Hepworths Ltd were tailors, clothiers and outfitters based in Salisbury.
- Sean Burke
Hepworths Ltd were tailors, clothiers and outfitters based in Salisbury.
The London and Rhodesian Mining & Land Co Ltd (Lonrho) was incorporated in 1909. The business began in Rhodesia as mainly a mining and agricultural business. By the 1960’s the company was struggling.
In 1961, Roland Rowlands took on a strategy to transform the company into a worldwide conglomerate. His introduction was introduced to Lonrho through the Honorable Angus Ogilvy, husband to Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, and the director of the company. Ogilvy recruited Rowland, convinced that the 44-year-old mining consultant could turn around the company’s struggles.
Once named a managing director, Rowland moved quickly to expand the company’s interests, using his own portfolio of African holdings as a map for Lonrho’s expansion and diversification. The company’s involvement in mining and ranching was deepened, and forays into automobile and oil distribution were made. Concurrently, the geographic scope of the company was widened considerably until it embraced nearly all of the African continent. Expansion took Lonrho out of Rhodesia, north of the Limpopo River, and into neighboring Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Zaire, and Tanzania, transforming the company into an African conglomerate without rival.
In 1998, the company split it’s mining activities into Lomin.
Bhimjee Ranchhodjee Naik (b.1879) was the first Indian to establish a trading licence at Umtali in 1898. The licence was only obtained through the intervention of the High Commissioner, Sir Alfred Milner, after European traders fiercely opposed an Indian being granted a licence. The matter, with the assistance of Mahatma Ghandi, ended up in the House of Commons where Indians were declared British subjects and allowed to have a licence.
On January 3rd, 1899, European traders broke open the doors of Naik’s store and demanded he leave immediately for Macequece in Portuguese East Africa. The military eventually was called and the Administrator was wired. The Administrator declared the actions of the Europeans illegal. The outcome was the beginning of Indian trade in Southern Rhodesia.
Naik went on to open branches in Gwelo, Seluwke and Salisbury. However, in 1908 the Southern Rhodesia Government drafted a bill stopping further immigration of Indians into Southern Rhodesia, and registration of all Indians currently in the country. Naik attempted to influence changes to the bill as the President of the British Indian Association but this was overturned by the High Commissioner in South Africa.
Naik left Rhodesia in 1912 but never returned. His businesses continued to be run by his managers.
Scanlen & Holderness, was founded by Sir Thomas Scanlen (b.1834). Scanlen first set foot in Rhodesia in September 1894. For the previous twenty years he had been one of the most prominent personalities in the Cape. He had been a Member of Parliament from 1870 to 1895 and a Cabinet Minister for much of that time. He had been Prime Minister of the Cape from 1881 to 1884 and then the leader of the opposition for five years after stepping down as Premier.
During Scanlen’s premiership, a cabinet reshuffle took place bringing Cecil John Rhodes into Scanlen’s Ministry, as Treasurer. This event created the link, which eventually brought Scanlen up to Rhodesia in August 1894. In 1894 Rhodes offered Sir Thomas the appointment of Chief Legal Officer in Rhodesia. He was made Legal Advisor to the British South Africa Company and started his own legal firm.
The firm of Scanlen and Syfret commenced business in Salisbury in October 1894. Sir Thomas was only admitted as an attorney in Rhodesia on 5 November 1894, at the first High Court Session to be held in Salisbury presided over by Judge Joseph Vincent. Sir Thomas took up full time involvement with the Chartered Company in 1898, his son, Arthur Dennison Scanlen, who had completed his law degree at Oxford University, joined his father’s firm.
James Edmund Holderness was taken on by Arthur Scanlen as a professional assistant on 1 January 1906. He had served articles with Frames and Coghlan in Bulawayo. In 1907, Holderness was invited to join Arthur Scanlen in the partnership at which time the name Scanlen & Holderness became the style under which the practice practiced.
In 1908 Sir Thomas became seriously ill with malaria and eventually passed away in Salisbury on May 15th 1912. Scanlen & Holderness carried forward the business from 1908 until the death of Arthur in 1936. Equal shares in the partnership were only achieved in 1928.
Holderness ran the firm solo until he was later joined by Rhodes Scholar, Pat Lewis, whose father had been Chief Justice and whose father was to be a Judge of Appeals, and Hardwicke Holderness and Pat Lewis. Pat and Hardwicke were to be the foundation upon which was built the next half century of legal service and practice by Scanlen & Holderness.
The practice continues today in Zimbabwe.
Medical work began at Mount Selinda in the mission’s first year with the opening of a dispensary by Dr. W. L Thompson in 1893. It was the first permanent missionary medical mission staffed by a medical doctor in Southern Rhodesia. The dispensary became a full-fledged hospital in 1912. Dr. Willis H. Willis, who succeeded Dr. Thompson, began a three-year training course for African nurses in 1930 with seven initial nursing students.
In the mid-1930’s, the hospital received a generous gift from Dr. Willis F. Pierce which made possible a much needed addition to hospital. It was renamed the “William F. Pierce Memorial Hospital” in his honor. Between 1930 and 1936, in-patients treated as the hospital grew from 96 to 858, including 57 surgical operations. There were another 1,689 out patients in that year.
