Kensington – A Walk Through Living History
Kensington is a hilly suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was established in 1897 by Max Langermann (after whom the thoroughfare Langermann Drive is named).
Prior to the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886, the suburb lay on land on one of the original farms called Doornfontein. Kensington is laid out over the slopes of several koppies (flat-topped, high-sided hills).
The streets were laid out in 1903, with the suburb named by the owner of the land, Max Langermann. The streets were heavily planted with trees, which give the area a distinctive, wooded appearance.
There are several shopping centres and office parks in the area such as the sprawling Eastgate Shopping Centre, Park Meadows Shopping Centre and the Pick ‘n Pay head office.
Kensington is a restaurant neighbourhood in development, with most restaurants and coffee shops amid the antique shops on Queen Street. There is an annual Kensington Spring Fair on the opening weekend of September.
There are over forty (40) Heritage Sites in Kensington including:
- Gandhi House – Family Home of M.K. Gandhi 1904 – 1906.
- Jeppe High School for Boys – designed by Sir Herbert Baker and built in 1909. Named after Julius Jeppe. Prime Minister J.C. Smuts unveiled the World War 1 Monument at the School.
- Jeppe High School for Girls – designed by Sir Herbert Baker and established in 1918.
- Kensington Bowling Club – the oldest bowling club in Johannesburg; established in 1914.
- Kensington Castle – built by Samuel Scott Wilson in 1911; a replica of the Rothesay-on-Bute Castle in Scotland.
- Kensington Sanatorium (Pink Fairy Castle) – built in 1897, maintained by French Sisters of the Holy Family Order until 1915.
- Marymount Maternity Hospital – foundation stone laid by Bishop W.P. Whelan in 1954 and maintained by Dominican nuns.
- Rhodes Park – named after Sir Cecil John Rhodes (1853 – 1902).
- Scott House – the first concrete house in South Africa. Built by Robert William Scott 1916 – 1926.
- Scottish Horse Memorial – erected in memory of the officers and men who died during the South African Anglo-Boer War in 1901-1902.
The Kensington Walk
Thee are various walks in the suburb and there are weekly outdoor activities in Rhodes Park.
The ‘Kensington- A Walk Through Living History’ takes place on the 2nd Sunday morning of the month at 8H30. The Group meets at the Kensington Bowling Club car-park (Ivanhoe Street, off Roberts Avenue, Kensington, Johannesburg). Join in for a pleasant 2-hour walk.
Kensington on Facebook
You may wish to join and follow one or more of the many Kensington Groups and pages on Facebook:
Ilka Kensington Heritage; Kensington – A Walk Through Living History; Kensington and Surrounds, Kensington Bowling Club; Kensington Garden Club; Kensington Urban Projects; Kensington Residents and Ratepayers Association; Let’s Make Kensington and Surrounding Areas Great Again; We Love Kensington.
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