Friday, June 10, 2011

Barclays Bank, Scottish Tube and Duff Murray

I'm nearing the end of this collection of envelopes posted to the Port Elizabeth City Treasurer's Department back in 1961. However, a few gems remain.

Having lived in PE for 27 years, I've never heard the name Vialit Road Products, and judging by the phone book they are no longer here.

I found a Vialit website, which tells me the firm, founded in Braunau, Austria, in 1928, had subsidiaries around the globe. The name is derived from the Latin word for road and the Greek word for stone. So the firm was always into road construction.

This one's a mystery. I googled "a.r. net die beste" to no avail. It must have been a school, but which one?

Shepherd, McDonald & Page Chartered Quantity Surveyors is neatly embossed on this envelope, but they are not in the PE phone book. And nothing comes up on google, either.

Now this takes us back to a time when the harbour was much more a part of the city than it is today. I arrived in PE after the freeways were built in the 1970s, severing the port from the people, which was a shame. I believe historic roads and buildings were lost. Quay Motor Services seems to have been on the corner of St Andrew's St and Victoria Quay. It's not in the PE phone book.

There is no Edelstein listed in the phone book, so this is another ex-company. A google search reveals several Edelsteins with PE links, however.

There is no Linton & Co listed, but plenty of Linton Grange listings. I wonder if there was a link. There is nothing about the firm on google.

Small, but with immense significance, this is the logo of a bank that for most of my life was part of the landscape, but then it disappeared. Where to? Of course Wikipedia has a wealth of info about Barclays, which was established in London in, wait for it, 1690. My quest has revealed that, of course, it became First National Bank in the 1980s. But how did it get there? Well it seems the Eastern Province Bank, established in Grahamstown in 1838, claims to be the oldest bank in SA. There is also a connection with a Boer republic National Bank of SA Ltd, established in the late 19th century. After many changes and mergers, it seems Barclays Bank was established in SA in 1925, acquiring the "National" in 1971. Due to disinvestment, Barclays withdrew in 1986. The resultant local buy-out was called First National Bank. Curiously, Barclays reinvested substantially in 2005 when Barclays UK bought a 56.4% of Absa.

Fraser's Quarries also seems to have quit PE as it is not in the phone book. While there is a UK-based quarry by this name, I doubt it is linked.

And what of the Scottish Tube Company of SA? Well it's not in the phone book. A google search reveals plenty of sites dealing with this firm in Glasgow, Scotland. It seems it made wrought-iron and steel tubes for gas and water fittings. But I could find no SA links.

As mentioned in an earlier posting, Volkskas Bank was subsumed in the creation of Absa. Wikipedia says it was formed in 1934 as a cooperative loan bank, becoming a commercial bank in 1941. It became part of Absa in 1991.

Derick and Owen Frye, wholesalers, are not in the PE phone book, so have probably folded. A google search of course provides a welter of firms with the Frye name.

Duff Murray also is no longer listed in the PE phone book. I wonder what they did? But wait, I did find this company on the Web in a business directory, at 8 Boswell St, North End. But there is no info on it, except that they are apparently paint merchants. There is also a Duff Murray Enterprises in Ontario, Canada.


  1. Hi there
    Derick Frye was my father and Owen, my uncle.
    They had D&O Frye Furniture and then joined up with Starke and moved to Cape Town in 1960 to form Frystark Furniture.
    Afcol took them over in 1974, however one of my brothers, Malcolm, has continued as Frye Furniture in Cape Town.
    Interestingly enough, both the Pollocks, Peter and Graeme, worked for Frye furniture in P.E.
    Our various families now are very much alive and kicking from here to Aussie and the Caribbean.
    Warm regards

    Neil Frye

  2. Hi there! Interesting site. AR "Net die beste" is the Andrew Rabie Skool - still in Perridgevale - different shield.