The Johannesburg Ansteys

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Many thanks to Rory and Jenny Pottage (daughter of Joan Anstey) for information they have kindly provided. Many thanks also to Julia for her help constructing this pedigree.

Overview of the Johannesburg Ansteys

The Johannesburg Ansteys of South Africa are a sub-branch of the Tiverton Ansteys of Devon, headed by brothers William Anstey (b 1854, who had no sons) and Norman Anstey (b 1870).

William Anstey (b 1854 Tiverton)

William Anstey was born in 1854 in Tiverton to parents John Walters Anstey and Susan Elizabeth Manley. He was brought up at Juryhays Farm in Tiverton and he was with his father when his father suddenly died in 1879 (see John Walters Anstey for a report on that tragedy). After this death, William Anstey took over Juryhays Farm, before selling it and emigrating to South Africa in 1892. Together with his brother Norman Anstey, he founded the ‘Norman Anstey & Co Department Store’ in Johannesburg (see below).

William Anstey married Mary Pasmore in 1900 in Tunbridge Wells; there were no children of this marriage. In 1920 William Anstey identified the body of his brother Norman in South Africa. In 1921 William visited his brother John Anstey in New Zealand – he was at the time working at his brother Norman Anstey‘s company. ‘The Press‘ newspaper reported on 30 April 1921 “Mr William Anstey, who is a brother of Mr John Anstey (of Timaru) and a member of the firm of Norman, Anstey, and Co., of London and South Africa, was a passenger for the north by the second express yesterday, having spent a few days in the city.” 

William Anstey, a “retired merchant” died in 1935 at the Royal Hotel, Durban, Natal – he was living at Young Avenue, Houghton, Johannesburg at the time. His death was noted in the ‘Bridgman Memorial Hospital, Johannesburg‘ Annual Report for 1935 where he was a Member of the General Committee. William‘s widow Mary Anstey died in 1945, living at Mentone Court, Killarney, Johannesburg. Probate was in Transvaal at the Supreme Court in 1949, most proceeds going to William and Mary‘s nephews and nieces

Norman Anstey (b 1870 Tiverton)

Norman Anstey was born in 1870 in Tiverton to parents John Walters Anstey and Susan Elizabeth Manley. He was brought up at Juryhays Farm in Tiverton before emigrating to South Africa at some point between 1892 and c1895.

In around 1895 or so, Norman, together with his brother William, founded the ‘Norman Anstey & Co Department Store’ in Johannesburg, South Africa, a store which was “famous for its gorgeous and elegant window-dressing seen from the pavement through large plate-glass shop-fronts and in the freestanding cylindrical glass showcase at the main entrance ”. The current Ansteys Building in central Johannesburg (at 59 Joubert Street) is named after Norman (the first Ansteys Building went up at 88 Eloff Street Johannesburg in 1907).

Norman married Minnie Downes in 1895 in Johannesburg, South Africa; they had children:

  • Winifred Pearl Anstey (b 1896 Transvaal, married John A. Hardman in 1918 in London and then later William C. Macintosh in 1934 in Westminster. She adopted her brother Ernest Norman Anstey‘s daughter Joan Anstey in c1937 and also took in her sister Christine Dawn Anstey (known as Pat) when her parents died in 1939 – see below. Winifred had no children of her own and died in Transvaal in 1955, buried at Stellawood Cemetery and Crematorium, Durban);
  • Hugh Manley Anstey (b 1901 Natal, attended Cambridge University. He married Vivienne Inez Otto in 1926 in Johannesburg, however she died so he remarried Jean Paris Stewart in 1955 in Johannesburg (he was a “widower” and a “director of companies“, she was a “divorcee“, and they were both living at “Anstey’s Buildings, Joubert Street, Johannesburg“). Hugh and Vivienne had at least one son Benjamin Manley Anstey (b 1929 Johannesburg, baptised at Rosebank, St Martin’s-in-the-Veld, Johannesburg; attended Michaelhouse School in South Africa). Hugh Manley Anstey took over ‘Norman Anstey & Co Department Store‘ after his father died; he also commissioned the third Ansteys Building in Johannesburg in 1937, in which he later lived. Hugh Manley Anstey was still alive in 1957); and
  • Ernest Norman Anstey (b 1903 – see below).

