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Bulawayo’s changing skyline - Part 1

Bulawayo’s changing skyline - Part 1

Bulawayo’s changing skyline
Bulawayo’s changing skyline
ROB BURRETT

Situated at the southeast corner of Main Street and 8th Avenue, Bulawayo, Scott’s Building was one of several buildings constructed in the early years of Bulawayo, which were embellished with imported, prefabricated multi-storey cast-iron verandas. 
 

These verandas were a characteristic feature of late Victorian architecture throughout the Empire - a relatively cheap means of making something dignified from what were otherwise plain brick buildings. Ordered from Scotland and the English Midlands, ready-made kits were despatched as ballast on outgoing ships.
 

Scott’s Building was built in 1901 in the closing stages of the Second Anglo-Boer War. The conflict interrupted rail traffic southward and placed a major burden on developers at the time. Most inputs were imported and the shortages escalated prices significantly. Compounding this, there was an acute shortage of skilled artisans as most had enlisted to fight.

As was tradition at the time, the simple iron roof was hidden behind an ornate parapet. Like a lady’s ankles, the roof was something not shown in late Victorian society! A notable feature of Scott’s Building was the crown-like embellishments capping the parapet.
 

The building consisted of small, dark premises used initially as company offices, as well as the Chambers of J E Scott - Bulawayo’s first attorney. Later the building was dominated by various public offices, including the Departments of Public Works, Lands, Mines, Customs, the Prime Minister’s Office and at one stage the Bulawayo & District Publicity Office.

 

Scott’s Building was demolished in 1963 to be replaced by a more modern structure better suited to the needs of its banking tenants. Grindlays Building now houses Stanbic Bank.