Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Bluff Lighthouse: Keeper's Quarters 5


The photographer W E James first emerged in Durban in 1874 operating a studio at Central West Street. By the time he took the photo of the Bell family group currently under discussion he had a studio at the Point, Natal. This is evidenced by his tradeplate on the back of the photograph. [See previous post for the group photo.]




If, as seems indicated by the handwritten note on the back of the photo, the members of the group include 'Uncle Dog' - undoubtedly an error for Uncle Douglas i.e. Douglas Bell - the picture was certainly taken before July 1899, when Douglas Bell died. So that gives a starting point from which to work back to a possible date for the photograph.

Thomas Alfred Gadsden had been Head Lighthousekeeper at the Bluff until 1880, with Douglas Bell serving as Assistant Lighthousekeeper during the 1870s. In about 1880 Thomas Alfred Gadsden was appointed Timekeeper for the Natal Harbour Board, working at the Timeball, Point. He is, however still listed in the Natal Almanac of 1880 as Head Lighthousekeeper - probably due to the time lapse in publishing the Almanac, often about a year behind. In the 1881 edition, the Keeper is listed as D Moffat, with Douglas Bell as Assistant. At that date Captain Airth is shown as Port Captain: it was due to a clash between Thomas and Captain Airth that Thomas ceased working as Head Lighthousekeeper. He continued as Timekeeper for some years, dying in October 1893. So, by the time this picture was taken, Douglas Bell was either Head Lighthousekeeper or Assistant to the new man.

The other Bell family members mentioned on the back of the photograph are 'Aunt Ellen' and 'Cousin Violet Bell'. Aunt Ellen would have been Ellen Harriet Bell, daughter of the Captain. Born in 1846, she married Edward Baxter in 1870 (her previous husband was Frederick Wise) and died in 1906. 

'Cousin Violet' was Violet Amy, daughter of Sarah Scott Bell (the latter was the third daughter of Capt and Mrs Bell and married Charles Pay in 1874). Violet was born in 1882 and married David O'Donovan in 1907. She looks to be in her teens in the photograph, so it could have been taken towards the end of the 1890s, perhaps 1897 when Violet was fifteen and before Douglas Bell died (1899). The younger girl, ignored in the handwritten note, is likely to have been Natalia Beatrice, Violet's sister, born in 1887. She could have been aged about nine or ten, to fit in with our approximate date of 1897 for the picture.

Remember that we are relying on the information provided by the handwritten note being true but there are some small inaccuracies to give us pause e.g. the misspelling of Doug, and Cousin Violet Bell's name would have been Pay not Bell.

The photograph is a cabinet print - these came into use in the 1860s and gradually supplanted the smaller cartes de visite, becoming more popular by the 1890s.

The costume worn by the ladies is not particularly typical of the late 1890s but the Bells probably did not dress in the height of fashion. Violet's hair is piled fashionably on top of her head but Ellen clings to an outmoded cap. The men appear to be wearing Tam O'Shanter hats.








Sunday, August 12, 2018

Bluff Lighthouse: Keeper's Quarters 4




Just for fun - a colour version of the restored Bell group photograph, artwork by Hartmut Jager.



Saturday, August 11, 2018

Bluff Lighthouse: Keeper's Quarters 3


Before restoration - the Bell group:featured in yesterday's post:





The original photographic print had damage to the left-hand area, making it impossible to see clearly the figure hidden there. It is a man wearing a hat and perhaps holding a telescope. The handwritten inscription on the back of the photo reads 'Uncle Dog (sic), Aunt Ellen, Cousin Violet Bell'. The tradeplate is of W E James, Photographer, The Point, Natal.




If 'Uncle Dog' is a misspelling of 'Uncle Doug' (quite likely), this group could include Douglas Bell, son of Captain William Bell. He may be the indistinct figure at far left. At that time Douglas would have been lighthousekeeper at the Bluff. The other man could have been his assistant.





'Aunt Ellen' was Ellen Harriet Bell (who married Edward Baxter, deceased by the time this photo was taken). Ellen was Captain Bell's daughter. 'Cousin Violet Bell' was the daughter of Sarah Scott Bell, Captain Bell's daughter who married Charles Pay.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Bluff Lighthouse: Keeper's Quarters 2


For a start, the structure to the right of the lighthouse (see previous post) had been there right from the day the lighthouse was opened i.e. 23 January 1867 - and it may well have been in existence prior to that. After all the lighthousekeeper (my great grandfather), once appointed, would have needed quarters before the lighthouse was officially opened. The lighthouse had been in the process of being built since the foundation stone was laid in November 1864, with the tower finally completed by October 1866. It is reasonable to suppose that the keeper's quarters would have been built by or during 1866 at least.