In 1899, Norman Anstey and his family were forced to temporarily relocate to Durban from Johannesburg due to the Second Boer War. The Tiverton Gazette reported on 16 January 1900 that “Writing from Durban, Natal to friends in Tiverton, Mr Norman Anstey, son of a farmer occupier of Jurishayes Farm, and until recently proprietor of a large business in Johannesburg, expresses in language that is unmistakeable his opinions in regard to the present conflict in South Africa. From experience extending over several years, he considers the Boers have become impossible since they persuaded themselves that they could beat the British. Stubborn to a degree ‘force is the only master they recognise and they need a strong dose of that’. Mr Anstey, like hundreds of others, is spending an enforced holiday as a refugee from the Transvaal. He mentions that many British subjects from the gold mining city have been commandeered by the Boers and are now compulsorily fighting against their own country

By 1903 Norman was a member of the ‘Devonian Society of Johannesburg‘; he was Mayor of Johannesburg from 1913 to 1915, and he was awarded the OBE in 1918.

Minnie Anstey died in 1917 in the Lady Dudley Nursing Home, Johannesburg so Norman remarried Annie Maria Poutney in Lewisham, England in 1919. A year previously, in 1918, Norman had bought back the family farm, Juryhays Farm, and given it to his sister Susie Hebditch to farm.

Norman Anstey died in 1920 in Weston Lodge, Winifred Road, Parktown, Johannesburg. His death was reported in the ‘Western Times‘ on 13 February 1920 “The death has taken place at Johannesburg of Mr Norman Anstey O.B.E. son of the late Alderman J. W. Anstey of Jurishayes, Tiverton at the age of fifty years. He was a member of the Johannesburg Town Council for many years and for two years acted as Mayor. He was awarded the O.B.E for valuable services rendered in recruiting during the great war

Ernest Norman Anstey (b 1903)

Ernest Norman Anstey was born in 1903 to parents Norman Anstey and Minnie Downes. He was a “director of companies“, spending quite a lot of time in America. Ernest married Nora Ann Strobell in 1926 in Cape Town, however she died in c1930. After a brief return to England, Ernest remarried to Gertrude Caroline Ines in 1932 in Johannesburg. They had two daughters (one in Paddington, London in 1931 a year before their official marriage) being:

  • Joan Anstey (b 26 September 1931 Paddington – per Rory and Jenny Pottageshe came out with her parents to South Africa very soon after her birth but was immediately placed into a foster home of some nature – Ernest Norman Anstey and Gertrude Caroline Innes effectively abandoned her because she was born out of wedlock, which would have been a scandal at that time and with a family of the pedigree of the Ansteys. Joan lived until the age of six years old in an orphanage until she was adopted by Winifred Pearl Anstey & her then husband William Macintosh (her aunt and uncle), who had no children of their own. Both of Joan‘s ‘Anstey’ birth parents relinquished any and all claims to her and Joan took the name of ‘Joan Anstey Macintosh“. Joan Anstey married Bernard Folkes and had three children, one of whom was Jenny, who married Rory Pottage. She died aged 48 – see also below); and
  • Christine Dawn Anstey (b 17 March 1934 Johannesburg, known as Pat because her birthday was on St Patrick’s Day. Pat was one of the earliest female pilots in the South African Civilian Defence force and flew until her divorce. She married Peter Kurt Kraupner in 1958 in Durban, Natal, at which time she was a shorthand typist living at 40 Dorchester Cato Road, Durban – see also below)

Ernest Norman Anstey died in 1939 at St George’s Nursing Home in Bulawayo, Rhodesia “whilst on holiday from Johannesburg” – his wife died a couple of days later. Information passed from their daughter Pat Anstey (aka Christine Dawn Anstey per above) to Rory and Jenny Pottage adds “Ernest Norman Anstey died of malaria and his wife Gertrude took her own life very soon after. This left Pat without parents. What happened next is that Winifred Pearl Anstey and William Macintosh took in Pat and explained to them both that she and her sister Joan were actually cousins. They were never, ever told that they were sisters! They found out much later in life.” 

Further Details on the Johannesburg Ansteys

#1. Lionel John Anstey, who died in Johannesburg in 1963, is not of this sub-branch – he is a Chew Magna Anstey.

We are actively on the lookout for Johannesburg Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Johannesburg Ansteys who fought in World War One, preferably with personal souvenirs such as letters sent by the soldiers or military photos etc. Anybody who has such expertise and inclination, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

We have already uploaded quite a bit of information and documentation about the Johannesburg Ansteys, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website.

The best way to find said information is to enter ‘Johannesburg’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

Anybody who finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com and we will correct it.

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