Down an avenue of ancient oaks, yet clearly visible from St. John’s Road, Plumstead, Cape Town, stands a strangely beautiful historic home dating from the late 1700’s – TIMOUR HALL VILLA – An official IPA House since 1989.
Below Table Mountain in Cape Town, the ‘Mother City’ of South Africa, and once described by Jürgen Klös (A past International President of the IPA) as the ‘flagship of the world’s IPA Houses and a jewel to be tresured’, Timour Hall Villa is situated in Timour Hall Avenue, Plumstead.
The House, declared a National Monument in 1977, is a mixture of architecural styles which reflect the fancies of its many owners over more than two hundred years. Dormer windows snuggle beside the handsome, elongated central gable, and a portico has replaced the old wooden verandah across the front of the main house.
Timour Hall, with its lush gardens and a stream running through the 2.5 hectare grounds, accommodates 21 people in its 10 tastefully furnished bedrooms. Apart from its private lounge and dining room, the house has a conference facility and ballroom (dining room) which is ideal for cosy private functions. As a hospitality house it has a fully equiped kitchen for use by guests as well as a bar facility. More than sufficient parking is available for all.
The naming of the property as Timour Hall Villa is documented in the book ‘The Old Buildings of the Cape’ by Dr Hans Fransen and Mary Alexander Cook, as the official name given to the property in 1878 by a later owner, Mrs Aletta Jacoba Smith.
To begin the official history of the land that would become Timour Hall Estate, one has to start with Johan Georg Lochner. Born in Mannheim, Germany, he came to the Cape in 1765 aboard the ship ‘Noord Nieuwland’ as a soldier and later worked as a waggoner and tailor before becoming a citizen of the Cape in 1771. In 1794 he was declared bankrupt and to survive and enable him to provide for his family, Lochner applied to the authorities for land. This was granted along the Diep River, in what is today the suburb of Plumstead and the land on which Timour Hall was built. He was eventually given the freehold title on 19 October 1804 to 9 morgen 534 square roods 120 square feet.
A 1806 map indicating various land positions of Dutch and English soldiers during the 1796 Battle of Muizenberg in Cape Town indicates the position of Lochner’s property with a dwelling thereon.
Following his death in 1806, the land changed hands and size repeatedly and many names begin to appear on the deeds – with the name James Coleman Fitzpatrick as one of the most significant. He was born in Ireland and in 1861 became a judge of the Cape Supreme Court. Judge Fitzpatrick was the father of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, a politician and author of the book ‘Jock of the Bushveld’.
The Cape Provincial Adminstration had in 1960 taken over the ownership of Timour Hall with the intention to build a school on the premises – this however never materialised.
With the founding of the Western Cape Region of IPA South Africa in 1983, Roy Moore the then Regional Chairperson and founder of IPA South Africa, set out to fulfil his dream by establishing an IPA House in the region. The dream that he passionately pursued eventually in 1984 led to him to identifying Timour Hall as the ideal property which could be used as an IPA House. Roy succeeded in convincing the Cape Provincial Administration of IPA’s cause and objectives and successfully negotiated a lease agreement of 40 years. As per the lease agreement of 1985, the IPA was to restore/renovate the House at their own cost.
This, ironically, exactly 100 years after an advertisement appeared in the Cape Times on 9 April 1885 and which read – ‘TIMOUR HALL. Five minutes from Plumstead Station. To be let furnished from the 1st of May. This delightful familiy residence, standing on its own grounds of 150 achres. Gardens, orchards, vineyard and well-wooded, with fine avenues and a running stream of clear water’. This advertisement was placed by Judge Fitzpatrick and was the first time that the name Timour Hall was used in any written document.
At the time of identifying Timour as an IPA House, the manor internally and outer buildings had sadly become rundown and delapidated. In the proposals made regarding the restoration of Timour Hall the house was described as ‘derelict and which would need a tremendous amount of repair work to restore it to its original condition.
Roy and his Committee did, however, not fear the challenge and set about raising funds required for the restoration of Timour Hall. A task which had indeed proven to be a greater challenge than anybody would have thought. By 1989, the Regional Committee, although committed to the restoration of the House, found it difficult to raise the required funds. IPA was now at serious risk of losing the property…
A visit to South Africa by Austrian police officers in 1989 will go down in history as the event that rescued Timour Hall for all in the IPA. The touring group was hosted by the IPA Western Cape Region at Timour Hall on 16 February 1989 – proven as the right thing at the right time. In attendance was General Hennie de Witt, the then National Commissioner of the South African Police Service as well as President of IPA South Africa. Following the evening’s activities and saddened by the state of Timour Hall, General de Witt committed the SA Police to the restoration of Timour Hall Villa as a national Police project.
With the support of the SA Police Service and donations from business, Timour Hall ‘one of Cape Town’s most eccentric 18th century houses’ was officially inaugurated as an IPA House on 5 December 1989.
Today, the Grand Old Lady of the Cape of Good Hope still stands tall and will welcome any person visiting with open hands. For those who visit Cape Town, do not be let down by not staying over at Timour Hall!
- Address: Timour Hall Road, (Cnr St. Joans & Timour Hall Roads), Plumstead, Cape Town, South Africa
- Tel: ++27 (0) 21 797 2582; mobile ++27 (0) 84 510 2516
- email: email@example.com
- Website: http://timourhall.com
For more detailed information on the history of Timour Hall Villa and other IPA (SA) Houses, please link to: IPA Houses South Africa, or visit the IPA South Africa Website at http://www.ipasafrica.co.za