The Mystery and Delight of Johannesburg’s Arcades
Sat Nov 25, 14:00 - Sat Nov 25, 16:30
The Rand Club (meeting point)
Johannesburg used to be a City of Arcades. They were an attractive investment to property owners, maximising valuable retail space, and a boon to shoppers, providing them with protection from the elements and the dirt and dust of City streets. Our Victorian and Edwardian arcades were charming: delicate cast iron structures supporting a glass roof canopy, the floors often exquisitely tiled. Almost all were lost in the rush to modernise and to make investments pay, but one survived this carnage.
Hidden between bustling Gandhi Square and a forgotten corner of Fox Street, Somerset House was boarded up by the United Building Society and used to house safety deposit boxes, its checker-board floor and green art-nouveau tiles lost to view. But now, through the vision of Gerald Olitzki who has revived nearby Gandhi Square, Fox Street and much beyond, it is being returned to its former glory.
Join David Gurney on a tour that explores the City’s arcades - this is a tour not to be missed!
Please wear good walking shoes, bring a hat and plenty of drinking water.