Hillbrow, or the Brow, once described as the healthiest and most fashionable suburb in Johannesburg, was part of Randjeslaagte, an unwanted and worthless piece of barren land. It was residual land left over after the farms Braamfontein, Turffontein, Doornfontein and Langlaagte were surveyed before gold was discovered. The early days and development of the suburb is captured in the fascinating book Hillbrow, by Paddi Clay and liberally illustrated with photographs by Glynn Griffiths. It is on offer per online auction at www.jellyfishtree.com. It gives a detailed account of the history of the suburb, its interesting people and its bohemian lifestyle. Everything changed when gold was discovered in 1886. Randjeslaagte was in the centre of the gold diggings and in time became the site of the township which in turn became the city of Johannesburg, with Hillbrow at the northern apex. There is a vast difference between the Hillbrow of 1895, when residential stands in the area were auctioned...

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