Scottish Place Names
- Johannesburg, South Africa
For comparability with other large cities around the world, Metropolitan Johannesburg can be regarded as the Greater Johannesburg-Ekurhuleni-Mogale City area. This urban area comprises the entire Witwatersrand from Randfontein in the west to Nigel in the east, and Ennerdale in the south to Midrand in the north - an area popularly referred to simply as "The Rand" or "The Reef". Of the names of the 1,305 suburbs in this large metropolitan region, 158 (12.1%) can be found in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names or Scottish words. Of course, some of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but as many as 82 of them (6.3%) appear to be have a definite connection with Scotland, either directly or indirectly.
The picture of Johannesburg business area is via Wikipedia.
Suburbs with names that occur only in Scotland and/or are definitely, or most probably, of Scottish origin are:
- Abbotsford (the Scottish Borders residence of Sir Walter Scott - see illustration) though there is also an Abbotsford in West Sussex, England. The name of this suburb is very likely to refer to Sir Walter Scott's residence, given the strong Scottish flavour of the names of the adjoining suburbs and the fact that Scott Street is its main approach from the north-east.
- Airdlin Agricultural Holdings - there is a tiny village in Aberdeenshire called Airdlin, situated to the east of Methlick.
- Argyll (Argyll & Bute) - this small suburb in the Hospital Hill area of central Johannesburg, laid out in 1903, commemorates the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders who were encamped there for a few months whilst on their way back to Scotland after the Boer War. Argyll does not appear on more recent maps of Johannesburg and may possibly have ceased to exist as a local place name.
- Armadale (two places in Highland and one in West Lothian). It is possible that this suburb may have been named for the Union Castle mail steamer 'Armadale Castle', built in 1903.
- Atholl, Atholl Gardens, Atholhurst and Glen Atholl - Raper (1989, p. 35) states that Atholl "was presumably named in honour of the Duke of Atholl or Athole, whose title was derived from the district of that name in Perthshire, Scotland." One wonders whether the names of these suburbs were inspired by their proximity (in Johannesburg) to the suburb of Dunkeld. Dunkeld House in Perth & Kinross is the residence of the Duke of Atholl.
- Ballindean (Fife and Perth & Kinross). Ballindean, like Argyll above, does not appear on more recent maps of Johannesburg and may possibly have ceased to exist as a local place name. It was an agricultural holding during the 1970s, on the fringe of Johannesburg but appears to have been absorbed into the suburb of Randpark Ridge.
- Balmoral (Balmoral Castle, the royal residence on the river Dee in Aberdeenshire). This Boksburg suburb appears to have taken its name from that of a gold mine that was formerly located to the east.
- Beaulieu - within the British Isles this French-sounding name is found only in England and Wales. However, the origin of the name of this suburb in the far north of Johannesburg is actually Scottish according to advice received from a local citizen. Its correct pronunciation is 'Bewley'. (The little town of Beauly to the west of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands is similarly pronounced 'Bewley'.)
- Benmore Gardens (Benmore in Argyll & Bute - see illustration). This suburb presumably takes its name either from Benmore Road, which runs along its eastern boundary, or Benmore Farm, the original farm in the area. It is probably pure coincidence that the only school within its boundaries has a Scottish name - Crawford College (Sandton Campus).
- Birnam (a small town and hill in Perth & Kinross). Birnam Wood, also in Perth & Kinross, is the forest mentioned in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Smith (1971, p. 49) states that whilst there is no documented evidence of the origin of this suburb's name, a Scottish association is likely in view of the neighbouring suburbs of Abbotsford, Dunkeld and Melrose. Moreover, the village of Birnam in Scotland is barely a mile distant from Dunkeld across the River Tay. The Johannesburg suburb of Birnam dates from 1905, a year after the suburb of Dunkeld was first laid out.
- Blairgowrie (Perth & Kinross). The neighbouring suburb of Craighall (see below) also recalls Blairgowrie, Scotland.
- Brushwood Haugh Agricultural Holdings - there is a place in Glen Esk, Angus called Woodhaugh. This small semi-rural suburb near the Northgate Shopping Centre has been greatly reduced in size since the 1970s with much of its former area having been used to create the new suburb of Sundowner. Maps of Johannesburg in the 1970s show that all its streets bore Scottish names (Montrose, Drysdale, Bruce and Douglas). Together with the fact that there is a Woodhaugh in Scotland, a link with Scotland therefore seems almost a certainty. Drysdale Road and Douglas Road, in Sundowner, are still shown on modern maps but Bruce Road seems to have disappeared, leaving Brushwood Haugh with only a short section of Montrose Avenue.
- Buccleuch (Scottish Borders). The name is attributed to F.C. Gibson who established this suburb in 1938. Gibson named the suburb after his father's residence in the Cape. His father (John Alexander Gibson) had named the Cape residence after having visited the Duke of Buccleuch.
- Craighall and Craighall Park - Craighall is the name of several places in Scotland, found in Aberdeenshire, Fife, Perth & Kinross and South Lanarkshire. These townships were actually named for the place in Blairgowrie, Perth & Kinross from which the township owner, William Grey Rattray, came. Craighall and Craighall Park were established in 1902 and 1911 respectively. In 1938, William Rattray's daughter, Mrs Doris Grey McChesney, made application to establish a new suburb adjacent to Craighall, naming it Blairgowrie in memory of her late father's Scottish home (Smith, 1971).
- Delmore and Delmore Park - there is a small settlement in Moray, near Speyview, called Delmore. These suburbs lie immediately south of Balmoral (see above) and east of Germiston (see below), on land formerly owned by gold mining companies and are reminders, perhaps, of the role that Scotsmen once played in the South African gold mining industry.
