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Columnist: Digging Deep

Davenport is a freelance journalist and mining historian -


Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Foundations of the ‘Great Barnato’ Restricted

More than a century after his death Barney Barnato remains one of the most fascinating personalities of nineteenth century mining and economic history.
6th May 2011
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Richard Southey – bulwark against monopolisation Restricted

Histories relating the early decades of diamond mining in South Africa have tended to focus on the most powerful, wealthiest and influential characters that shaped the development of the industry.
15th April 2011
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

De Beers Consolidated: company ‘worth as much as the balance of Africa’ Restricted

While De Beers is, today, recognised as the world’s leading rough diamond company with unrivalled expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of quality gems, the company, at its creation more than 120 years ago, was something quite...
1st April 2011
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Cecil John Rhodes and the monopolisation of diamonds Restricted

During the late 1870s and early 1880s the amalgamation of the numerous diamond mining operations was increasingly recognised as the only solution to ensure the longevity of the industry.
11th March 2011
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Cecil John Rhodes and the creation of De Beers Mining Company Restricted

The vehicle that aided Cecil Rhodes’ meteoric rise from diamond digger to mining magnate and industry monopolist was the De Beers Mining Company. This company (and its successor, De Beers Consolidated Mines) was the centrepiece and major...
25th February 2011
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

Cecil John Rhodes, the diamond digger Restricted

A rich capitalist, empire-builder, successful politician, farming pioneer, supporter of education, and amazing visionary – each of these epithets describes the multi-faceted, complex, and compulsively energetic man that was Cecil John Rhodes.
4th February 2011
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

The rise of South Africa’s first mining magnate Restricted

The plethora of literature relating South Africa’s mining history is dominated by countless biographies narrating the lives and achievements of the country’s great mining magnates.
21st January 2011
Digging Deep - Jade Davenport

How the introduction of steam-powered machinery at diamond diggings revolutionised SA economy Restricted

The industrialisation of the diamond diggings and the introduction of steam-powered machinery to work the ever-deepening mines from 1877 onwards had a revolutionary effect on the economy of South Africa.
10th December 2010
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