A fashionable day on the beach
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TODAY’S picture of old Durban comes from a postcard and shows the beachfront soon after it was opened in 1906.
The Beach Hotel seen in the picture was one of the first hotels that opened on the beachfront, which was then called Back Beach, the main beach area being in the harbour at the time. The Marine Parade, or Durban’s Golden Mile, had not been built yet, only coming with the removal of the dunes in 1910. You could literally walk from the Beach Hotel on to the dunes and the beach.
The Durban residents enjoying the beach are all dressed up in their finest with ladies reclining on deck chairs in long skirts with their beach hats and parasols, and the fashionable gents of the day in their smart shoes, with canes and straw bashers.
The scene is a very different one today, both in terms of dress and the architecture, with the beach quiet when our photographer shot the scene earlier this month on a beautiful, bright and clear Monday morning. The Beach Hotel, which closed as a hotel last year, has had a fresh coat of paint is believed to be being prepared for student accommodation.
The Independent on Saturday