project

Painted Wall

Painted Wall

Informal Market

Informal Market

Bree Street

Bree Street

Old building

Old building

Former Police Station

Former Police Station

Skyscrapers

Skyscrapers

Diagonal Street

Diagonal Street

Diagonal Street

Diagonal Street

Apartheid signage

Apartheid signage

Rosenbergs Building

Rosenbergs Building

1906 survivor

1906 survivor

Sisulu Park

Sisulu Park

An old survivor

An old survivor

Chancellor House

Chancellor House

The "Paper Pigeon"

The “Paper Pigeon”

The former "Star Gate"

The former “Star Gate”

Turbine hall remnant

Turbine hall remnant

Re-used Turbine Hall

Re-used Turbine Hall

President Street

President Street

Jeppe Street

Jeppe Street

The Bus Factory

The Bus Factory

Walter & Albertina Sisulu Statue

Walter & Albertina Sisulu Statue

Brenda Fassie

Brenda Fassie

Kippie Kippie Moeketsi

Kippie Moeketsi

Mary Fitzgerald Square from Museum Africa (1505x369)

Mary Fitzgerald Square from Museum Africa (1505×369)

Newtown Park (1487x526)

Newtown Park (1487×526)

Newtown, the Brickfields on the left and station on the right (1506x435)

Newtown, the Brickfields on the left and station on the right (1506×435)

Looking towards town from the Nelson Mandela Bridge approaches (1506x466)

Looking towards town from the Nelson Mandela Bridge approaches (1506×466)

Braamfontein Skyline from Newtown (1506x479)

Braamfontein Skyline from Newtown (1506×479)

     

© DRW 2011-2018. Created 25/09/2011, updated 09/10/2011. Added to blog 14/09/2014

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:42

Johannesburg Gallery (3)

Continuing with our explorations in and around Johannesburg….

[ Page 1 ] [ Page 2 ] [ Page 4 ]
[ Newtown ] Constitutional Hill [ Braamfontein ]
Pipe Organ: Johannesburg City hall

Pipe Organ: Johannesburg City hall

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Sisulu Square

Sisulu Square

The Cenotaph

The Cenotaph

The City hall

The City hall

Commissioner Street

Commissioner Street

Markhams: Eloff Street

Markhams: Eloff Street

Eloff Street

Eloff Street

Karl Von Brandis Statue

Karl Von Brandis Statue

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Eloff Street

Eloff Street

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

The Rand Club

The Rand Club

Union-Castle Building

Union-Castle Building

Standard Bank Building

Standard Bank Building

Victory House

Victory House

Beyers Naude Square

Beyers Naude Square

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Carlton Hotel

Carlton Hotel

The Newspaper Seller

The Newspaper Seller

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Station Clock

Station Clock

Beyers naude Square

Beyers Naude Square

Three Castles derilict

Three Castles derelict

The Planetarium

The Planetarium

San Souci Hotel. Milner Park

San Souci Hotel. Milner Park

Johannesburg Public Library

Johannesburg Public Library

Inside Number 4 Jail

Inside Number 4 Jail

Inside Number 4 Jail

Inside Number 4 Jail

Observatory Water Tower

Observatory Water Tower

Rotunda

Rotunda

Rissik Street Bridge

Rissik Street Bridge

Rissik Street Bridge

Rissik Street Bridge

Paul Kruger Bldg and Gautrain Stn

Paul Kruger Bldg and Gautrain Stn

Former Slesenger Building

Former Slesenger Building

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Former MOTH headquarters

Former MOTH headquarters

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

Johannesburg City

 

© DRW 2007-2018. Created 09/06/2014

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:42

The Dynamite Explosion Memorial in Braamfontein

One of the many events that occurred in the fledgling city of Johannesburg was the Dynamite Explosion that occurred on 19 February 1896 at Braamfontein Station. A memorial was erected in Braamfontein Cemetery to commemorate the event, and the over 70 people that lost their lives in it.

Braamfontein Dynamite Explosion Memorial

Braamfontein Dynamite Explosion Memorial

An explosives train, carrying dynamite, had been left standing for 3 days in searing heat; the massive explosion occurred when this train was struck by another that was shunting. It left a crater over 60 m long and 8 m deep and was heard 200 km away. The exact number of casualties was never ascertained, and over 200 people were seriously injured. Some 3 000 people lost their homes and almost every window in the town was shattered. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact site where the explosion occurred but a period map puts it on the bend where Braamfontein Vapour Depot now stands.

Period map with inset of modern Johannesburg

Period map with inset of modern Johannesburg

Braamfontein Vapour Depot

Braamfontein Vapour Depot

I have spotted at least 5 physical graves in Braamfontein cemetery that have explosion related inscriptions on them, and it is probable that most of the casualties are buried in this cemetery, the majority of the funerals being held on the 20th and 21st of February.  I can physically identify 46 names in the registers as being marked as “dynamite explosion”, and all are buried in the DR section. There is also supposedly a mass grave in this plot where unidentified severed limbs are buried.

Area where burials occurred.

Area where burials occurred.

Braamfontein Dynamite Explosion Memorial

Braamfontein Dynamite Explosion Memorial

© DRW 2011-2018. Created 21/01/2011, edited 28/09/2012. Moved to blog 19/01/2014

Updated: 05/01/2018 — 20:44
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