Historical Van Gogh home comes to light

2008-07-22 00:00

A historical building has become visible after vegetation was cleared on a property beside Cedara Avenue in Hilton.

The wood-and-iron house, which can be seen from the road, is more than 90 years old.

Jan and Ellen van Gogh (distant relatives of the Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh) bought the property in about 1967. According to Brenda Edwards, their daughter, a Mr Patterson owned the original 28-acre farm before her parents had it. He was a blacksmith at Cedara College and kept cattle and horses. When he died, he left the existing one-acre stand and house to his wife. The rest of the farm was sold.

Jan van Gogh was a building contractor and he built a kitchen on to the house, in which Edwards and her sister, Margie, grew up.

“It was hard for us growing up there because Hilton people have their noses in the air. We were embarrassed by the house all our lives and I only left home at 26. My mother was the only one in the family who liked it. She was very happy there. It’s only now that I am older that I appreciate its historical value. That’s where I learned about love, about what’s most important in life.”

The property is for sale, and because the house is more than 60 years old, a permit from Amafa Heritage KZN is required to do anything to it, including moving it from the site, renovating or demolishing it.

The Van Gogh family has obtained a permit and hopes that a buyer will either renovate the house or demolish it and rebuild it somewhere else.

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