- Dinwiddie - Dinwiddie is definitely a Scottish surname. One of the most famous members of this family was Robert Dinwiddie (1693-1770), the British Lieutenant Governor of the American colony of Virginia. Born near Glasgow, Governor Dinwiddie has been called the "Grandfather of the United States." Watson (1926, p. 372) mentions a Dinwoody or Dinwiddie as a place in Applegarth parish, Dumfries-shire, and he also makes mention of a Dunwedy, recorded in Ettleton parish, Roxburghshire in 1504. Neither of these places is traceable through modern Ordnance Survey maps.
- Douglasdale - the valley in South Lanarkshire in which Douglas and Douglas Castle are located. The Douglas family, descendants of William de Duglas (late 12th Century) was one of the most powerful in Scotland. According to an article retrieved from Wikipedia in October 2009, Douglasdale takes its name from a large farm that was established in 1905 by Thomas Douglas and his wife Janet Alexander, who immigrated to South Africa from Scotland in 1890. It is interesting to note that Douglasdale Drive and Alexander Avenue are among the main thoroughfares in this Sandton suburb. The other thoroughfares also have Scottish names (Galloway, Glenluce, Crawford and Leslie) in contrast to the names of ordinary roads, crescents, lanes and places, where no Scottish connections are discernible.
- Dunkeld and Dunkeld West - apparently named after the market town in Perth & Kinross, according to Smith (1971) - see Dunkeld Cathedral in the illustration. According to the Penguin Dictionary of British Place Names (2003), Dunkeld means 'fort of the Caledonians', a reference to the Picts who once occupied this part of Scotland. Alternatively, Dunkeld is said to be derived from the Celtic word for a fortress (dun) and the Norse word for a spring (keld).
- Dunnottar (Dunnottar Castle and Dunnottar Mains in Aberdeenshire). One wonders whether this suburb near Nigel on the far East Rand was named after the Union Castle mail steamer 'Dunottar Castle', built in 1890. Union Castle steamers provided the main means of communication between South Africa and Britain until the 1970s.
- Dunvegan (Highland). Dunvegan Castle, on the Isle of Skye, is the ancestral home of the MacLeods. It is tempting to speculate that the name of this Edenvale suburb may have been inspired by the Union Castle mail steamer 'Dunvegan Castle', built in 1896.
- Forbesdale - there is a Forbes Villa and Forbestown in Aberdeenshire and a Forbes Place in Inverclyde. Forbes is an old Scottish family name, originating in Aberdeenshire. The name of the suburb was derived from that of the township-owners, Forbes Properties (Pty.) Ltd.
- Germiston (City of Glasgow) and East, North, South and West Germiston by extension. The former City of Germiston officially received its name in 1904, being named after Germiston in Glasgow, the birthplace of John Jack (the gold mining magnate of Simmer & Jack fame).
- Gilliemead Agricultural Holdings - there is a Gilliestongues in the Scottish Borders, Gillies Hill in North Ayrshire and Stirling, and Gillieselly and Gillietrang in the Orkney Islands. There is also a Gilliehill Clints just over the border in Northumberland. A gillie in Scotland is employed to act as a guide to those out angling or shooting. Mead, on the other hand, is frequently found in English place names, the intention being to evoke a sense of rusticity (mead is the poetic form of 'meadow').
- Glenesk (Midlothian). The original intention was to call the suburb simply 'Glen' or 'Glen Township'. No recorded reason for the name has been found but Smith (1971, p. 182) assumes that the township was named in relation to Glenesk House, Midlothian, Scotland.
- Glenferness Agricultural Holdings - there is a Ferness in Moray.
- Gleniffer - there is a place called Gleniffer Braes in Renfrewshire. This tiny suburb in the Bryanston area is spelled Glenifer on some maps. Either spelling is Scottish.
- Glenkay - although there is no known place in Scotland with this name, Kay is certainly a Scottish (and English) surname, said to have originated on the English side of the border in Northumberland. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was fairly common practice for Scots immigrants to name their homes or farms after themselves and to prefix the name with 'Glen'. Glenkay, in the Sandringham area, is one of Johannesburg's smallest suburbs, consisting of only three streets.
- Glenvarloch - there is a hotel in Blairgowrie (Perth & Kinross) called Glenvar; also a Glenvarragill House in Highland. Glenvar is also the name of a village in County Donegal, Ireland. There can be no doubt whatsoever that the name of this Nigel suburb has a Scottish connection. Nearly every street in the suburb is named for a character in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Fortunes of Nigel', the hero of which was a young Scottish nobleman called Nigel Olifaunt, Lord Glenvarloch, who travelled to London on family business. For the record, the streets and the characters after whom they were named are: Olifaunt Road (Lord Glenvarloch), Moniplies Street (Glenvarloch's servant), Ramsay Street (a Fleet Street watchmaker), Margaret Avenue (Ramsay's daughter), George Heriot Street (a Lombard Street goldsmith), Ursula Street (a Fleet Street barber's wife), King James Circle (James VI of Scotland/James I of England), Charles Street ('Baby Charles', the Prince of Wales), Steenie Street (the Duke of Buckingham), Huntinglen Street (Lord Huntinglen), Dalgarno Street (Huntinglen's son), Mungo Street (a friend of Glenvarloch's father), and Hermonine Street (a corruption of Lady Hermione). The town of Nigel itself, as well as the Johannesburg suburb of Heriotdale, also appear to have links with Sir Walter's novel (see entries below).
- Gordon's View (Gordon in the Scottish Borders as well as many other places throughout Scotland with Gordon as part of the name, e.g. Gordonstoun, Gordonstown and Gordonsburgh). Gordon is also the name of a place on the Isle of Man, probably having been taken there by Scottish settlers. The Gordon tartan most frequently seen is the regimental tartan of the Gordon Highlanders. No information has been found on the origin of the name of this small outlying suburb of Benoni. One wonders whether the name has any reference to Gordon Hodgson, the South African-born English footballer who played for Benoni in his youth.
