When she opened her doors in 1937, the Anstey’s Building in Jo’burg city centre was the tallest in the country. And the talk of the City of Gold. You can imagine the excitement — a full 20 floors that included luxury apartments and offices, perched gracefully atop the glamorous Norman Anstey & Co department store. The who’s who flocked to buy fancy groceries from the store’s food hall and be spotted at its tea room. They ogled the swankiest fashion from New York, Paris and London on show in specially designed shopfronts (the windows were curved to prevent reflections) and marvelled at the structure’s sheer modernity. At a time when Jo’burg was known as "Little New York", thanks to a slew of new art deco buildings, this was the flagship. The lobbies were lined in birdseye maple, human mannequins sauntered around the tea terrace displaying the hottest haute couture and the "skyscraper" even had electric lifts! Have you ever? This year, the grand dame of Johannesburg buildings turns 80...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now