Landmark Grahamstown Guesthouse on the market

Posted On Wednesday, 04 May 2005 02:00 Published by
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One of Grahamstown's most admired, historic landmarks, The Cock House Guest House and Restaurant, is being marketed by Golding Hotel Investment Consultants (GHIC)

One of Grahamstown's most admired, historic landmarks, The Cock House Guest House and Restaurant, is being marketed by Golding Hotel Investment Consultants (GHIC), a member of the Pam Golding Property group.

Priced at R3.95 million, this well-patronised business is marketed through GHIC's recently launched division which caters specifically for guesthouses and small hotels. In the first three months since being launched (in December 2004), the new division concluded transactions of almost R30 million.

Says Leonard Brewer, GHIC senior consultant in this division: "A listed monument, The Cock House - named after the Honourable William Cock, an 1820 British Settler who lived here in the 1870s - has an illustrious list of former owners which include famous author Andre Brink - who wrote four of his books there, including A Dry White Season and Rumours of Rain.

According to Ashley Lillie of SA Heritage this is the only heritage establishment he is aware of in South Africa that can lay claim to have been lived in by three notable entries in the Dictionary of South African Biography. They are Benjamin Norden who built the house in 1826, Dr William Guybon Atherstone who grew up there and the Hon William Cock."

Formerly used mainly as a residence, the guesthouse has been operation since 1991. Set on 1860sqm in a convenient and central location in Grahamstown, the buildings comprise 820sqm. The property includes an elegant restaurant seating up to 65 people, cosy pub, nine en suite double rooms, guest lounge/library and a secure off-street car park and well established garden.

In 2002 the guesthouse won the AA Accommodation Awards in the Heritage Category, and was highly commended in the AA Accommodation Awards in 2001, 2003 and 2004. Guests have included former South African President Nelson Mandela on no less than three occasions, and current President Thabo Mbeki.

Numerous other well-known public figures have stayed there over the years.

The original plot for The Cock House was in May 1826 granted to Benjamin Norden, a Jewish merchant and pioneer from London who became one of Grahamstown's well-known citizens and successful ivory trader, who also helped established the Jewish tradition in South Africa by inaugurating the first Jewish congregation. In 1835 he sold the plot and premises to Dr John Atherstone for £850.00, a very good price in those days and one indicating that the building was substantial. Atherstone was the most prominent among Grahamstown's first medical practitioners and a former resident surgeon at Guy's Hospital in London. His celebrated son, Dr William Guybon Atherstone, who grew up there, identified the Eureka diamond in 1867 marking the beginning of South Africa's multi-million rand diamond industry.

The property later passed to the Honourable William Cock, an enterprising 1820 Settler who is best known for establishing the original harbour at Port Alfred at the mouth of the Kowie River. He built up a considerable fortune through trading beef to the British army and to St Helena and Mauritius, and established a shipping line to carry the cargo. Towards the end of the 1800'

s, the Webber family took over the residence of The Cock House, renaming it Adelphi House, and in the early 1900's John Henry Webber, then Mayor of Grahamstown, transformed the house with the addition of a beautiful Burmese teak trellis-work veranda.

Between 1971 and 1981 the noted South African author Andre Brink resided there and was responsible for much of the initial restoration work. The current owners purchased the property in 1990 and undertook considerable renovations and rebuilding to convert the property to a guesthouse and restaurant. The old yellowwood ceilings and beams in the stables were recycled to create the bar and most of the tables and desks. Further additions were made over the years.

Today, The Cock House still follows traditions - providing its own home-baked bread, offering hearty English breakfasts, growing its own fresh herbs and serving delicious rum chocolate truffles with coffee. The restaurant is noted for its innovative menu blending the best of South African and international influences. The Cock House is firmly established among national and international travel agents and tour operators and is listed in numerous international travel guides including Lonely Planet and Rough Guide. For further information contact Leonard Brewer of GHIC on 082

901 9567 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Issued by Gaye de Villiers

Tel: 021 6837788 or 083 325 1939

On behalf of Golding Hotel Investment Consultants

Publisher: Golding Hotel Investment Consultants
Source: Golding Hotel Investment Consultants

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