“The View” History & Heritage meet Hospitality
18 Ridge Road, Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
‘The View’ is a unique venue for family, friends, or business.
Weddings. Pub lunches. Weekend family brunches. Photo shoots.
From seven to seventy people, ‘The View’ is the way to go. Completely casual to fully formal; braai to four-course dining… ‘The View’ caters to all tastes.
For more information on this Venue for Hire, Contact:
Ian Hooper – Email The View
072 321 4860 or 011 643 2961
A Brief History of “The View”
by S/Sgt J Wilken
“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 magnates 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 its lavish grounds, scale and decoration. Also, it reflects the social life of its time and layout of the garden, the planning of the house and its internal finishes.
Historically “The View” is an important document of the growth of the city and the South African economy. In the first instance the building is the oldest surviving structure in Parktown and 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 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 nouveau style. Apart from minor cracks and weathering of the balcony and verandas woodwork, the building is in a sound structural condition.