Friday, 12 March 2010

Savoy Hotel

Bob Manser Writes:-

The Savoy hotel burnt down I think in the mid 1950's

Text on the card reads:-
Dois aspectos do "Savoy Hotel" da Beira.
Two views of the "Savoy Hotel" in Beira.
Deux aspccts du .Savoy Hotel* de Bcira.

The hotel was situated in Beira, Mozambique


At 14 March 2010 at 19:43 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Lewis Walter Writes:-

Thanks for copy of the old postcards.

The building is the old Savoy Hotel, which was the centre of Beira social life until about mid-1950s, when the new Grande Hotel was opened. The date on the postmark, first card, appears to be 1900. I knew the Savoy well in the late 1940s and 1950s when my father was Collector of Rhodesia Customs in Beira.

The building to the right housed the Beira Club on the upper floor. This tried to emulate a London club, with billiard table, stuffed leather chairs, mouldering library and musty smell. We kids sometimes played billiards there. Downstairs was a barber shop where we got our short-back-and-sides before returning to school after the holidays, and the office of Duncan Cameron, the local auctioneer.

The hotel itself could have provided the background for a Somerset Maugham novel. At five a.m. a single gong-stroke sounded - to remind straying guests that it was time to creep back to their own rooms! The reception rooms on the right-hand side of the building were the scene of dances and balls, the most popular being the New Year's Eve ball. Everyone wore evening dress at these occasions, and the ladies took a supply of spare stiff collars in their handbags. Hubby would periodically take one, and replace the sweat-soaked wreck around his neck. The wet collars were hang on the wrought-iron balustrades to dry. Ruby Maclean's band provided the music.

The British Consul, Harry Reid-Brown, lived in the hotel. He was doyen of the local Diplomatic Corps, and on official occasions the remainder of the Corps would gather there to await his departure to the Residencia in his ancient official Austin, driven by an equally ancient chauffer. They would then have to race up the back streets to be able to meet him as he arrived at the Residencia.

Beira in those days was practically run by Rhodesians and Brits. I hope you will build up something on the lines of "Umtali" to record something of its early history.


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