ALBERTON held a reputation of being a ‘dry’ town,. Known to be devoutly Christian, the town’s lack of an outlet for spirituous liquor earned it a reputation for being somewhat stick-in-the-mud and certainly teetotal.
Although there was no bottle store, their had been both beer and wine available in the town since the early days, and believe it or not, this in a classroom which doubled as a billiard room and beer hall when school was out.
Wine was brought from the Cape in casks and then resold to customers, but anything stronger than wine and beer had to be fetched by bicycle or on horseback from Germiston. That changed in 1939 when Mr Walker obtained the first and only liquor licence. A year later the fully licensed New Market Hotel opened in Voortrekker Road, putting an end to Alberton’s reputation as a temperance town. New Market Hotel was situated on the corner of Voortrekker Road and Redruth Street, on the corner where Ford Armstrong is today.
*A major step toward recreation was the purchase of a portion of Elandsfontein on behalf of the Reading Country Club. There was a swimming pool and dance hall at the Windsor Park Country Club which was taken over by the Health Committee in 1934, and later renamed Grewar Park and the Golf Club in Germiston.
However, National Socialism in Germany was growing more aggressive and repercussions were felt across the world. An Alberton resident applied for membership at the Germiston Golf Club was turned down because he was Jewish and so Reading Country Club came into being when a group of determined Jewish gentlemen decided they wanted a bit of relaxation and some healthy exercise. It was no mean feat, requiring some 250 founder members contributing 60 pounds each – a staggering sum in comparison to the entire Eeufees celebrations where the cost of 31 pounds had to be funded.
(History of the Club in our first edition)
*Another first was the cinema erected by Mr Joffe – a touch of Hollywood in Alberton. For the duration of World War II the entire takings from Wednesdays matinees was donated to child welfare.
*Taken from An Alberton Album, published by the Alberton Town Council 1997