- Hectorton - Hector is a Scottish family name originating in Angus. It is also an archetypal Highland Scottish first name. On the other hand, Hector is a Classical Greek name. No authoritative information has been found on the origin of the name of this Randfontein suburb but it could be relevant to note that one of its five streets has a Scottish name - Mackay. An internet search using the key terms 'Hector Mackay, Randfontein' suggests the tempting hypothesis that the name of the suburb recalls a Hector Mackay who was born on 7 September 1883 in Scotland (at Coldbackie, Tongue, Sutherlandshire) and who died in Randfontein on 13 September 1972 (see Mary Young's Genealogy Pages )
- Heriotdale - there is a Heriot in the Scottish Borders, as well as Heriot Cleugh, Heriot House, Heriot Mill, Heriot Toun Farm, Heriot Water, and Heriot's Dyke; also Heriot-Watt University and George Heriot's School, both in Edinburgh. Anna Smith, a former City Librarian, presumes that Heriotdale was derived from the Heriot or New Heriot goldmines in the area. She has also speculated that the name of these mines "had some reference to the Scottish goldsmith, George Heriot (1563-1624), who figures as 'Jingling Geordie' in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Fortunes of Nigel'." (see also Glenvarloch above and Nigel below).
- Highland (a Scottish county) though this suburb, being in the predominantly black Kwa-Thema area, may have been named for purely descriptive reasons.
- Highlands and Highlands North - possibly recalling "the Highlands of Scotland". There is no evidence, however, that these suburbs were named for Scotland. The names are more probably descriptive of their hilly terrain. One Johannesburg historian has pointed out, however, that Highlands North is in the vicinity of other suburbs with definite Scottish names.
- Homelake - Home/Hume is a Scottish family name from Berwickshire, going back to the 12th century. It is probable, however, that the name of this Randfontein suburb has nothing to do with Scotland and may simply be a made up combination referring to the nearby Provincial Heritage Site called 'The Homestead' and Riebeeck Lake.
- Hopefield (East Lothian, Highland and Midlothian). No information has been found on the origin of the name of this suburb near Ennerdale. The name may well refer to the town of Hopefield in the Western Cape, which was named, according to Raper (1989), after Major William Hope and a Mr Field.
- Jameson Park - one wonders whether the name of this suburb, located near Nigel, has any reference to Edinburgh-born Leander Starr Jameson (1853-1917), Cecil John Rhodes's right-hand man and Premier of the Cape Colony between 1904 and 1908.
- Johnston Stop (there is a Johnston in Aberdeenshire and Fife; also Johnston Mains and Lodge in Aberdeenshire, Johnston's Point in Argyll & Bute, Johnstonlee in Dumfries & Galloway and Johnston Loch in North Lanarkshire) but there is a town called Johnston in Pembrokeshire, Wales as well. The chances are very high that the name of this suburb is ultimately Scottish. Johnston is an ancient family name from the 12th century. They were once a powerful border clan in the Annandale region.
- Kelvin (Perth & Kinross and South Lanarkshire) and Kelvin View by association. These suburbs were most probably named for the Kelvin Power Station, a prominent landmark near the airport, clearly visible from both Kelvin and Kelvin View. The name of the Power Station commemorates William Thomson, First Baron Kelvin (1824-1907), who although born in Northern Ireland, came to Glasgow at the age of six after the death of his Scottish mother. His father became Professor of Mathematics at the University of Glasgow, and his own scientific research was also conducted at this university. Thomson was created Baron Kelvin in 1892 for his pioneering research in the field of electricity, which resulted in the laying of trans-Atlantic submarine cables. He took the title "Kelvin" from the river which flows past Glasgow University - see illustration.
- Kildrummy Agricultural Holdings (Kildrummy and Kildrummy Castle in Aberdeenshire). This is one of Johannesburg's smallest suburbs, having shrunk considerably in size since the 1970s and is now completely surrounded by the modern suburb of Paulshof. In the process of its suburbanisation and absorption into Paulshof, Kildrummy has lost two streets with names from Aberdeenshire - Ballater Road and Braemar Road. There is no trace of these roads today.
- Lakefield - there is a Lakefield Farm in Argyll & Bute, but this name is more likely to be descriptive of the suburb's proximity to the three nearby lakes in the Benoni area.
- Linksfield (Moray, near Elgin) and Linksfield North and Linksfield Ridge by association. The name of these suburbs may have been derived from their proximity to the Royal Johannesburg Golf Course, but a connection with Scotland cannot be ruled out. Links is a Scots word meaning 'undulating, sandy ground near a shore' or a golf course on such land.
- Linksview - this suburb, like Linksfield above, is also located next to a golf course (in this case, the Benoni Lake Golf Club). The name is therefore indirectly Scottish in origin.
- Littlefillan - According to Raper (1989, p. 301), the name is derived from the surname of the owner (N.H. Gilfillan) of the farm that was once in the area, his farm being commonly referred to as 'Gilfillan's little farm'. Gilfillan is an ancient Scottish family name from Fife, derived from the Gaelic Gille Fhaolain, which means 'servant of St. Fillan'.
- Lone Hill (Highland, near Craig in Glen Carron). There is no documented evidence, however, that the origin of this suburb's name is necessarily Scottish.
- Mackenzie Park and Mackenzieville - there is a Mackenzie's Cairn in Highland. MacKenzie is a Scottish surname dating back to the 15th century, the Gaelic meaning of which is 'son of the fair'.
- Marshalltown - Although Marshall appears only in England as a place name, this suburb was in fact named for a Scotsman, Henry Brown Marshall. In Scotland, the Marshalls are a sept of Clan Keith. Henry Marshall was a prominent early pioneer who, together with the auctioneer Richard Currie, was responsible for bestowing Scottish names on several suburbs in Johannesburg. Until comparatively recently, Marshalltown was the financial hub of South Africa.
