Goodwood’s rich 111-year heritage

The City wants to sell the 2000m² plot, in De Villiers Avenue.

According to historical records, Goodwood is named after a famous racecourse in Sussex, England, as the founders intended to make it a racing centre which was constructed but later abandoned after one meeting.

Former mayor of Goodwood Louwtjie Rothman said the area’s rich history dates back to the 1880s, according to research undertaken by Reverend Johan Wepener from the Dutch Reformed Church.

His findings are based on the dates on tombstones at Woltemade Cemetery in Mailtland.

“This means that houses were already built in the area during the turn of the century. However, Goodwood was only proclaimed a town in 1905 and its centenary was celebrated in 2005.

“The first railway station sprung up in 1905 and today there are several in the municipal area, namely Goodwood, Vasco and Elsies River. According to Mr Rothman, 81 Fitzroy Street, which he owns along with several other properties in the area, is one of the oldest houses in Goodwood.

“The house was built by the late Wilfred Combrink in 1904. The house still has its original corrugated iron fencing made from lead, which was imported from England,” he said.

Mr Rothman has been a resident of Goodwood since 1933 after his parents moved from Tamboerskloof to the area.

“I was three months old and we settled at 80 Surrey Street, which is now the well-known school clothing retailer Rothmans.”

His father Elias Rothman, whose nickname was “Jassie”, built the house in 1933 and opened an account for the business with Standard Bank on Tuesday December 8, 1936.

“The business was originally called Laurence Villa Shoe Store. The land cost my father 50 pounds and he was allowed to trade from it as there were no regulations governing it during those days. There was no municipality at that time only a village management board and they then gave him the right to trade from the plot,” he explained.

Goodwood, which is situated 11 kilometres from the city centre, officially became a municipality in 1938.

Mr Rothman told the Northern News that he joined his father’s business in 1951 and, along with his wife Stella, has run the shop since 1961.

“After we started as a shoe store there was a demand for cigarettes, groceries, clothing and bed linen, especially during World War II during which you could not buy soap, electric bulbs, cutlery and bed sheeting. We then became a negosie winkel (bric-a-brac) and our original name fell away because people would never call it by its name but rather say: ‘We buy from the Rothmans’,” said Mr Rothman.

He said in the 80 years of Rothmans existence, it’s never been in overdraft with Standard Bank.

As Goodwood expanded, it extended northwards and between 1944 and 1946, the townships of Elsies River and Monte Vista were included, as well as Edgemead in 1969.

However, Apartheid’s Group Area’s Act and its forced removals resulted in a mass exodus of black people from the community.

“The apartheid laws forced people of colour to move out of Goodwood, especially from the Acres. The name relates to the plots being an acre in size. White farmers used to farm mainly pigs and when farming was no longer profitable, they rented plots of land to coloured families. People were forced out in their hundreds and we as a white family were devastated as many of them bought items on our books and we lost a lot of money,” said Mr Rothman.

As Goodwood grew, it became ideal for industrial development with over 70 sectors including furniture, clothing, food products and earth-moving equipment being established, predominantly in Elsies River.

The octogenarian told the Northern News that in Goodwood property prices escalate at a rapid pace.

“Economically it is still the same. The only thing that is very upsetting is the rate of crime.

“They stole my generator and overhead wires twice and sometimes I feel like I’m living in a jail and the criminals are walking the streets.

“If I had to live my life over again I would like to go to school in Goodwood; I’d love to be a businessman in Goodwood and I would like to serve the public in Goodwood. Most importantly I would also still marry the same woman again,” he chuckled.

Information sourced from www.sahistory.org.za and
www.sahra.org.za