Monday, September 10, 2012

Long Silence - Dundee, South Africa

The only message on this mysterious card is Long silence???
The view is of Victoria Street in Dundee, South Africa, a town named by Scottish settler, Peter Smith, after his home town. Peter found coal close to the surface on his farm and started selling it while continuing to farm. Dundee later became a major coal-mining area. The first battle of the Boer War was also fought nearby.

The building on the right appears to be the Jan Johnson Masonic Hotel. In the foreground, we see a man pulling a rickshaw, a common form of transportation in South Africa at the turn of the century. Another man appears to be carrying a bicycle on his back.

But for the initials, J.E.G, we don't know who the sender was. We can see that he sent the card from the Piggs Peak Development Co. Ltd in Swaziland on the 29th of September in 1905 though. The company and the town were named after William Pigg who discovered a gold reef in the area. At the time this card was sent there many thousands of miners had emigrated from Cornwall, England to South Africa bringing their mining techniques with them. You can see a great photo of Cornish miners at Piggs Peak here.

The card's recipient was Eric F. Smith, Esquire of Barbourne College in Worcester, England. Whether the recipient is related to Peter Smith, founder of Dundee, is a mystery to me.


  1. The view could be a frontier town almost anywhere : the space, the newness of all the buildings, the straightness and wideness of the road. A perfect example of "a picture within a picture"

  2. Another card, another mystery :)
    I know this probably doesn't help in this case, as 1905 is mid-way between the census', but on it's free (at the moment) to view the 1911 census for England and Wales. :)



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