Looking carefully at the photograph below taken on the day of the opening, 23 January 1867, the building to the right of the lighthouse is immediately identifiable: the shape of the roof, with the chimney at the back, and the flagstaff at the front. 




A pencil drawing made much later shows the same structure to the right of the lighthouse. The other residence is that of the signalman.




This photo, after restoration,, shows what appears to be the identical structure. The picture was taken according to his tradeplate on the back by 'W E James, Photographer, the Point, Natal'. A handwritten note adds 'Uncle Dog [sic], Aunt Ellen, Cousin Violet Bell'.

More on this intriguing survival as well as the group of people in a future post. 




Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Bluff Lighthouse: Keeper's Quarters 1





The small building to the right of the lighthouse appears to be the same structure shown in various other photos - it could be the lightkeeper's quarters. Note style of windows and the latticed fence to help in identification. More photographs to follow in future posts.


Photo by Euan Dixon-Smith

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Death of the Diamond King 14 June 1897






Barney Barnato, born Barnet Isaacs, was a British Randlord, one of the entrepreneurs who gained control of diamond mining, and later gold mining, in South Africa from the 1870s. He is perhaps best remembered as being a rival of Cecil Rhodes.
Died14 June 1897, Atlantic Ocean

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Souvenir Saturday: Florida Road 1911





Florida Road, Durban, 1911
with double-decker trams


Friday, August 3, 2018

Find your relationship to others using this chart.

 
On the top row, find the relationship of one person to the common ancestor and follow the column straight down. Find the other persons relationship to the common ancestor on the left hand column and follow that row straight across. The relationship is where the projected row & column meet.
Common Ancestor
Child
Grandchild
Great Grandchild
Great Great Grandchild
Great Great Great Grandchild
Great Great Great Great Grandchild
Great Great Great Great Great Grandchild
Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandchild
Child
Sibling
Niece or Nephew
Grand Niece or Nephew
Great Grand Niece or Nephew
Great Great Grand Niece or Nephew
Great Great Great Grand Niece or Nephew
Great Great Great Great Grand Niece or Nephew
Great Great Great Great Great Grand Niece or Nephew
Grandchild
Niece or Nephew
First Cousin
First Cousin Once Removed
First Cousin Twice Removed
First Cousin Three Times Removed
First Cousin Four Times Removed
First Cousin Five Times Removed
First Cousin Six Times Removed
Great Grandchild
Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin Once Removed
Second Cousin
Second Cousin Once Removed
Second Cousin Twice Removed
Second Cousin Three Times Removed
Second Cousin Four Times Removed
Second Cousin Five Times Removed
Great Great Grandchild
Great Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin Twice Removed
Second Cousin Once Removed
Third Cousin
Third Cousin Once Removed
Third Cousin Twice Removed
Third Cousin Three Times Removed
Third Cousin FourTimes Removed
Great Great Great Grandchild
Great Great Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin Three Times Removed
Second Cousin Twice Removed
Third Cousin Once Removed
Fourth Cousin
Fourth Cousin Once Removed
Fourth Cousin Twice Removed
Fourth Cousin Three Times Removed
Great Great Great Great Grandchild
Great Great Great Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin Four Times Removed
Second Cousin Three Times Removed
Third Cousin Twice Removed
Fourth Cousin Once Removed
Fifth Cousin
Fifth Cousin Once Removed
Fifth Cousin Twice removed
Great Great Great Great Great Grandchild
Great Great Great Great Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin Five Times Removed
Second Cousin Four Times Removed
Third Cousin Three Times Removed
Fourth Cousin Twice Removed
Fifth Cousin Once Removed
Sixth Cousin
Sixth Cousin Once Removed
Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandchild
Great Great Great Great Great Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin Six Times Removed
Second Cousin Five Times Rremoved
Third Cousin FourTimes Removed
Fourth Cousin Three Times Removed
Fifth Cousin Twice Removed
Sixth Cousin Once Removed
Seventh Cousin



Hamilton Family Collage