Johannesburg's growth

Johannesburg now has a cathedral and is a city. It continues to grow in stature, and several large projects come to fruition. Rand Airport, built as Johannesburg’s main airport, is opened in 1931. Although the city outgrows it by the 1940s, it remains a popular airport and even in 1975 is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Johannesburg library, built on Market Square, opens in 1933. The Italianate-style building is a far cry from the library’s first corrugated iron structure, erected in 1893.

In 1936, the Empire Exhibition, to mark Johannesburg’s golden jubilee, is staged on ground that is now part of the University of the Witwatersrand west campus. Attractions include an art deco tower built by the Victoria Falls and Transvaal Power Company (now Eskom), pavilions dedicated to gold mining and to other industries, and a photographic exhibition. The Schlesinger African Air Race from England to Johannesburg, which is intended to promote the exhibition, is a bit of a flop: only one aircraft manages to finish and to win the substantial £10 000 prize.

In 1937 the then tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, the Anstey’s Building, a 20-storey art deco edifice, is opened. Originally a department store, today it is used for accommodation, and includes a medical centre and other businesses.