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General Post Office
Johannesburg, Gauteng

DEPARTEMENT PUBLIEKE WERKEN - ZUID-AFRIKAANSCHE REPUBLIEK: Architect
Sytze Wopkes WIERDA: Chief Architect
Johannes Egbertus VIXSEBOXSE: Architect Original design
Henry Charles Phillips WERNER: Design Architect 1897
Mattheus Carel August MEISCHKE: Contractor
Wilfred Wiseman TONKIN: Design Architect 1905

Date:1897 : 1905
Type:Post Office
Status:Derelict

 


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Coordinates:
26°12'15.37" S 28°02'32.27" E Alt: 1774m

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Also called the Rissik Street Post Office or the Third Post Office. The Second Post Office was temporary accommodation while this one was being constructed on the site of the First Post Office designed by J LINDHORST.

POST OFFICE, JOHANNESBURG. – This magnificent block has only been erected recently in Rissik Street, between Market and President Streets, when it was found that the resources of the old Post Office in Joubert Street was getting overtaxed by the huge and constantly increasing mass of correspondence to and from the Rand.

(Anon, c. 1899. Picturesque South Africa - An album of Photographic Views. Cape Town: Dennis Edwards & Co. p 166.)

This building was originally designed by JE VIXSEBOXSE under S WIERDA. The original design was considered too ornate and a new design was done by HCP WERNER. Construction work began around 1896 under the supervision of M Meischke and A Reid. The foundation stone was laid on 27 January 1897 by J van Apphen, the Postmaster General. In 1905 a fourth storey and clock tower were added in accordance with a design by the architect W TONKIN. The Post Office is the only noteworthy existing government building in Johannesburg dating from the time of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, and reflects the architectural style of the period.

In 1999 two fires destroyed the interior of the building and the majority of the remaining historical elements. The roof was replaced in 2011 through insurance compensation, but the building was not made water-tight which has resulted in continuous and ongoing degeneration. (Bakker et al 2014:147)


Writings about this entry

Bakker, Karel A, Clarke, Nicholas J & Fisher, Roger C. 2014. Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens : A shared Dutch built heritage in South Africa. Pretoria: Visual Books. pg 78, 146, 147
Benjamin, Arnold. 1979. Lost Johannesburg. Johannesburg: Macmillan South Africa (Publishers) (Pty) Ltd. pg 68, 69 ill
Chipkin, Clive M. 1993. Johannesburg Style - Architecture & Society 1880s - 1960s. Cape Town: David Phillip. pg 20, 21 ill, 84 ill, 85, 138
Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 132
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pg 323, 324 ill,
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pg 149
Richardson, Deidré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pg 192
van der Waal, Gerhard-Mark. 1987. From Mining Camp to Metropolis - The buildings of Johannesburg 1886-1940. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pg 55, 56 ill, 57, 63, 85, 106, 107, 112, 127, 175, 176