Jozi CBD Castle
This was Day 2 of Covid-19 hard lockdown, 24th of March, 2020 – sharing the history of Jozi, building structures and events that took place in the years gone by. Our next story is Jozi CBD Castle.
Did you know that we have a Castle in Joburg CBD?
Figure 1: The Three Castles and Myrtle Grove Cigarettes Castle in Joburg CBD – on Goud and Marshall Streets.
The year is 1890. Gold production is on the rise again after the discovery of the MacArthur-Forrest process (The Cyanide Solution) to process the deeper pyritic ore also called blue ground this is after the oxidized surface reef became exhausted. This rise gave a rise to other industries.
Meanwhile in Kimberley a few year earlier, three young Yorkshiremen, the brothers David, Albert and Hiller Holt forms a firm Holt & Holt trading in furniture and in various tobacco lines and cigarettes. They get into a deal with the big British tobacco concern based in Bristol called W. D & H. O Wills to become their sole agent in SA. Wills best brands at the time were Three Castles and Myrtle Grove cigarettes.
Figure 2: The Three Castles Castle during our circle tour.
In 1890 they realised that the Rand or Jozi was happening and would become the real centre of future trade and so they decided to open a branch. In 1894 they concluded another deal with W. D & H. O to be the manufacturers of ‘Three Castles’ cigs after which they floated the Acme Cigarette Company in Joburg.
Figure 3: The Three Castles Cigarettes packet.
They erected a factory on Marshall and Goud streets, a Castle with three bastions and its facade designed to advertise ‘Three Castles’ cigarettes. They employed 100 girls who rolled the cigarettes by hand. In 1895, however, they introduced machines producing 300 000 cigs per day but couldn’t keep up with the demand.
1st April 1899, Paul Kruger in his last official visit to Joburg, he formally opened the factory after all he had become a personal friend of Albert Holt.
Figure 4: Paul Kruger’s last visit to Joburg for the opening of the Three Castles Building.
In recent times the Three Castles Building had gone through different ownerships e.g. Naomi Beauty Form in 1950s, 1980s and early 90s was a home to Dungeon gay club and alternative club Tchaikovskys respectively. Now lying derelict!
Figure 5: The Three Castles is now lying derelict.
This Castle and the Rissik Street Post Office, in our opinion, are strong contenders for the oldest surviving building structures in Jozi CBD both pre-Anglo-Boer war.
Know your city!
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Written: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 21:17.