- Melrose (Scottish Borders) and Melrose Arch, Melrose Estate, and Melrose North by association. Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders is pictured here. The names of these suburbs were derived from that of the estate that had been laid out sometime before 1896 by Henry Brown Marshall (see Marshalltown above). According to Smith (1971), Marshall's friend and fellow-Scot, the mining engineer J.H. Curle, had suggested the name. (Curle was born in Melrose, Scotland.) It is not surprising that several streets in Melrose have Scottish names: Arran Avenue, Bute Avenue, Jameson Avenue and St Andrew Street. Henry Marshall named Jameson Avenue after fellow-Scot Sir Leander Starr Jameson, Premier of the Cape and leader of the infamous Jameson Raid against the old Transvaal Boer Republic.
- Melville (Melville House in Fife and Melville Grange and Mains in Midlothian). The name of this suburb honours the land surveyor Edward Harker Vincent Melvill.
- Moffat View - there is a Moffat, Moffat Dale, Moffat Water and Moffat Well in Dumfries & Galloway, as well as Moffat Hills and Moffat Mills in North Lanarkshire. The suburb was named after John Abram Moffat, the Manchester-born architect who donated land to the City Council for a public park (Moffat Park). The suburb took its name from the park. The connection with Scotland is therefore fairly indirect.
- Moodie Hill - there is a Moodiesburn in North Lanarkshire.
- Morningside (Dumfries & Galloway, City of Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire and Perth & Kinross) and Morningside Hills and Morningside Manor by extension.
- Nigel - there are two theories as to the origin of the name of this community at the eastern end of the Witwatersrand. The first credits Sir Walter Scott's novel, 'The Fortunes of Nigel', which the surveyor was evidently reading when he discovered gold there. The second explanation is that it was named after a Nigel McLeish who also discovered gold in the area. In either case, the name of this suburb would appear to have a Scottish connection. (see also Glenvarloch and Heriotdale above).
- Parkmore (Moray). There is also a community in County Galway, Ireland with this name. Raper (1989, p. 433) notes that this suburb was laid out in 1907 and is inclined to attribute its name to a made-up combination of elements from two adjacent areas - the suburb of Hurl Park and Benmore Farm (see Benmore Gardens above). If this is correct then the name Parkmore can be considered to be partly English (Hurl Park is a contraction of Hurlingham) and partly Scottish.
- Pollak Park - Pollak is a variation of the Scottish family name of Pollok. The suburb of Pollak Park in Springs presumably takes its name from the golf course. It is therefore not surprising that some of its streets recall Scottish golf courses (Carnoustie, Gleneagles and St Andrews). One wonders whether the golf course took its name from Glasgow's Pollok Country Park, one of the largest urban green spaces in Europe.
- Rosebank (Angus, Borders, City of Edinburgh, Dumfries & Galloway, East Dunbartonshire, Fife, Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian) also Devon in England. It is not certain which particular place bestowed its name on the Johannesburg suburb, the suspicion being that it may have been the village in South Lanarkshire or even places such as Rosebank Distillery or Rosebank House. Part of what is today called Rosebank was once known as Rosemill Orchards, which may also account, in part, for the suburb's name.
- St Andrews (Fife, and Scotland's patron saint). The 18th fairway at St Andrews Old Course is shown here. The suburb of St Andrews is home to one of South Africa's leading private schools, St Andrews School for Girls, which was founded in 1902 by two Scotswomen, Jean Fletcher and Jessie Johnson. No information on the reason for the name of the suburb has been found.
- Strathavon (Falkirk and West Lothian).
- Treesbank Agricultural Holdings - there is a Treesbank House in East Ayrshire and Treesbank Farm in North Lanarkshire.
- Wattville - there is a Wattston in North Lanarkshire, Watt's Burn in the Scottish Borders and also the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, all based on the Scottish surname of Watt. The name has also travelled to England (Watt Crag in North Yorkshire). Watt is a form of Walter, which also gave rise to the Scottish surnames Watson, Walters, Waters, Wattie and MacWhatt as well as Watts and Watkinson in England and Watkins in Wales. Famous Scottish bearers of the name include the inventor and engineer James Watt ('watt' as a unit of power is named after him) and Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, who pioneered the use of radar for aviation purposes. Watt is regarded as a sept of Clan Buchanan. The Benoni suburb may have been named for Sir Thomas Watt, the minister of Public Health in 1919.
- Waverley (the railway station in Edinburgh - from the title of Sir Walter Scott's first novel). There is no record of the reason for naming this suburb. However, the fact that it adjoins other suburbs with Scottish names and that its streets bear Scottish names does strengthen the connection with Scotland rather than with Waverley Abbey in England.
- Wheatlands Agricultural Holdings - there is a Wheatlands in the City of Edinburgh and another in South Lanarkshire.
- Wright Park (Stirling, spelt Wrightpark). No information has been found on the origin of the name of this suburb in Springs.
It is interesting to note that suburbs with Scottish names form a continuous belt in Johannesburg's affluent northern suburbs, stretching across nearly 10 kilometres (6 miles). This belt starts with Blairgowrie and Craighall in the west. It then proceeds through Dunkeld, Rosebank, Melrose, Birnam and Abbotsford, and ends with Waverley and Highlands North in the east, with many other suburbs bearing Scottish names, such as Atholl and Morningside, slightly detached to the north of this belt. These suburbs represent a "Scottish island" almost completely surrounded by the very English sounding suburbs of Bramley, Kew, Sydenham, Oaklands, Houghton, Saxonwold, Parkhurst, Ferndale, Hurlingham, Sandhurst, and Hyde Park plus one from the "Auld Alliance", Bordeaux! This tight cluster of suburbs with Scottish names is possibly one of the largest clusters in any city outside Scotland.
Some of the following suburbs and neighbourhoods are also likely to have a direct or indirect Scottish connection, but these names are also associated with other parts of the British Isles.
- Airfield (Midlothian) also in Somerset, England.
- Austin View - there is an Austincroft in Highland. However, there is also an Austin's Bridge in the English county of Devon and Austin as a family name is more typically English than Scottish (see also Glen Austin below).
