The dunes were cleared on Durban’s beachfront between 1906 and 1909 and for many years the Beach Hotel was the only one on what was then known as Back Beach.
Poet Roy Campbell, in his autobiography Light on a Dark Horse recalls ‘playing there when it was a mass of Dunes, with only one tin shanty of a so-called hotel made of wood and iron’. It charged 10/6 a day for full board.
The picture on the left was more than likely taken shortly before World War I. The second picture shows the new Beach Hotel and was probably taken in the late1950s or 1960s.
Since 1968, Gooderson Leisure has been running the Beach Hotel, except for a short period between 2012 and 2015. It had a major refurbishment recently.
Our photographer Bongani Mbatha shot the current picture of the hotel this week.
Alan Gooderson was one of the first to introduce live entertainment at the beachfront with the establishment of The Cockney Pride in 1970. It boasted Edgar Addler on the honky tonk and on Thursday evenings there was a yard of ale competition. The record was 7.5 seconds. The pub cost R7000 to build and in its first month boasted turnover of R20000.