‘No. 1 U’hage’ still standing after 200 years

2015-06-11 06:01
andlt;Two gables were erected at the Blenheim House during 1903 displaying the dates 1815 and 1903. 

andlt;Two gables were erected at the Blenheim House during 1903 displaying the dates 1815 and 1903. Photos: PROPERTY24

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Blenheim House, the property at 4 Baird Street formerly known as “No. 1 Uitenhage” this year sees its 200th year of existence as one of the few remaining mansions built during the 1800s.

It was originally a single storey house build in 1815 for J.B. Knobel, a land surveyor, and the property extended to John Street. The foundations of the early houses in Uitenhage were build of river stones embedded in clay. According to architects No. 1 Uitenhage was built so well that five storeys could have been added on the foundation.

Blenheim House had many owners and during 1893 Mrs Niven sold it to a then member of parliament, the honourable John Dolley. At that stage the house with its 62cm walls consisted of a hall, large drawing-room, dining-room, pantry and spacious kitchen as well as seven lofty, well-ventilated bedrooms, verandah and broad stoep.

During 1903 the upper-storey was added to the house with a large balcony on three sides of the property. Two gables were erected at the front of the house portraying the dates 1815 and 1903. The house was known for its remarkable woodwork like the hand-carved wooden fireplace which was shipped from Italy, a magnificent teak staircase and teak woodwork on the balcony

The Dolley-descendants continued to live at Blenheim until 1976 after which it was left unoccupied and deteriorated. During 1978 the Le Roux brothers Dawie and Pieter bought it from the heirs to the Dolley Estate. They restored the building back to its unique architectural beauty to house their legal practice.

Blenheim House was declared a national monument in 1981.

(Source: Uitenhage 200 1804-2004, The garden town)


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