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Still a Berea landmark

Lowry’s Corner on Durban’s Berea in 1992, soon after it was restored.

Lowry’s Corner on Durban’s Berea in 1992, soon after it was restored.

Published Apr 23, 2022

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Durban - The old picture this week takes in a Berea landmark and was published on Page 10 of the Mercury on February 19, 1992. The caption reads: “The reinstated Lowry’s Corner building on the corner of Durban’s Musgrave and Silverton roads.”

It doesn’t state why it was reinstated, but perhaps that should actually be read as restored.

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Based at 95 Musgrave Road, Lowry’s Corner has a long history as a Berea icon.

The original property was bought by James Taylor Lowry which lay on both sides of Silverton Road between Musgrave and Essenwood (today Stephen Dlamini) roads.

The first homestead ‒ at 73 Musgrave Road and today a set of medical rooms ‒ erected on the property was a late Victorian two-storey villa.

The first homestead ‒ at 73 Musgrave Road and today a set of medical rooms ‒ erected on the property was a late Victorian two-storey villa with ornate lacy timber verandas on both floors. It had two front French doors with etched panels and art nouveau coloured glass. It was designed by P Piekes for Mrs Lydia Lowry in the 1890s.

Lowry's Corner at the corner of Musgrave and Silverton roads today. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)

It was the next generation, one William Lowry, who was responsible for the design of Lowry’s Corner. Built in the distinct Berea style, it would have been erected in the 1920s or 30s, long before its neighbour, the Musgrave Centre, in 1953.

Initially it was a convenience and grocery store. Local historian Gerald Buttigieg says the building was later bought by the Natal Building Society and later become a Nedbank branch. It is a protected building.

In Facts About Durban, Josephine Andersen remembers it as a tea room that sold almost anything in the way of groceries. “They would deliver to your home if you were not able to collect your order. I did not have my own car at the time and we lived in a flat about two kilometres away and my husband called me to say he was bringing some colleagues home for supper. I called and they delivered a chicken to my flat for roasting,” she writes.

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Also on Facts About Durban, Neil Barnes remembers it as the Natal Building Society next door to the Musgrave Centre. “I went into it quite often. An old woman lived nearby in a large double-storey house and was reputed to own over 50 small dogs, she was quite well known for taking her dogs for walks along Musgrave Road,” he writes. It’s not known whether the woman was Lydia Lowry herself.

In today’s picture taken by Shelley Kjonstad, Lowry’s Corner is still standing neat and proud, the home of a home loan company. Little has changed in the intervening 30 years on the actual corner, although Silverton Road looks very different. Today Musgrave Road is today one-way heading south.

The Independent on Saturday

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Related Topics:

Architecture

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