Regimental Head Quarters : "The View"

18 Ridge Road, Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Photograph taken Aug 2000, after the Victorian gardens were re established in February - August 2000.
Compare it to the photograph taken Feb 1999 before the garden were re estabished.

"The View" was erected by Thomas Major Cullinan (1862 - 1936). The site comprises stands 58 and 59 Johannesburg,  auctioned in 1893 for 100 and bought by Cullinan in August 1896 for £1,250. The building was most probably designed by Charles Aburrow the then city engineer of Johannesburg. In 1903 Aburrow in partnership with Phillip Treeby designed an extension to the house on the West. Although six years had elapsed the new addition is in harmony with the original house in terms of design and building materials. The addition consisted of a billiard room and study on the ground floor with three bedrooms above.

Typical of the Anglo Boer war period, "The View" is constructed of load bearing walls a dipped roof of corrugated iron and double story of wooden verandas. Thomas Cullinan being one of the pioneers and very successful builders of the city used the method of construction and building materials which were of the best quality available at the time. Apart from imitation rusticated corner stones and vossiers and cornices, the walls are of hard burnt brick plastered inside and wall papered. The woodwork of the gables, verandas, window frames and wooden doors, of which the sliding door between the dining room and lounge are worthy of note, are constructed mostly of oregon. Excluding the brick and plaster work, all the wood work and fittings were imported from overseas and transported to the Witwatersrand at great expense.

The opulence of the mining magnate’s of this early and colourful period in Johannesburg’s development is well symbolised in this building, which in one of the very few remaining examples. It’s significance in respect is demonstrated by it’s lavish grounds , scale and decoration. Also, it reflects the social life of it’s time and layout of the garden, the planning of the house and it’s internal finishes. Historically "The View" is an important document of the growth of the city and the South African economy. In the fist instance the building is the oldest surviving structure in Parktown and also one of the oldest houses in Johannesburg. Furthermore, it is a living document of the high level of building techniques and notereal of the 1890s.

Secondly, the building has important associations with a historical personality - Thomas Major Cullinan, (well known for his founding of the "Premier Mine" outside Pretoria, where the largest diamond in the world was found in 1905 ), was also known as one of the first and successful builders in Johannesburg. He was also responsible for the erection of many of the early buildings for the mining houses and banks and stimulated the building trade as well as establishing a cement industry.

Born in the Cape at Elands Post near Seymore, he went to Barberton in 1884 and married in 1886, arriving in Johannesburg in 1887. He and a family of 10 children. In 1902 he became interested in industrial enterprise and founded "Premier Mine and Consolidated Rand Brick Pottery and Lime Company". In the same year his child was born which necessitated the extension to the house mentioned above.

In recognition of his contribution to industrial development in South Africa he was knighted in 1910 and also in that year he was elected to the Parliament for Pretoria Western district. He lived in "The View" for nearly 40 years.

Aesthetically "The View" forms a landmark in architectural development of the city and it is a well designed building and the best surviving example of the neo Queen Anne style in Johannesburg..

The plan of this double story house represents the typical arrangement of the late Victorian home layout. The reception room face North and East and are expressed externally by specious bay windows and gables. These rooms are connected externally with verandas and balconies. The Western and Southern elevations are of lesser importance and reflected the services side of the house, of special interest inside the building are the hand painted murals and door panels. They show the incoming art nouveax style. Apart from minor cracks and weathering of the balcony and verandas woodwork, the building is in a sound structural condition. In its present condition the house lends its self to being used for military head quarters.

S/Sgt J Wilken.

Entrance01.TIF (730888 bytes)

The entrance to the House displaying the hand painted murals.


Lounge & Dining room.

In the lounge looking from the bay window into the dining room.  The Sliding doors with hand painted door panels, demonstrating the incoming art nouveax style


Billiard room looking north.

The Billiard room (West wing).  Looking North towards the bay window.


Bath01.TIF (739584 bytes)

This bath, still in regular use, once had King Edward VIII make use of it when he visited the Cullinan family.   The floor and walls are tiled.

Since the founding of the regiment in 1902,  members of the Transvaal Scottish have managed to find, acquire, donate and present items and artefacts that they felt would help to illustrate their participation in the events of their day.

The battle's over.  The victor and vanquished take stock.  Memorials immortalising those personalities and the events are established.

Business Venue
The View has recently been re organised. It now provides safe, convenient meeting facilities, for local business organisation that want to temporarily escape the trappings of the fast track, in order to plan and organise their next offensive.

Photographs, DD Smythe © 1999.