NZASM Guest House, 62 Rissik Street, Sunnyside, Tshwane

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Condition Good
Date of origin August 1889
Previous names Mea Vota
Place Sunnyside
Street 62 Rissik Street
Town Pretoria
Magisterial district City of Tshwane
Province Gauteng
Country South Africa
GPS coordinates 25°45'17.48" S; 28°,11'55.59" E
Planning authority name City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality
Architect/Firm Antonie Westenberg
Project architect/Designer Antonie Westenberg
Commissioning owner Antonie Westenberg & Cornelis van der Made
Current owner Tshwane University of Technology
Current occupant None
Previous uses Offices/Residence
Current use Guest House
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[edit] Significance

Since the erection of the Nederlands Zuid-Afrikaanse Spoorweg Maattschappij (NZASM) memorial house, it has been a residence, a museum, a cultural venue and is currently used as a guest house.

[edit] Current known heritage status

It is currently subject to Section 34 of the National Heritage Resources Act (No. 25 of 1999), as it is older than 60 years.

[edit] Known interested and affected parties

[edit] History

This brief history of the Nederlands Zuid-Afrikaanse Spoorweg Maattschappij (NZASM) memorial house, as well as its occupants, tenants and owners, is based on a document written by dr. R.C. de Jong. Two NZASM engineers, Antonie Westenberg and Cornelis van der Made, were transferred from Waterval-Boven to Pretoria in 1896. They decided to buy a well situated piece of land where they would build a house for their own occupation. They bought the middle section of stand #8 and planned to erect a house to their own requirements. Westenberg's education and experience in the Netherlands made him the best candidate to act as architect and designer. His nationality is well reflected in the house, which displays the reigning trends of late 19th century Dutch Architecture. The house was erected between April and August 1898 and Westenberg and the Van der Made family lived there from September of that year. An interesting feature is a section of built-in railway line in the upper bathroom with the number 1898 cast on the front face, heralding the year of completion. Their stay was short-lived in the newly-built house as the Anglo-Boer War broke out in October 1899. By June 1900, Pretoria was occupied by British forces. Shortly after, many Dutch citizens were deported to Europe, and Van der Made and Westenberg were among those.

Many houses in close proximity to the present Unisa campus were annexed by British officials and officers for use as quarters during the war. It is likely that the vacated house of Westenberg and Van der Made was used for this purpose until the end of the war in 1902. After the war, the house was occupied by a certain G.W. Southgate, whose occupation and status are unknown. At some stage between 1913 and 1916, the Hendriks family moved into the house and for some time Major Thomas Kroon lived with them. It was at this time that the house was named "Mea Vota". During the ownership of the Hendriks family, the house was rented to the Pretoria Onderwyskollege (Pretoria Teachers' College) as a student hostel. After the Hendriks family, a mrs. K.S. Noel-Barham lived here. With her interest in amateur theatre, she was responsible for popularising the house as a first class cultural centre.

The Association Willem Punt (later the Association Dr. Willem H.J. Punt) was founded on 10 August 1976. It consisted of enthusiasts who endeavour to preserve historic buildings, and was founded with the idea of buying "Mea Vota" and having the house restored and preserved so that it could be of service to the community. The then owner of the house, mrs. Noel-Barham, was prepared to sell the house for R32 000 and transfer of the property took place at the end of 1978. Funds for restoration were obtained from Barclays Bank (presently First National Bank), the City Council of Pretoria and smaller individual donors. The idea was to adapt a part of the house as a museum with the theme: The ZAR in the time of President S.J.P. Kruger, with emphasis on the Dutch contribution to cultural life in Pretoria.

In October 1980, the NZASM house was declared a National Monument. Shortly afterwards, a section of the house was let out as office space to architects. These tenants were responsible for the control and supervision of the site and building, and at the same time provided a monthly income for the Association Dr. Willem H.J. Punt. These tenants vacated the premises on 1 July 1990, after which it was decided to resume restoration of the building. A loan was obtained from First National Bank and the restoration was completed at a cost of R139 000 in September 1991. Between 1991 and 1997, the house was let out as offices. It was in 1997 that it came up for sale and was purchased by the Tshwane University of Technology, who restored it and currently utilises it as a guest house for visiting dignitaries. The interior restoration was done by Sonia Smit in September 1997.

[edit] Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces

The 19th century Dutch, two storey, four star guest house is in a very good condition compared to the surrounding buildings with their broken windows and littered sidewalks. The main building, the guest house, welcomes one with a porch. The porch floor is of dark slate, and timber door and window frames are painted a dark brown. Behind the main house is a coach house, laundry and separate toilets. The exterior walls are plastered and finished in an off-white colour and a sandstone plinth wraps around the main house. The garden is well kept and features trees probably as old as the building itself.

[edit] Links

[edit] Sources

Unknown document by Dr. R.C. de Jong.

[edit] Photo's

Memorial plate
Site Plan
Entrance door
Street facade

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