- Boswellville Agricultural Holdings - there are places called St Boswells and Newtown St Boswells near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. However, there is also a place called Boswell in Devon, England. Boswell is very much a Scottish surname, which increases the probability that this Kempton Park suburb has a Scottish connection. One of Scotland's best-known members of this family was James Boswell (1740-1795) who was Dr Samuel Johnson's biographer, one of the members of Dr Johnson's elite literary club in London and the doctor's companion on his journey to the Hebrides. His portrait is shown here. Plans to create a monument to the Scots poet, Robert Burns, were first mooted in 1814 by James's son, Alexander, 1st Baronette Boswell.
- Casseldale - although the very English-sounding Casseldale is not found as a place name in Britain, Cassel is a Scottish family name, related to Cassels, Cassells and Cassalis. However, Cassel is also an English and German name.
- Claremont (Fife, and Claremont Park in Edinburgh) but places with Claremont as part of the name are found in England as well, including the well-known Claremont Estate near Esher, Surrey, and Johannesburg historians point to County Clare in Ireland as another likely source for the name. There is no evidence that the Johannesburg suburb was actually named for the one in Cape Town, as was suggested in an article in The Star newspaper (15 February, 1927).
- Davidsonville (Davidson's Mains in Edinburgh) but the surname of Davidson is also found in place names in Northumberland. Davidson is an English as well as Scottish family name. It is possible that this Roodepoort suburb may have been named in honour of Dr C.R. Davidson, chief geologist of the Atomic Energy Geological Survey, who was commissioned in 1944 by General Jan Smuts to report on the magnitude of the uranium fields of the Witwatersrand.
- Georgetown (Dumfries & Galloway, Moray, Renfrewshire) also in Blaenau Gwent, Wales.
- Glen Austin - Although Austin as a family name is more typically English than Scottish, a Scottish connection is suggested by the place name element Glen. According to an article retrieved from Wikipedia in October 2009, the suburb takes its name from a Mr Eustace Gain Austin who, in 1920, had married Anne Erasmus, heiress of land in the area.
- Goodhope (Dumfries & Galloway) also in Pembrokeshire, Wales (spelt Good Hope), but the Johannesburg suburb is just as likely to refer to the Cape of Good Hope, or to the sheer optimism of its original township owner.
- Greenside (City of Edinburgh, East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Fife, Moray, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Shetland Islands) and Greenside East by extension; Greenside is also found in England. However, the origin of the names of these two Johannesburg suburbs seems to be descriptive of their proximity to the Parkview Golf Course. Most of the roads in Greenside were named after golf courses or professional golfers. As one might expect, many of these names refer to Scottish courses: Barnton (Edinburgh), Cruden Bay (Aberdeenshire), Gleneagles (Perth & Kinross), Gullane (East Lothian), Muirfield (Edinburgh), The Braids (Edinburgh) and Troon (Ayrshire). Two other roads also bear Scottish names, but these refer to golf courses in London, England (Braeside) and Prince Edward Island, Canada (Summerside). Interestingly enough, there is also a Braeside Golf Course in Michigan, USA and a Muirfield Golf Course in Sydney, Australia. Chirnside Road, Compston Road and Glenside Road are also Scottish names but golf courses in Scotland, or Scottish golfers with these names, cannot be traced. At least one road in Greenside, Leitch Road, was named after a Scottish golfer, Charlotte Cecilia Pitcairn Leitch.
- Hunters Hill (Angus; also Aberdeenshire, spelt Hunter's Hill). There is also a Hunter's Hill in North Yorkshire. The illustration shows the Hunter tartan.
- Kaydale Agricultural Holdings - Kay is both a Scottish and an English family name, ultimately of Breton, Cornish or Welsh origin, first recorded in Northumberland in 1199.
- Lambton (Highland) and Lambton Gardens by association; also Lambton near Newcastle-upon-Tyne in northern England.
- Lilyvale (South Lanarkshire) also in England.
- Mayfield Park - Mayfield is found in Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, City of Edinburgh, Fife, Highland, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Perth & Kinross, Shetland Islands and South Lanarkshire. Mayfield is also found throughout England but less commonly so than in Scotland while Mayfield Park itself is a district of the City of Bristol in the west of England.
- Morganridge - although there is no such place name in Scotland, Morgan is a Scottish family name. However, it is a very common Welsh family name as well (Morganstown is a suburb of Cardiff in the former Welsh county of Glamorgan) and the name has also been taken to England, probably by the Welsh Morgans, e.g., Morgan's Hill in Wiltshire.
- Parkhill Gardens - there is a Parkhill in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Scottish Borders, Fife, Inverclyde, Perth & Kinross and South Ayrshire, as well as in two English counties; there also many places in England and Scotland spelt Park Hill.
- Peacehaven (Aberdeenshire) also in East Sussex, England.
- Primrose (Fife) also in northern England. One wonders whether the name of this suburb honours Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847-1929), British Prime Minister in 1894 and 1895, whose cultural heritage was Scottish.
- Ravenswood (Scottish Borders, near Melrose) also in West Sussex, England. A Scottish connection becomes a distinct possibility since this name occurs in Sir Walter Scott's 'The Bride of Lammermoor'. (The titles of Sir Walter Scott novels, and the names of characters in his novels, have been used amazingly frequently as place names throughout the English-speaking world.) Moreover, the village of Ravenswood in Scotland is very close to Sir Walter's residence, Abbotsford.
- Restonvale Agricultural Holdings - there is a Reston and Restonhill in the Scottish Borders; also Reston just across the border in Cumbria.
- Sunnyside (Aberdeenshire, City of Glasgow, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Fife, Perth & Kinross, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Scottish Borders, South Lanarkshire) also in England but not as commonly as in Scotland which probably says something about the premium placed on sunshine in Scotland!
- Symhurst - Sym is a Scottish family name first recorded in East Lothian. Sym and Syme are variants of Sim/Sime which in turn are diminutives of Symon/Simeon. These surnames are relatively common names in Scotland but Black (1996), the authority on Scottish names, points out that the name is also common in England.
