JHF Research Centre ‘Detectives’ do it again

A while ago, we received an enquiry from William Martinson on behalf of the Beit Trustees. He was seeking info about the house where Sir Otto Beit lived while in Johannesburg, circa the 1890s. Thanks to our expert team of ‘detectives’ at the Research Centre, we were able to track down quite a lot of material – much of it gathered from our archived collection from MuseumAfrica.

Although this prominent Randlord’s mansion was demolished over 70 years ago, we were able to determine that the Beit house was located near the current-day Rotunda, on land now owned by Transnet. We even found a sketch of the house’s elevation to Wolmarans Street (see below).

We were also able to clarify that the grand Hohenheim mansion, which later became the Otto Beit Convalescent Home, was not his private residence (although he may have stayed over as a guest of the original owner, Sir Lionel Phillips). Hohenheim was sadly destroyed in 1972 and replaced by what is now the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital / Joburg Gen. The Beit Trust endures, however, and currently funds several students at Wits University.

It’s amazing how much invaluable Joburg info we have stored away in our extensive research centre – it really is a vital archive of the city and it’s buildings. If you have any queries or wish to visit the research centre for yourself, please get in touch with Di Steele: research@joburgheritage.org.za. The outstanding team of researchers and volunteers will do what they can to answer your questions. Please note: the research centre is entirely funded by the JHF, so there is generally a small fee payable for any research conducted on your behalf. You can find more information in the two forms attached below.

– Response from the Beit Trust –

My thanks to Mr Martinson, and my congratulations to him, Flo and Diana for their preservation of heritage. This is work of great value, and now done with depressingly less frequency in our troubled times.

 Warm best wishes again,

SIR ANDREW POCOCKSecretary to the Beit Trustees

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *