The Holy Trinity church from a 1959 picture sent to parishioners with a Christmas card soon after the Berea landmark opened.
The Holy Trinity church from a 1959 picture sent to parishioners with a Christmas card soon after the Berea landmark opened.

Then & Now – Holy Trinity Catholic Church

By Frank Chemaly Time of article published Aug 14, 2021

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THE old picture this week features Durban’s Holy Trinity Catholic Church, on the corner of Musgrave and St Thomas roads. It was posted on the Facebook site Durban Down Memory lane by John Kennedy, who said it was a 1959 photo sent with a Christmas card from parish priest Fr John Gannon.

The church’s original parishioners attended mass at the chapel at Maris Stella School until the congregation grew too big for the building. The land was bought in 1953 for £9 000, while the building took five years to complete, at a cost of £52 000. Archbishop Denis Hurley chose the name of the church and laid the foundation stone when the church was consecrated in 1958.

The architects were Woodrow and Collingwood, with Collingwood later joining the church as a priest. The building is of modern basilica design with a corner tower. It has angled fins running the length of the nave directing light towards the altar. The walls are stone-clad and noted for their mosaic finishes. There is a chapel on either side of the altar, the St Mary’s Chapel and the St Joseph’s Chapel.

Holy Trinity Church today. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/ African News Agency (ANA)

The building on the other corner is Tinsley House, which was then a residential block of flats but is today commercial property. The car in the foreground under the jacaranda tree is a Ford Prefect. In the background behind the church you can see Observatory Court.

In our photographer Shelley Kjondstad’s picture taken last week, it would appear little has changed, yet Musgrave Road and the Berea would be almost unrecognisable some 60 years later.

The Independent on Saturday

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