In addition to Doctors Thompson and Willis, other missionary medical staff includes Dr. William T. Lawrence (served at both Mount Selinda and Chikore); Minnie A. Tontz (later Mrs. Lawrence, nurse); Gertrude H. Merrill (nurse); Theresa R. Buck, R.N., (at both Mount Selinda and Chikore); Dr. Victor Master (1948-51); Dr. Kirk Stetson (1956-73); Dr. Donaldson (1958-61); Dr. Alma Cooke (1958-61); Dr. Almarose Cooke (later Mrs. Gordon Wordon); and Dr. Selwyn Spray (deported in 1976 for aiding “African Freedom Fighters”). The first African doctor joined the hospital in 1982.
Today, Mount Selinda’s medical facilities consist of the Mount Selinda Hospital and School of Nursing.
John Walter-Soper (popularly known as Jack Soper) was a Londoner born in October 1876, came to Southern Rhodesia via South Africa and settled in Victoria Falls in 1905 where he got his first job as a toll collector at the Victoria Falls Bridge.
In 1906, the toll on the bridge was abolished and he resorted to being the guard at the scenic bridge. In 1908, his friend, Mr Watson took him to Australia considering that he would brighten his life prospects.
Alas, in 1909 he was back in Victoria Falls and started developing interest in trapping wild animals and domesticating them; baboons, leopards and crocodiles mainly. He was an expert in crocodile habits which saw him dubbed the ‘Crocodile King’. In 1910, he opened a curio shop within the Railway Reserve next to Clark’s Curios.
Soper, together with another resident, is recorded as among the first to descend into the bottom of the Falls chasm down the front face of the Falls, at Livingstone Island. He was a close friend of Ted Spencer. He died in 1953.
Mount Silinda Training and Practicing School
Arlene R. Mather founded the Mount Silinda Training and Practicing School (also known simply as the “Training School”) in 1918 by consolidating the Industrial Department, Agricultural Department, Bible School, and “normal school” (teacher training). There was also a “practicing school” consisting of a primary school and kindergarten used by the student teachers to “practice” their teaching.
Educating local teachers was essential to the growth and development of “out-station” schools in neighbouring villages (kraals), which were staffed by teachers educated at Mount Silinda. Initially the school was housed in two buildings – a two-story brick building used for the school and boys dormitory and a second building for the girls boarding department.
A number of missionaries served at the school during the time it was called by that name. In addition to Mather, other school principals included Emory D. Alvord (also in charge of the agricultural department), Ivy E. Craig (acting Principal as of 1928) and Samuel J. Curtis (as of 1929). Other staff members included Arthur J. Orner (Industrial Department); Richard B. Hack (Industrial Department); Mabel E. Larkins (teacher), and Louise F. Torrence (teacher –as of 1930).
In 1930, enrollment in the training school (vocational and agricultural departments) was 85; there were 57 student teachers in teacher training; and 382 students in the practising school (primary school and kindergarten). Beginning in 1931, the schools, including departments, became known as Mount Selinda Institute.
R. Chitrin & Co. was established by Chaim Raphael Chitrin (1867-1933). Chitrin was a Jewish Russian who arrived in Rhodesia c.1908. He began as an independent merchant and by 1911 appears to have been trading as Chitrin & Treger in Shangani.
Chitrin’s daughter, Rebecca, was married to Morris Treger who would go on to establish Monarch Steel. Chitrin established R. Chitrin & Co. in Bulawayo.
In 2006, the company was acquired by Red Star Wholesalers Limited. On 30th September, 2011, the company entered voluntary administration.
Soon after Mount Silinda Mission (later Mount Selinda) was established, in keeping with the thinking of the time, it was decided to put an emphasis on “industrial” (vocational) training. At various times over the years, the Industrial department operated a sawmill, and taught courses in carpentry (making and selling furniture), construction/building, brick making, leatherwork, metalwork and agriculture. The department served three purposes: educational; helping to construct mission buildings and supply necessary equipment for the work of other departments; and generating revenue in support of the mission.
Columbus C. (C.C.) Fuller began the Industrial Department upon his arrival in 1902. To lay the department’s foundation, he arranged to have a “traction engine” (self-propelled steam engine) and corresponding machinery hauled by ox teams from Beira, Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) – a trek of over 200 miles! “Breakage of some portions of the machinery and the detention of other portions on the way caused delay, but after months of hard work” the steam engine was used to help construct a sawmill which opened just a year after Fuller arrived at the mission.
By 1908, despite ill health that “prevented Mr. Fuller from securing the development of the industrial department, as had been his hope,” the department had helped build the girls dormitory, a hospital, put a printing press into operation and make over 200,000 bricks. Beginning in 1909, the Industrial department was headed by Arthur J. Orner. Sidney F. Dart joined in 1911.
The Industrial Department was incorporated into the Mount Silinda Training and Practicing School beginning 1918.
1891 – 1955
Mabel E. Larkins was born Oneida Castle, New York in 1891. She graduated from a teacher training school in 1911 and taught in New York for 11 years. She was appointed a missionary with the American Board of Commissions in 1922, traveling to Southern Rhodesia to teach at the Mount Silinda Training and Practicing School (later Mount Selinda Institute). As of 1927, Miss Larkins was acting Principal.
In 1932 she married Richard B. Hack, who was born in South Africa and was associated with the mission. Mrs. Hack continued to teach at Mount Selinda for over 30 years until her death in Umtali, Southern Rhodesia on November 2nd, 1955.