PMB to lose its historical museum

2016-06-29 06:00
PHOTO: Ian CArbutt Macrorie House Museum will be closing its doors.

PHOTO: Ian CArbutt Macrorie House Museum will be closing its doors.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

THREATS of criminal activity and reduced funding have led to the imminent closure of one of Pietermaritzburg’s historical buildings, Macrorie House Museum.

The building, at the top of Jabu Ndlovu Street, dates back to the 1850s, having been extended from time to time.

The Macrorie collections are named after Reverend William Kenneth Macrorie and his wife Agnes, who came to Natal in 1869 following the controversial excommunication of Bishop Colenso. They lived at South Hill in the former Loop Street for 25 years until the house was sold when they returned to England.

It is situated in what used to be a well considered part of Pietermaritzburg, close to what used to be Government House and is now the Unisa building.

According to Debbie Whelan, chairperson of the board of trustees at Macrorie House, the building was originally purchased by the Simon van der Stel Foundation in the mid 1960s, and the collection of items began.

However, it took considerable time to get to the point of opening as it only opened its doors as a museum in 1975 displaying pieces of history from the Victorian period that was donated by various members of the public over the years.

“It forms a significant part of heritage in the city, and is, in fact, an important example of a Victorian House museum, which has been enjoyed by visitors both local and international. Its collection displays the transition to technology which came as part of the late industrial revolution era, in addition to revealing the manner in which settlers in early Pietermaritzburg lived. Its loss will be felt as this layer of history will be removed,” said Whelan.

However, Whelan said that as a board their responsibility is to ensure the collection and house is kept safe.

“The decision [to close] was not taken lightly. We are also following certain legal processes which are time consuming, however, it must be noted that there are strict protocols with closing museums, and these will be followed,” she said.

Whelan added over the years the museum board has consisted of dedicated members of Pietermaritzburg’s academic and lay society, and its curators, most of whom served the museum for many years, played an active role in the promotion of the museum and its collection.

She said that there are plans to move the collection, in its entirety, to a secure venue and all interested and affected parties will be informed of the date of the closure of the museum.

Threats of criminal activity and reduced funding have led to the closure

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


5 top leg exercises for men

Here’s our selection of the five best leg exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content this holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.