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Melrose House, Pretoria

melrose house pretoriaMelrose House is situated at 275 Jacob Mar Street, Pretoria across from Burger's Park. Free parking is available at 280 Scheiding Street, to the south of Melrose House.

Named after the famous Melrose Abbey in Scotland, Melrose House was built in 1886 by prosperous Pretoria businessman George Jesse Heys. Today this elegant house museum stands as a superb example of the transition of Victorian to Edwardian architectural styles and interiors. The interior is characterised by colourful stained glass windows, paintings by English artists, carpets in rich colours, ornate ceilings and fireplaces, as well as valuable porcelain ornaments, the majority of which belonged to the Heys family. The house has remained structurally unaltered over the decades. It was restored between 1990 and 1992, and reinstated to its former glory. Some of the original décor is still in place, as are watercolours and bronzes owned by the Heys. The satins and brocade, gilded ceilings and stained-glass windows are reminiscent of genteel days gone by. The coach house in the sprawling – and now overgrown – garden still houses Heys’ car, a Minerva bought in 1920 that he did not ever like.

Lord Roberts requisitioned Melrose House as headquarters of the British forces, after the invasion of Pretoria in June 1900. Instructions were issued from here for more than 18 months, determining the strategy of the British forces in the field. The Peace Treaty of Vereeniging which ended the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902) was signed in Melrose House on 31 May 1902.

Melrose House offers visitors guided tours by appointment, a clay tennis court, a reference library and a Tea Garden. Temporary exhibitions, antique fairs, talks, workshops for children and adults, and shows are presented on a regular basis. The Stables at Melrose House is housed in the stable complex at Melrose House. Light meals, cakes, a variety of teas, coffee and cold drinks are served.

A maximum of 20 people can take the guided tour, which lasts about an hour. Workshops for adults and children on educational topics such as the Anglo-Boer War and the Victorian era are held regularly. Temporary exhibitions, such as the 2010 display of porcelain from the Czech Republic, are also housed there. A major draw card is the Antique and Crafts Fair. The fair comprises about 200 stands selling collectables such as jewellery, furniture, porcelain and bric-a-brac.


 

Gauteng Conference Centre
122 Zinnia Road, Kyalami
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Phone: 082 417 0389