- Thornhill (Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, Moray, Perth & Kinross and Stirling) also fairly commonly found in both England and Wales.
A third category of suburban names comprises places that definitely exist in Scotland, but the likelihood that the Johannesburg counterpart was named for Scotland, even indirectly, is greatly diminished because these names are far more commonly associated with other parts of the British Isles.
- Bellevue (Dumfries & Galloway, Highland, Orkney Islands and Perth & Kinross) and Bellevue Central and Bellevue East by association; also in England, Ireland and Wales, sometimes spelt Belle Vue. The origin of the name Bellevue is uncertain but is most probably descriptive given its position on a ridge although as speculated by Smith (1971) a 'cryptic reference' to the township agent's name (J.M. Bell) cannot be ruled out. Bell is a Scottish family name.
- Brackenhurst (North Lanarkshire, spelt Brackenhirst) also Brackenhurst in Nottinghamshire.
- Dunhill (Dumfries & Galloway) also in England and Ireland.
- Forest Hill (a hill in Dumfries & Galloway) but far more likely to be named for one of the many places in England, including the south London suburb. Johannesburg historians believe that the name is most probably purely descriptive.
- Greenhills (North Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire) and Greenhills Industrial Estate by association; Greenhills is found more commonly throughout England and is also a suburb of Dublin.
- Mill Hill (Aberdeenshire, as well as other places in Scotland spelt Millhill) but far more commonly found throughout England, including the well-known north London suburb.
- Norton Small Farms and Norton's Home Estates (there is a Norton in the Scottish Borders and Orkney Islands and Norton Mains in Edinburgh) but Norton is far more common throughout England and parts of Wales.
- Norwood (Dumfries & Galloway) although much more likely to have been named for the suburb in south London or other places in England.
- Oatlands (City of Glasgow) but more commonly found in England and there is also a place called Oatlands on the Isle of Man.
- Riverside (Stirling) also in England and Wales.
- Springfield (Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Highland and Perth & Kinross) also in England and Wales. Springfield is a very common name in the USA as well. In Johannesburg's case, the origin of this name is most probably descriptive, especially since the name 'Clear Springs' appears on an early map of the area.
- Union (Fife and Stirling) and Union Settlement by association. This suburb is far more likely, however, to commemorate the union of colonies in 1910 to form South Africa or some other type of union.
- Victoria (Perth & Kinross) also in two English counties. The Johannesburg suburb was no doubt named for Queen Victoria as it was established in 1902.
- Wadeville - there is a Wade Bridge in Highland and Wades Bridge and The Wade Stone in Perth & Kinross, but Wade is found more frequently in English place names. Wade Bridge and Wades Bridge in Scotland are references to Field-Marshall George Wade, the Englishman who was responsible for disarming the Highland clans after the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. As part of the process of pacification of the clans, he built a system of metalled military roads and 40 stone ('Wade') bridges in the Highlands of Scotland between 1726 and 1737.
- Woodlands (Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Highland, Perth & Kinross and South Lanarkshire) also all over England and is found in Ireland and Wales as well.
A final category of suburban names comprises places that can be found in Scotland, or that are based on Scottish family names but which, in Johannesburg's case, definitely or most probably have no connection with Scotland.
- Alexandra (Alexandra Park in Glasgow - the fountain in the park is illustrated here) Smith (1971, p.9) has written as follows about the origin of the name of this suburb: "One suspects a reference to Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII of Great Britain, even though the form Alexandria has been recorded." In a brief article on the history of Sandton, it is stated that the suburb was named after the wife of the township developer, Mr. H.B. Papenfus (See A History of Sandton ). Either explanation suggests no link with Scotland.
- Blackheath (Highland) but more likely to be named after the London suburb or other places in southern England. Raper (1989, p.56) states that the suburb is "thought to be named after the common and pleasure resort south of the Thames in south-east London, where in 1608 golf was first introduced into England."
- Corlett Gardens - Corlett is said to be a Scottish family name of Viking origin -Thorliotr -its original Norse meaning being 'Thor-people'. The subsequent assimilation of the name to Gaelic and then English resulted in MacCorlett or simply Corlett, the original 'th' sound having been lost as a result of the initial consonantal mutations that are a characteristic feature of all Celtic languages. However, the name was first found on the Isle of Man, and is still strongly associated with that island. William John Howarth Corlett (b. 1950), for instance, is the current Attorney General for the Isle of Man. Since this suburb is located at the eastern end of Corlett Drive, it is a reasonable assumption that it took its name from the well-known main road. Corlett Drive was named in the 1940s in tribute to local City Councillor Daniel F. Corlett who served as Mayor of Johannesburg in 1932-33. Counsellor Corlett was indeed a Manxman, thus this suburb cannot be claimed for Scotland.
- Crosby - this is both a place name that can be found in northern England and a Scottish family name (usually spelled Crosbie). The Johannesburg suburb, which dates from the late 1930s, was named for J.H. Crosby, joint General Manager of the Langlaagte Estate and Gold Mining Company. It is amusing to note that the streets were originally given mainly Scottish names, but on discovering that Mr Crosby was actually Irish, the street names were changed to Irish ones (Smith, 1971, p. 108). The chances are nevertheless fairly high that J.H. Crosby's ancestry was Scots-Irish, i.e., ethnically Scottish but culturally Irish, from the days of the 17th century Protestant Plantation of parts of Ireland.
- Eagle's Nest (Scottish Borders, spelt Eagles Nest). There is nothing specifically Scottish about this name. It may be pure coincidence that the name occurs only in Scotland and not elsewhere in the British Isles. The fact that the only road in this small neighbourhood is called Crowned Eagle Road suggests a purely ornithological reason for the name.
- Farrar Park, Farrarmere and Farramere Gardens - there is a river Farrar in the Scottish Highlands. However, there is no Scottish connection since the names of these Benoni suburbs commemorate Sir George Farrar (1859-1914), the gold mining magnate who came to the Rand from Port Elizabeth, where he had been the principal representative of his uncle's engineering works (Howard Farrar and Company of Bedford, England). Farrar is an English family name first encountered in Yorkshire, the origin of which is occupational (from 'farrier', a shoer of horses).
