Thursday, June 21, 2012

Windows are the eyes of a building?


Rand Steam Laundries, Richmond

I found this building on a recent "photo-safari"...I was uncertain what it was...
Turns out that it was the final steam laundry in Johannesburg!
If the windows are the souls of the building then this one is blind as they reflect nothing of the surroundings  
They don't make bricks like this anymore. 
Four in a row. 
Not a pane left... 
I came away covered in "blackjacks." A small price to pay... 
This was the only window that had all the glass intact.
I was tempted to toss a stone, but I resisted! 
Waiting for some TLC? Unfortunately it seems that that might not be forthcoming.
To find out the history of this very interesting building, 
Weeds have now claimed what might have been a neatly kept reception area. 
Looking at the brickwork it seems as if part of the building was removed.
The business was run by the Amoils family from 1946 to 1962 
Even though the windows are broken, the building seems to be uninhabited. A quote in the South African Who's Who in business 1919/1920 reads as follows:"The Rand Steam Laundries and Cleaning and Dyeing Works is the largest establishment of its kind in the whole sub-continent...it has its own water supply,cottages for people,Blacksmith and Farrier for making carts, makes its own soap: and in fact is quite a Village by itself" (www.joburgheritage.co.za
A window with a few panes intact.
No one looked out as I looked in... 
This tree has suffered from the lack of care and will eventually have to be removed. 
Holes in the walls have been covered with corrugated iron sheets... 
And where is this building? On a farm? Out in the sticks?
No, it is actually on the corner of Napier Road and Barry Hertzog Ave. in Johannesburg.
In January 2008 the Imperial Group,despite a "stop order" tore down the majority of the buildings on this site.All that is currently left is the filtration tower and one laundry shed (featured above)

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