Cottesloe lies to the West of the city centre surrounded by Auckland Park, Vrededorp and Wits University. It was named by a former Minister of Lands, Dr. Adam Jameson, after a Western Australian town situated some 11km south-west of Perth. (South African Place Names – Peter E Raper). Cottesloe is perhaps better known for the Egoli Gas Works, which cannot be missed when driving in the area, with its huge black gas tanks and the intriguing derelict buildings that stand alongside them. These works were inaugurated in 1929 on what was considered to be the perfect site as it was out of town but within reach of its consumers, after the original gas works in Newtown closed in 1928 having opened in 1892; it is also deemed to be one of the most historical and architecturally significant sites in Johannesburg.
I was fortunate enough to explore parts of the old gas works building at the launch of the book “The Johannesburg Gas Works” which was comprehensively put together by Monika Laufarts and Judith Mavunganidze. (This book is available from http://www.fourthwallbooks.com)
However, it’s what occupies a bit of the old gasworks on the south side of the site that keeps me coming back to Cottesloe – the Liebermann Pottery which was established by Sammy and Mary Liebermann on their return to Johannesburg, from London, as trained ceramicists in 1954. Originally it was a home based studio producing a range of traditional tableware and dinnerware (which was Sammy’s forte) and picture ceramic tiles (ably done by Mary). Unfortunately, this is the only bit of history that I’ve managed to find on this establishment.
I love coming here with it’s overstocked shelves of all things ceramic – all in beautiful patterns and colours. The outside is also overflowing with vibrant coloured flower pots and one can’t help but be tempted to get something to take home. Besides that, from the outside area you get another view of the old gasworks building – there is something quite fascinating about this structure. (www.liebermannpottery.net)
Also in Cottesloe is the University of Johannesburg Bunting Road Campus, which holds regular art exhibitions in the FADA Gallery (Faculty of Art Design and Architecture). Join their Facebook page to keep up to date with what, and when, exhibitions are on.