Station: Repairing Mahatma Gandhi landmark

2008-07-07 00:00

At long last, workmen repair the leaking roof on the historic Pietermaritzburg Railway Station building. However, a passerby last Friday was horrified to see the builders remove the old tiles from the roof and drop them one by one to the ground where they smashed.

He asked why the ‘antique’ tiles were not being preserved and re-used. Ros Devereux from heritage body Amafa said most of the tiles were not 100 years old and many had been replaced over the years, with a large section redone in 1990. Devereux was pleased to hear that Transnet have started repairing the roof.

She said it was badly damaged by hail and water had been pouring into the interior, causing the woodwork to rot.

Staff had to stop working in sections considered unsafe. Devereux believes this is the start of a bigger revamp of the entire building, which is a major tourism site in the city.

It is an example of fine Victorian architecture and the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off a train in the 1890s for sitting in a whites-only first class carriage.

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