- Fellside (Dumfries & Galloway) also two places in northern England. The Johannesburg suburb was actually named for the township owner's founder trustee, Sir Arthur Fell, M.P. for the English parliamentary seat of Great Yarmouth between 1906 and 1922. There therefore seems to be no connection between this suburb and Scotland.
- Ferryvale - it is tempting to attribute the name of this suburb in Nigel to an individual with the Lowland Scottish family name of Ferry. However, most of the streets in Ferryvale are named for towns in Yorkshire, England, including the historic town of Ferrybridge, which may well have been the inspiration for the name of the suburb.
- Florida (Scottish Borders, near Castleton) and Florida Glen, Florida Hills, Florida Lake, Florida North, Florida Park and Florida View by association. Although the name Florida does not occur in other parts of the British Isles, these Johannesburg suburbs are highly unlikely to have been named for the place in Scotland. The origin of the name is uncertain, there being currently at least three theories (the American State, a personal name, and the abundance of flowers found there).
- Gallo Manor - there is a Gallo Hill in the Orkney Islands, the only occurrence of Gallo within the British Isles. However, this suburb owes its name to Eric Gallo, chairman of Gallo Holdings (Pty) Ltd whose company logo was a crowing cock ('gallo', in Italian).
- Montgomery Park - although Montgomery/Montgomerie is a Scottish surname (of Norman origin), and is also the name of a town and former county in mid-Wales (again of Norman origin), the name of this post-WW2 Johannesburg suburb has no connection with either Scotland or Wales. Instead, it honours Field-Marshall Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.
- Mountain View (Scottish Borders) also over the border in Cumbria. It is far more likely, however, that this suburb was named purely because of the commanding view across the northern suburbs of Johannesburg towards the distant Magaliesberg mountain range.
- Newlands (Aberdeenshire, Angus, City of Glasgow (that's Newlands Park in the illustration), Dumfries & Galloway, East and South Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, Highland, Moray, Perth & Kinross, and Scottish Borders) also all over England. The Johannesburg suburb, however, was actually named for one of Cape Town's oldest suburbs, itself a translation from the Dutch Nieuweland, meaning "new land".
- Newmarket Agricultural Holdings and Newmarket Park - there is a Newmarket in the Western Isles as well as in two English and two Irish counties. Considering that these suburbs of Alberton are adjacent to a former racecourse, it is almost certain that they derive their name from the market town in Suffolk, England, famous for horse racing.
- Newtown (Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, Falkirk, Highland and Shetland Islands) but is far more common in England, and is also found in Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man. The reason for the name of this Johannesburg suburb appears to have been purely descriptive of the fact that it replaced an area that had become a slum.
- Northgate (Aberdeenshire) also four places in England. Its location in the far north of Johannesburg and the fact that there are also suburbs called Eastgate, Southgate and Westgate in geographically appropriate parts of the city suggests a purely descriptive origin of the name of this suburb.
- Plantation (a district of the City of Glasgow) though, as in other cities around the world where this name is used, it is very likely to be a purely descriptive name, particularly since most of its streets are named after trees.
- Southdale (Shetland Islands). Although this name occurs only in Scotland and not elsewhere within the British Isles, there is apparently no link with Scotland. In a letter received by the Johannesburg City Librarian in 1965, it was stated that the name was chosen so that it "would indicate that the [township] was in the south and at the same time be pleasant sounding". (Smith, 1971, p. 505). It is therefore probably pure coincidence that Southdale is also a place name in the Shetland Islands.
- South View (Shetland Islands) but found more commonly in central and northern England. The location of this suburb (also known as Liefde-en-Vrede) in the south of the city suggests a purely descriptive reason for the name.
- Springs (East Ayrshire) also Lancashire, England. According to Raper (1989), this suburb, formerly a municipality in its own right, takes its name from the farm 'The Springs', surveyed in 1883 and named after springs of water found there.
- The Hill - places with this name can be found in at least two Scottish counties (Dumfries & Galloway and East Ayrshire) but the name is also popularly used throughout England, and is found in Wales as well. The Hill was most probably named for purely descriptive reasons, especially since its streets were named after well-known mountains. Considering that Scotland is a mountainous country, it is not surprising that so many streets in this Johannesburg suburb have Scottish names - Aberfeldy Road, Ben Alder Road, Cheviot Road, Grampian Road, Merrick Road and Trossachs Road.
- Westwood Small Holdings - there is a Westwood in Dumfries & Galloway, Highland, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and South Lanarkshire, but Westwood is also commonly found throughout England and is a favourite name for suburbs in American and Canadian cities. The location of this suburb in the western suburbs of Benoni suggests a purely descriptive reason for the name.
Other place names in Greater Johannesburg that have a mild "Scottish ring" about them, but that have not yet been established as having a connection with Scotland include:Cason, Dunswart, Edenglen, Glenadrienne, Glenanda, Glen Dayson, Glenhazel, Glenvista, Larrendale, Lea Glen and Rabie Ridge.
Some of these names may simply have been coined to sound Scottish or possibly even Irish. Swart is an Afrikaans surname with the result that Dunswart possibly represents a Scottish-Afrikaans combination of place name elements. Edenglen could prove to be an inversion of Gleneden in the Fife Regional Park. Inversion of place name elements has occurred before in Johannesburg's history, for example the Edenvale suburb of Dowerglen (a name with a Welsh connection) was originally Glendower, the anglicised name of the medieval Welsh patriot Owain Glyndwr. The suburb of Cason in the Boksburg area takes its name from an old goldmine. One genealogical website suggests that Cason is a variant of the Scottish family name of Carson, first found in Dumfries-shire, but it is also said to be a Spanish and Italian family name. In this same website, Rabie is considered to be a Scottish name but in South Africa its origin is more likely to be Afrikaans. It is tempting to conclude that there is a definite Scottish link with Glenadrienne since all but one of its streets bear Scottish names. However, this is merely a continuation of the street-naming theme for neighbouring Hurlingham (a suburb with an English name whose street names are nearly all Scottish!).
