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The battle for Markhams
Old Photo of Markhams - Source unknown.pngThen the 6 September 1978 meeting took place – 18 representatives from five heritage bodies attended, the Heritage Coalition was formed, and a petition drive was set in motion. Tables were manned in the CBD, Sandton and Randburg, collecting signatures; posters were made; the media was informed of progress; the owners were engaged. The battle for Markhams had begun.
Ball recounts how bookmarks appeared with a drawing of the building, with the wording: "Keep this, it may be the last you ever see of Markhams"; and "This is the only building in Johannesburg your grandfather would be likely to recognise".

Joburgers signed the petition in droves – over two days 26 000 signatures were collected. The city council got involved, trying to shift responsibility elsewhere, while the National Monuments Council (NMC) also tried to dodge the issue.

"A key moment in The Battle for Markhams and the most promising indication that the pressure created by the campaign was having an effect was a meeting attended by all the senior personnel of the Heritage Coalition, the City Council and Foschini on 22 September 1978," indicates Ball.

The outcome of the meeting was that Foschini commissioned its architects to do a feasibility study, looking at the possibility of retaining the facade while modernising the interior.