Living in the spacious lap of history

By Helen Crooks

TAKE yourself back to an elegant era, a time when houses had drawing rooms rather than lounges, when bells were rung to summon the servants and when children had nurseries adjacent to their bedrooms.

It was an era when it was possible to make a grand entrance into a spacious country farmhouse surrounded by pretty gardens for the children to play in.

Then bring yourself back to the present and try to imagine such a house not only still existing, but also still being surrounded by huge gardens – and yet being just a few minutes drive from Port Elizabeth’s CBD and beachfront.

All of the above rings true for a Walmer house which was built in 1887, making it a historical monument.

Sadly, these days the house is accessed from Prospect Road which makes its impressive entrance hall a bit redundant but back in the day when it was probably a grand farmhouse, visitors would be greeted in the large entrance hall with its concrete flagstone red polished floor. complete with fireplace.

From there, guests would have been taken to the impressive drawing room, its original wooden floors still intact, where a roaring fire would stave off the occasional winter chills.

Today, the room is still a large, functional family area, with open-plan access to the equally large dining room which has an impressive bay window, with storage space available in the built-in window seat.

True to its origins, the house also has a farm-style kitchen large enough to accommodate a six-seater dining table, a nook for an AGA (display only, not in working condition) and a large gas stove.

Although the kitchen is well kitted out with modern cupboards, there are two walk-in pantries for extra storage.

The spacious master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom, while the family bathroom makes a concession to modern living featuring a large walk-in shower.

There’s an additional three family bedrooms, two of them interleading, making them ideal for conversion into a bedroom and nursery.

Throughout the house the original wooden sash windows are still in place as are exterior shutters, to protect the windows from harsh PE winds.

And while a townhouse complex has eroded some of the property, the house is still on a double plot with a massive open garden to one side and lots of gardens within gardens to the other. The total erf size is an impressive 4836m².

Making watering easier, there’s an underground water tank with a pump in working order.

The garden also features a large lily pond which may have its roots in the earlier origins of the property but there’s also another concession to modern living with a large swimming pool featured in another of the home’s outdoor areas.

Additional accommodation includes two servants rooms which could easily be converted into a flat and a large garage with parking for four cars. A covered stoep now also fronts the original entrance hall.

While there are those who might prefer something more modern, this rambling home takes history buffs on a nostalgic trip down memory lane and offers an amazing opportunity to live in a property from an era long gone by.

The house is on the market with Solomons Crafford and the asking price is R2.5-million.


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