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Tuesday Apr 28, 2009

Historic Westville mansion on the Market

The history of Westville is tied up in the tale of a mansion that is for sale at R4.8 million.

The house was built in 1895 and has only changed hands four times since then.

Run as a guest house, the property is set on an 1 800m2 plot and is close to amenities.

Margaret van Baalen of Seeff Westville said, "In 1847 a London merchant, Jonas Bergthiel, chartered a sailing ship, the Beta, to bring 35 farmers and their families from Bremerhaven, Germany, to the land called Westville in the colony of Victoria".

The area was named Westville in honour of Martin West, the first lieutenant-governor of Natal.

"It was their intention to grow cotton and, although the crop was a success, the project failed as there was no machinery available to clean the cotton. The land was sold by public auction in 1849 at an average price of 62c/ha.

"The smallholding where this home was built was purchased from a farmer who lived in the farmhouse, which was in fact the first house in Westville, and today is the Bergthiel House Museum."

Van Baalen said the plans for the house for sale were brought over from England. It was to be an exact replica of a Tudor house that the owners had there.

The woodwork, stained glass windows and most of the building materials were brought by ship from England, and still grace the house.

"However, during the voyage from England to South Africa tragedy struck when the original owner's wife died. Grief-stricken, he sold the house to Methodist missionaries and never lived in it. The present owners bought the property in 1973 and lived in the homestead for 29 years. The guest house,  with its special ambience, was established in 1998, when it was fully renovated. It now has four stars from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa."

The original grandeur of this double-storey house, is still apparent.

The house has three garages plus secure parking for a further three cars. It features pressed beams, six en suite bedrooms, is carpeted and air-conditioned, and has satellite television.

The property also has two self-contained cottages.

Other facilities include an internet café, WiFi, secure parking with electric fencing, swimming pool, lapa and braai area.

Van Baalen said, "This property makes a grand home or may continue to be run as a going concern. It is well situated in central Westville, with easy access to the M13 taking you into Durban, N3 to Johannesburg and N2 to the north and south coasts.

"Central to all greater Durban facilities, it offers a wonderful investment opportunity to whoever its fifth owner will be to live and work among the hills of this  beautiful part of Durban."-Sunday Tribune

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