As most of you know, I’m on a quest to visit all the places featured in the Hidden Johannesburg book. Last week I went to the View, a historic Victorian mansion in Parktown, as part of a tour with the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. This brings my total number of Hidden Joburg places visited to 18, with 10 left to go.
Quick aside: If you’d like to check out all of the posts I’ve written about Hidden Joburg locations (including a couple of places that I’ve blogged about more than once), I’ve created a special “Hidden Joburg” blog category for your perusal.
The Queen-Anne-style architecture of the View, which was built in 1896 by City Engineer Charles Aburrow and Philip Treeby, is not considered to be particularly remarkable. “It’s actually rather ugly on the outside,” wrote Hidden Johannesburg author Paul Duncan. And the actual “view” toward Pretoria and the Magaliesberg Mountains, which the house was named for, is long gone thanks to Joburg’s relentless growth. The View is now surrounded by ugly academic and hospital buildings.
But the View’s interior is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
The View was built for Sir Thomas Cullinan — founder of the Premier Diamond Mine, where the Cullinan Diamond was discovered — and his wife and ten (!) children. Thomas Cullinan and Lady Anne Cullinan both lived at the View until their deaths, in 1936 and 1963, respectively. Today the View is home to the Transvaal Scottish Regimental Association.
Villa Arcadia is still my opulent Hidden Joburg mansion of choice. But the View is a must-see for the bird paintings alone.
The remaining 10 Hidden Joburg places might take me a while to crack. But I hope to achieve one or two more by the end of the year.
Thanks to the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation for putting on a great set of tours over Heritage Weekend.