20 October 2012


Katherine LOVE is the owner of Lindfield House in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. The house museum, at 72 Richmond Avenue, is furnished in the Victorian era style, and was recently declared a Provincial Heritage Building. It was designed by Sir Herbert BAKER and built circa 1910 on half an acre of land. The Victorian era covers the period from the late 1830s to 1900. It was built for Dr. ST. John STANWELL and his wife Alice. St. John was born in 1870, the son of Willaim STANWELL and Fanny, who lived in Yorkshire Street, Wardleworth, Rochdale, Lancashire, according to the 1871 England Census. William was also a surgeon. By 1881 the family was living at The Elms, Yorkshire St, Wardleworth. St. John married Alice EVANS in 1898 in Stamford district, Lincolnshire. They left Southampton on the Kildonan Castle on 07 December 1901 for the Cape, along with Mr and Mrs STANWELL. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1893, and was registered as a doctor in South Africa in 1903. In 1913-1915 his office was at 40 Wolmarans Street, Johannesburg. Dr. STANWELL died in 1931 in Natal. Alice travelled between South Africa and England a number of times. On 17 April 1913 she arrived in Southampton on the German from Natal. On 04 October 1913 she left Southampton on the Durham Castle for the Cape. On 04 November 1922 she left Glasgow on the Ulysses for the Cape. On 04 August 1926 she arrived in London on the Dunluce Castle from Port Elizabeth. On 28 November 1928 she left London on the Gloucester Castle for Port Elizabeth.
Lindfield House Museum in Auckland Park
Lindfield House
Through the years the house has been altered and extended. In 1924, A.J. MARSHALL, Sir BAKER's partner, made some changes. In 1933, Nellie EDWARDS, the city's first female architect, added more rooms. Nellie EDWARDS was born 02 August 1897 in Britain, where she did her training. When she registered with the Institute of South African Architects in 1927 she was resident at 86 Marathon Street in Kensington, Johannesburg. By 1933 she had been in practice on her own for nine years and had designed apartments, schools, churches and was at the time designing two blocks of hostels for government schools, a handiwork block and laboratories for another school. She was appointed an arbitrator in about 1933, giving her age as "thirty-six years old on 2 August 1933." By 1947 she had had offices at 111 - 112 London House in Loveday Street. She retired in 1951, resigning from the Institute of South African Architects in 1963.

When Katherine and her mother, Katharine McGill LOVE (maiden name VILJOEN), bought the 22-room house 43 years ago, the shingle roof and two tall chimneys were removed. Katherine was born a block away. The Apostolic Church offered to buy her parents' house and demolish it to build a church. She and her mother saved the fireplaces, doors and windows, and used them at Lindfield. Katherine's father, Aubrey Clarence LOVE, died in 1968. When her mother passed away in 2005, Katherine turned the house into a Victorian museum and about 10 years ago she started giving tours. She also conducts walking tours of Auckland Park. She has never married and has no heirs. During tours of the 22-roomed house, of which 18 are open to the public, Katherine wears the uniform of a Victorian parlour maid. The entrance fees are the only income she receives. Her family has lived there for two generations, building up a collection of 19th and early 20th century furniture, art, decorative and utilitarian objects representative of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Katherine also gives talks and presentations on the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The by-appointment house tour lasts approximately an hour and a half, and is followed by afternoon tea. Call Katherine on Tel: 011 726 2932 to arrange a tour.
Katherine Love of Lindfield House Museum
Katherine Love (Photo credit: Beeld newspaper)
The suburb of Auckland Park was laid out in 1888. It was named for New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, by New Zealander John LANDAU, who bought J.J. LINDEQUE's farm on the present site of the Johannesburg Country Club. The area reminded John of a valley near his home in Auckland. He turned the farmhouse into the Auckland Park Hotel, to compete against the nearby Sans Souci Hotel. He constructed a lake filled with water flowing from the Braamfontein Spruit held concerts in the grounds and started a half-hourly bus service from Commissioner Street. In 1906, the hotel became the country club and the lake disappeared. The Standard newspaper carried the first advert for the sale of stands in the suburb. By 1905, an employee of the Auckland Park Real Estate company, Horace COLLINS, renamed the streets after places in the Thames Valley in London and streets associated with the London office of the company. The area was always known for its bluegums, planted by J.H. HARDY in 1888 when he built the first house. At the turn of the 20th century, Auckland Park was in the country relative to the Johannesburg city centre. In Richmond Avenue there is a large oak tree, planted from an acorn by Bill WILSON, whose father brought back the seed from service in WW1. Julius JEPPE built a grand house in Molesey Avenue. When the Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor, visited South Africa in 1925, he stayed at 1 and 2 Greenlands Road.