Eureka factory, 220 Madiba Street, Pretoria City Centre, Tshwane
Declared as a National Monument in 1982, the Eureka Factory has a significant history within the context of Pretoria. (Today, it is considered a Grade II Heritage Resource)
Typical of its era, the building is an example of the “flat above store” typology. Once a very popular building typology, the Eureka Factory is one of very few remaining examples of its type. On plan, the building represents a lifestyle which has almost completely disappeared. (Terblanche:1983)
The factory facade is typical to the style in which smaller Pretoria buildings were designed at the turn of the century: classical elements from various eras are blended into a form of charming eclecticism. The classical pediment and Baroque-inspired decorative facade merge with ionic pilasters on first floor level. The specific handling of facade design, e.g. its intentional asymmetry and indirect corner entrance, potentially makes it a unique building to Pretorian context. (Terblanche:1983)
The property has passed through the hands of such well-known owners as JHM Struben, GH Nellmapius, Sammy Marks and SA Breweries, and has been a well-known public building during the 20th century, first producing the famous 'Eureka Cigarettes' (known as the "Eureka Factory") and later becoming a retail outlet for the publications of the department of Agricultural and Technical services. (known as the "Ou landboupublikasiegebou") (Ellis:2003)
The Building has also contained culturally significant and invaluable J.H. Pierneef works (known as the "Pierneef Museum") and the library collection of the Pretoria Bar Association. (Ellis:2003)
Current known heritage status
Subject to Section 34 of the NHRA (25 of 1999) because the building is older than 60 years.
Known interested and affected parties
- Pretoria Bar Association
- South African Institute of Architects
- UP Department of Architecture
- Current owners: Old Mutual
- Pretoria Institute of Architecture
The site on which the Eureka Factory is located was originally owned by J.H.M. Struben (Terblanche:1983). On March 14th, 1865, the site was transferred to Pieter Nicholaas Waldeck, after which it was divided into an “Eastern” and “Western” half. After Waldeck’s death in 1888, Aldois Hugo Nellmapius bought the Western half for 1250 pounds, the property upon which the Eureka Factory stands today.
The site was subsequently owned by several renowned parties, e.g. Sammy Marks and S.A. Breweries. S.A. Breweries imposed servitude on the site, stating that any subsequent owners wishing to sell malt products are restricted to selling the products of S.A. Breweries. This servitude is still legally binding today. (Zietsman:n.d.)
In 1903, the site was sold to Edwin Peter Grant, who commissioned the building of the Factory (Terblanche:1983).
Curiously, Grant sold the site to a Sarah Frances Richards on the same day that it was transported to him. Although he made a large profit in this transaction, he had to rent the site from Richards thereafter. (Zietsman:n.d.)
Built between 1903 and 1904, the Eureka Factory was designed to host Grant’s general dealership on ground floor, with living quarters for Grant on the first floor level. In 1904, Grant shared the building with neighbouring Pretoria Printing Works, publishers of the “Pretoria News.” (Terblanche:1983)
After 1905, several individuals and parties enjoyed use of the building, amongst which F. Mackintosh, a “commercial broker agent” in 1906 (Zietsman:n.d.) and the Pretoria Jewish Club headquarters, which was located there between 1907 and 1911 (Terblanche:1983). In 1913, the building housed the practice of architect A. MacGregor Ritchie. (Zietsman:n.d.)
In 1920, Leendert te Groen (see figure 12) bought the property, moved into the first-floor apartment and transformed the rest of the building into a tobacco factory, which produced his then-famous Eureka cigarettes. Te Groen, a Dutch immigrant, had started producing tobacco in Pretoria in 1899, and had by that time won several medals for his tobacco company. Married in 1933 in the first-floor living room of the factory, his son was also born there two years later (January 1935). (Zietsman:n.d.)
Te Groen dies shortly after the birth of his son in 1935 (Zietsman, n.d.), the ownership of the Factory passed to the Government of the Union of South Africa, via the estate of Robert Hamilton. It became the retail outlet for the publications of the Department of Agricultural and Technical Services (from where the name “Ou Landboupublikasiegebou”), and was subsequently used as a storage depot for the Department of Public Works. (Terblanche:1983)
The factory was declared as a National Monument in 1982 and was meticulously restored to its former glory. (Terblanche:1983) Two years later, in 1984, some 347 Pierneef paintings were donated by the Department of National Education to the National Cultural History Museum (Ellis:2003). As a result, the factory was converted into the Pierneef Museum, where paintings and various other Pierneef artefacts were exhibited on ground floor level, with a coffee shop on the top floor. Unfortunately, security proved to be a problem and the number of visitors to the museum declined. In 1997 the Pierneef collection was relocated to the new headquarters of the National Cultural History Museum, the newly renovated Old Mint Building in Visagie Street. (Currently part of the Museum Park Complex.) (Ellis:2003)
The factory was left vacant for several years. Fortunately, in 2002, when the Pretoria Bar moved chambers to the Mutual and Federal Building, (later to be renamed the High Court Chambers), it was discovered that the new building was not structurally suited for a library. The adjacent Eureka factory was leased (from current owners Old Mutual), renovated and appropriated as the new library for the Pretoria Bar, and still currently holds these book collections. (Ellis:2003)
Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces
Consisting of only two floors, the factory's first-floor apartment has a separate entrance on the southeastern corner of the building, but can also be reached via an internal staircase which connects the apartment to downstairs workspace.
The facade is typical to the style in which smaller Pretoria buildings were designed at the turn of the century: classical elements from various eras are blended into a form of charming eclecticism. The classical pediment and Baroque-inspired decorative facade merge with ionic pilasters on first floor level. The specific handling of facade design, e.g. its intentional asymmetry and indirect corner entrance, potentially makes it a unique building to Pretorian context. (Terblanche:1983)
Roof: wooden trusses with corrugated s-profile sheet metal
Walls: plastered masonry construction.
Doors, Floors & ceilings: wood
Finishes: painted plaster
The factory has been renovated and altered several times to fight decay or appropriate internal spaces for alternative functions. (Terblanche:1983) The most important alterations to the Factory was done to the street facade and roof. However, the initial design intent is still visible and the factory remains an important vision of early Pretoria, while the world around it continues to develop.
(List printed references and oral sources)
Zietsman, R.N.G., n.d., Ou Landboupublikasiegebou, [interview] (available on hard copy at the University of Pretoria Department of Architecture Archives)
Ellis, P. 2003. Centenary of the Leendert te Groen Building. Advocate, 12, pp. 29.
Terblance, C.E., 1983. Die Ou Landboupublikasiegebou. [manuscript] Department of Architecture Archives, University of Pretoria.
a.d., n.d., Plans and Sections of Ou Landboupublikasiegebou, Department of Architecture Archives, University of Pretoria.
• Van Eeden, H. 2010, Eureka Factory, Pretoria.
• Plans, sections and historical photographs- obtained from the University of Pretoria, department Architecture Archives, 2010.