History of Richmond’s people

2009-09-08 00:00

THE history of Richmond has been captured for posterity in the writings of author Charmian Coulson.

Speaking to me about Richmond Natal – Its People and History, which has recently been reprinted by Intrepid Printers, Coulson said it had been a massive project.

“You never think about what you’re creating when you start out, but it’s such a wonderful reward seeing it come into being,” she added.

The book started life as a history of the Byrne Settlers from Britain, which the Federation of Women’s ­Institutes wanted collected for ­area annals. That early work was ­conducted by Alice Hope, with the assistance of Coulson, who said she had offered “in a weak moment” to help her compile information about the Byrne Settlers from her side of Richmond.

After Hope died, Coulson continued the work, interviewing older members of the community. She also got artists living in the area to make sketches of the fauna and flora. But it wasn’t until a Mrs Venter came to Richmond that she thought of compiling a book. That first ­edition sold some 1 000 copies.

And, now, thanks to the support of the Richmond Museum board of trustees, Mondi and Intrepid Printers, a second, revised edition is ­being made available.

“We were total greenhorns at producing a book and had no idea how important proofreading was, so there were some errors in the first edition — for example, I acknowledged the wrong printer and got some family trees wrong,” Coulson said.

Among those who will be receiving copies of her book are schools in the area. “School children use the book as part of their local history studies,” Coulson explained, “but there are about 35 schools in disadvantaged areas who don’t have easy access to the copy of the book in the local library. This is a good opportunity to provide them with their own copies.”

Richmond Natal – Its People and History, which will be available from the end of September, will be ­officially launched at the Richmond Museum on October 3.



• home to the oldest consecrated Anglican Church in KZN.

• was the site of the first girls’ boarding school in KZN.

• has the oldest tennis club in South Africa.

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