This is what Joburg looked like in 1900

Amazing images of Johannesburg from late 19th century and early 20th century (1880s – 1900s) have surfaced online – this is how the city looked in its early life.

The images were collected and compiled by former SABC TV news anchor, Friedel Hansen, and posted to an album on Facebook.

While Hansen doesn’t explicitly state the sources of the images (“Literally all over,” he said), many can be found in the digital archive of The European Library,and the National Library of the Netherlands.

The photos show that South Africa’s biggest city had humble beginnings, but even 120 years ago was showing its growth potential.

The greater Johannesburg area, including Pretoria, is one of the largest metropolitan areas in Africa, behind Cairo (Egypt) and Lagos (Nigeria).

Johannesburg was formally established by the Boer government in 1886, after gold was discovered along the Witwatersrand reef.

By the time the Anglo-Boer war kicked off, the city had already grown significantly, with a working railway system, horse-drawn trams and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in full operation.

In 1900 – around the time shown in the images – the city was captured by British troops, and remained under their control until the end of the war in 1902.

Wanderers Cricket grounds

Wanderers Cricket grounds circa 1900
Wanderers Cricket grounds circa 1900
Bidvest Wanderers Stadium 2015
Bidvest Wanderers Stadium 2015

The Rand Club

Rand Club in 1888
Rand Club in 1888
Rand Club in 1892
Rand Club in 1892
Rand Club in 2015
Rand Club in 2015

Joburg Market Square

Joburg Market Square circa 1900
Joburg Market Square circa 1900
Joburg government buildings circa 1900
Joburg government buildings circa 1900
Joburg city hall on Rissik street was built on Market Square in 1888
Joburg city hall in 2015 – it was built on Market Square in 1888, Rissik street today.

Joburg City

Mounts Bay Hotel, Pritchard Street in 1909
Mounts Bay Hotel, Pritchard Street in 1909
Roodepoort circa 1900
Roodepoort circa 1900
Joburg City Centre in 1896
Joburg City Centre in 1896
Joburg circa 1900
Joburg circa 1900
Modern Joburg
Modern Joburg

Commissioner Street

Commissioner Street in the 1890s
Commissioner Street in the 1890s
Commissioner Street 2015
Commissioner Street 2015

Braamfontein

Braamfontein circa 1900
Braamfontein circa 1900
Braamfontein 2015
Braamfontein 2015

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