Melrose House is a charming historical museum that can be found in Jacob Maré Street in the picturesque town of Pretoria. Conveniently perched across from Burger’s Park, it is elegant and a remnant of the colonial South Africa of times past.
Melrose House was named after Melrose Abbey in Scotland, which is a partially ruined monastery that dates back to 1136. It remains a historical attraction that is acclaimed in the United Kingdom. Melrose House in Pretoria was built in 1886 by George J Heys, who was a prominent and successful business mogul in Pretoria at the time. Amongst other things, it is an important record of how architecture and interiors were transformed from the Victorian style to a more Edwardian approach.
Melrose House was requisitioned by Lord Roberts as the headquarters of the British forces in June 1900, after Pretoria was invaded. It became the point from which instructions were issues regarding the soldiers’ strategy; a position it held for 1.5 years. When the Peace Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in 1902, it was done in Melrose House. This was a crucial document that ended the Anglo-Boer War.
The grand interior of Melrose House includes beautiful stained glass windows, plush carpets in opulent colours, paintings by British artists, exquisitely ornate fireplaces and ceilings, and an array of gorgeous porcelain ornaments that boast impressive monetary values amongst collectors. Most of these ornaments still belong to the Heys family.
Guided tours of the museum can be arranged by appointment, and provide much insight, adding value to your time here. Other features of Melrose House include a clay tennis courts, tea garden and reference library. Thanks to the facilities available, the museum is also perfectly set up for temporary exhibitions, antique fairs, workshops and shows.
The Stables is a coffee shop that has a variety of hot and cold beverages, as well as fresh cakes, sweets and light meals. This is the perfect place for young and old to spend a day, relaxing in the prettiness and gaining a true appreciation of the colonial history of South Africa.