Then and Now: Lewis’ Garage, Playfair Road
Playfair Road was laid out in about 1930 after Old Fort Road had been extended beyond Kingsmead Cricket Ground to the beachfront in the 1920s. It was named after Mr AC Playfair who organised visits of underprivileged children for holidays at the “Star” Seaside Home at Ocean Beach. In 1931, it was the only building in Playfair Road.
By the end of that year, Lewis had opened his new garage on the other side of the road. Apart from the petrol station he also seems to have sold second-hand cars and carried out repairs. The first photo dates from about 1934, when Lewis sold the garage to a Mr Armstrong.
Renamed Armstrong’s Garage, it operated there until the early 1940s, when it closed. The premises stood vacant for a while until Myhill Garage opened there in the 1940s. It was still there in the 1960s. Today, Caltex Garage operates from 30 Playfair Road.
The original Seaside Home was later demolished and replaced by a larger, modern building which has since been vandalised. The eThekwini Municipality is currently attempting to evict illegal squatters in a lengthy legal proceeding.
Some of the commemorative plaques can still be seen in the entrance foyer, including one celebrating the contributions of 118 schools in 1980, when the Fund turned 70. Another lists the names of major donors to the Fund over the years.
The Independent on Saturday