Yet More Bulawayo Days          - 14/10/2009      <--Prev : Next-->

Just a couple of corrections to the recollections that appeared in last MM.

Rhodes statue is actually now standing behind the Natural History Museum, not lying face down. Being bronze is is not rusting but is facing Coghlan so the two old gents are standing there quietly talking away. Interestingly of all the Rhodes statues (others grace Kimberley and Cape Town) this one was the only one made during his life. The other sculptures were created using photographs. I must also add that Coghlan's statue once graced the lawn in front of City Hall, not a street corner.

It is a real pity that these statues are forgotten. Like it or not they are characters in our Bulawayo past. Wouldn't it be great if they could be brought out and added to others like others commemorating the late Josiah Nkomo and others from all sectors and interest groups in our varied society. Diversity is a characteristic of Bulawayo.

Rob Burrett
Royal Bulawayo Tours (c/o Bulawayo Club & Amalinda Collection)
The reason you couldn't place Coghlan's statue at an intersection is because it was on the north side of the City Hall gardens.

Stanley's was in Main street opp. the P.O. and next to Kingstons. I am sure the brass nameplate is still there.

The strippers full name is/was Rusty Price remember her and her snake very well.
Could have done with one of your maiden form bras as I recall!!!


My mind I recall that in the late fifties early sixties the rains, which began to put in an appearance about this time of year, seemed to be much more dramatic, were they, or was it because being only seven or eight they appeared that way?

Crossing the road, at the old 'Harold's Outfitters Corner', now Pioneer House, to get to the Standard Bank was a dangerous river to be forded when the rains came down, when you stepped off the pavement you could lose a horse down there!

Your memories of the Matopos Hotel, getting there and coming home was such a mission on a Sunday, for every road that left Bulawayo, north, south, east or west became a strip road not more than five miles out of town and there always seemed to be as many cars going out as coming back. This of course meant moving over with one set of wheels on the tar strip and the other on the dirt. Whoa betide anyone in the car who wanted to stop for a 'wee break'!

Talking of tea-gardens and places to go, I am also reminded of a picturesque spot at the Lower-Umgusa Dam, on the Victoria Falls Road, I believe it was, that had rowing boats and cream-teas. For a drought ridden country we certainly had a lot of row-boats available, probably for those who nearly drowned at the Eighth Avenue, Abercorn Street corner!

In my youth I was an avid horse-rider and I recollect riding in with friends from the Waterford area, through Burnside and down the Hillside Road cycle track with a number of ponies on lead-reins to take part in the Trade Fair or Agricultural Show. Riding Schools didn't have fancy contraptions like horse-boxes in those days. The adult horsy crowd then that comes to mind and to name a few; the voice of Sir Henry Gratten-Bellew who commentated on many events, Lionel Archell, of Leander Riding School, Brian White of Upway fame, the Newson-Smiths, of Gold Hill where I rode and of course many more.

I could probably bore you for hours on those happy times but one thing is for sure, Bulawayo may not have had all the commercial razz-a-matazz of big cities, however, for young people who went out and made their own entertainment it was never a dull place!

Colin Jennings

Just to throw in a few more memories (whilst the old grey matter is still working).A shop that to this day I can still smell it just thinking about it, Jack Lensons the Tobacconists. They had all sorts of imported tobaccos cigars, cigarettes and all sorts of smoking appurtenances, which gave it an incredible smell. Then there was Broadway on the corner of 12th/ Rhodes always to be found open when you needed that pinta etc on a Sunday when most others were closed, BUT and it was a big but, be very careful there was always a copy of Scope magazine placed next to the till on to which your purchases would normally be placed after 'being charged' on the till. It was amazing how many times that magazine would be unobtrusively be added onto the bill,unless of course you queried the amount then he'd say "Oh sorry I thought you wanted the Scope".!!

You forgot the old 20th Century Cinema on 11/Main St which also had a stint as a roller rink and Tattersalls .Then who could ever have come to Bulawayo by train and not be amazed by the length of time that Rana's Mammoth Sale in Railway Ave went on?.It was going when I got there in 1952 and was still going when I was last in Bullys in the 90's.
Then a lot of us men on buying our first Tuxedo would have bought it at Finkys 6thAve /Main, where as an inducement to buy,. Mr Finkelstein always would tuck a Durex into the top pocket!!. I remember when the Elvis film Loving Me was showing at the Palace,on the Saturday afternoon, they made it a ticket by seat, only as opposed to sitting where you liked.

My mate Peter Baker bought two complete rows up in the balcony at the schoolboy rate of 1 shilling and sold them Saturday afternoon for about 3 shillings and the rest above!. You mentioned a bomb going off,one was attached to Charter House just behind the Exchange Bar in the "sanitary lane".The drinkers in the Exchange all rushed out the back door to see what was going on,much to mine host Cyril Gaskin's displeasure!.He promptly ran out and ushered them all back in "Come on it's only an explosion,no need to worry,I've seen hundreds during the War!!".

Then there was Bobby Bootlands Gymnasium where I used to go with a few of the lads from Dulys spares at lunchtime. We'd sit in the Sauna sweating out our excesses of the previous nights intake, but then undo all that good by sending the waiter across to the Peking for Spring Rolls and Ice cold Castles!!.

It wouldn't be right to not include a mention of someone else who was only there for a short while but certainly made an impact!?.I refer to the business called Auto Auctions,a new idea in secondhand car sales.I remember being in the Gym one evening when a couple of young members of 'The Fuzz' approached Hans Simon of Victoria Service Station and asked if he wasn't interested in taking a second hand banger that they had between a group of them."No, not on your Nelly said Hans, not much of a call for secondhand Simcas!! but I'll tell you what to do, go and see "Big Ed" at Auto Auctions and tell him that I've offered you 200, but you think it's worth a bit more,and see what he says".Which they did straight away.Big Ed ever keen to make a bit of headway into the Byo public kicked the front wheel, removed his large cigar from his lips and murmured "My first and Final offer I'll give you 250,take it or leave it!".

To which they very ingratiatingly muttered "you drive a hard bargain, you're a hard man Mr Hubbard",took his cash and shot off chop chop!!.Which reminds me of another cr dealer from way back when who was in the same premises in fact he still then owned them,Archie Chitrin. Another character that I'm sure there's a good story to be written about, it would make a good project for a young yiddisher boy to write about,I say so because that's where his history is to be found.I Know that he was a driver of a bootleg whiskey supplier in the prohibition days in the USA and also a wizard on roller skates.

Archie had Chitrin's Motors and I well remember him telling me about when he drove the passenger Car out to Lonely Mine and having to stop every now and then and pour in the five gallon can of fuel that they had in those days.Petrol came supplied in square 5 gallon tins.
: Geoff Crimes