musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Detour in Pretoria

Following my initial trip to Pretoria on the Gautrain I was determined to start exploring a bit further. There is a lot of history in the city, and it is not really a place I know well. My weekly trips to the archives are very busy, but occasionally I may need to break these off to explore something along the way.  One of two possible places that I needed to see were Melrose House, and to find a memorial in Burgers Park. Both of these are next to each other, so it was just a matter of actually doing it. 
 
We parked at Melrose House, which is between Jacob Mare and Scheiding Streets.  The house is quite famous, as it was here that the peace documents that ended the Boer War were signed on 321 March 1902. The house was originally built for George Heys, and was completed in 1886. It was named after Melrose Abbey in Scotland. 
The back of Melrose House

The back of Melrose House

It was designed by WT Vale of London, and has stables and a tennis court in the grounds. The house has seen many famous personages living in it, including Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener and has always been somewhat of an iconic structure in Pretoria. It was declared a national monument on 17 May 1971.
 

Just across the street from Melrose House is Burgers Park.  The site for the park was set aside in 1874 at the recommendation of President TF Burgers, and development was started in 1889. It is a very pretty space and of special interest is the statue of President Burgers, as well as the South African Scottish Memorial which was what I was really looking for.  The park was declared a national monument in 1979.

The ornate gates originate from the house “Parkzicht” but these have since been vandalised, as has the Victorian bandstand. Fortunately the SA Scottish Memorial is in an excellent condition. 

South African Scottish Memorial

Bandstand

Bandstand

There is also a Florarium on the site, and a tree that was planted by Queen Wilhelmina in 1898,  although the original tree is long gone. Finally, a quick visit to President Burgers and then it was time to dash off home. 

FT Burgers (State President 1872-1877)

The one thing that struck me the most about this park was what a nice green space it was in Pretoria. Unfortunately, like everything else in South Africa, metal thieves are going to reduce it to rubble.

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