Most of Johannesburg's suburbs with distinctly Scottish names were established between 1902 and 1940, i.e., the period between the close of the Second Anglo-Boer War and the start of World War II. This coincides with the period when British control of the economy of the city - an economy based on the world's largest and richest goldfields - was at its height. The Scots certainly played an important part in establishing this relatively young city (Johannesburg was founded as recently as 1886). This is evident, for instance, in the substantial proportion of "Randlords" and other leading citizens of early Johannesburg who were Scottish. Randlords was a name given by the London press to the newly rich mining magnates in Johannesburg. The Randlords and other wealthy and influential citizens of early Johannesburg built hundreds of mansions in the Parktown area. Of 41 former Randlord mansions that are now open to the public, at least seven (17.1%) were built for Scotsmen and/or have Scottish names:
- Dunreath - built in 1910 for T.S. Farquhar, a stockbroker.
- Dysart House (Fife) built in 1910 for C.W. Dix, Head of the Native Labour Association.
- Earnholme - built in 1910 for F.C. Sturrock, a Scottish Engineer who became the Minister of Railways in the first Union cabinet.
- Glenshiel (Moray; also Glenshiel Banks in Borders, and Glenshiel Forest and Lodge in Highland) built in 1910 for Sir William Dalrymple who made his fortune from gold mining.
- North Lodge built "in the Scottish Baronial style" in 1905 for Henry S. Wilson, the "Oat King" who supplied fodder to the British army during the Boer War. North Lodge has been called "the most romantic house in Parktown" because it was modelled on French and Scottish castles, though the conical turrets have since been removed for safety reasons.
- Pilrig (City of Edinburgh) built in 1903 for Archibald Edward Balfour who came to the Transvaal Crown Colony to join the Office of the Attorney General.
- Ravenscraig (Aberdeenshire, Inverclyde and a castle in Fife - see picture below) built for S. Smith in 1917.
An eighth Randlord mansion, "The View", built in 1897 for Sir Thomas Cullinan who was the chairman of the mining company that discovered the world's largest diamond, is now the headquarters of the Transvaal Scottish Regiment. There are also other reminders of the once strong Scottish presence in Johannesburg. The names of several well known roads in central Johannesburg are distinctly Scottish: Anderson Street, Athol Road, Carse O' Gowrie Road, Gleneagles Road, Glenhove Road, Gordon Road, Maclaren Street, Melrose Street, Perth Road, St Andrews Road, Scott Street, Stuart Drive and possibly Highland Road in Kensington.
There are also many parks and sports grounds dotted around the metropolitan area with names that look distinctly Scottish. These include Alexander Park (Malvern), Bill Stewart Reserve (Bedfordview), Caledonian Sports Ground (Germiston), Dixon Park (Cyrildene), Donald Mackay Park (Berea/Yeoville), Elizabeth Sturrock Park (Milner Park), Hunter McLea Sports Ground (Mayfair West), Jock Whyte Park (Sandringham), Keith Flemming Park (Linden), MacKie Niven Park (Bellevue Central), McDowell Park (Northmead), Moffat Park (South Hills), Paterson Park (Norwood), Phineas McIntosh Park (Brixton), Robert Scott Gardens (Brakpan), Ross Skinner Park (Roodepoort West), Simmer & Jack Sportsground (Germiston), Sir William Dalrymple Park (Rossmore), Sir William Hoy Park (Sydenham) and William Watt Park (The Hill). Murray Park (Belgravia) sounds Scottish enough but George Hedley Murray, after whom it was named, was born in County Durham in the north of England and grew up in Natal. R.H. Henderson Park (Melrose Estate) is another Scottish sounding name but Robert Hugh Henderson's ancestry was Northern Irish. Balfour Park in the Highlands North area was once a park but is now a major suburban shopping centre.
Yet another tangible reminder of the role played by the Scots in early Johannesburg is Caledonia Hill, that portion of the Kensington Ridge on which the Scottish Horse Memorial stands. This prominent landmark to the east of the CBD (pictured here) is a memorial that was erected in 1905 to the soldiers of the Scottish Horse who fell in the Boer War. Built of Aberdeen granite, the memorial is a replica of the one erected on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. There are in fact two Scottish military memorials in Johannesburg, the second being the Transvaal Scottish Memorial in the Brixton Cemetery.
- Smith, Anna H. (1971). Johannesburg Street Names: A Dictionary of Street, Suburb and Other Place-Names Compiled to the End of 1968 (Juta & Company, Johannesburg).
- Raper, Peter E. (1989). Dictionary of Southern African Place Names (Second Edition). (Johannesburg, Jonathan Ball Publishers).
- Scarlett, James D. (1975). The Tartans of the Scottish Clans. (Collins, Glasgow and London).
- Black, George F. (1996). The Surnames of Scotland (Birlinn Ltd, Edinburgh).
- Watson, William J. (1926). The Celtic Place-Names of Scotland. (Edinburgh).
- Thorne, J.O. & Collocott, T.C. (Editors) (1974). Chambers Biographical Dictionary (Revised Edition). (W & R Chambers, Edinburgh).
- Room, Adrian (2003). The Penguin Dictionary of British Place Names. (Penguin Books, London).
- Rose Willis, journalist and historian, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
- Collins Gem Scots Dictionary (1995). (HarperCollins Publishers, Glasgow).
- Witwatersrand Street Guide, 2003 (MapStudio, Johannesburg).
- Greater Gauteng Overview, not dated. (GeoGraphic Maps cc., Johannesburg).
- Websites, placename gazetteers and published Ordnance Survey maps of British and Irish cities, towns, villages and counties.
© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, June 2004
(Revised October 2009)
If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is email@example.com.
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Scottish Pictorial Calendar>
Places to Visit>