Latest News

To read our Quarterly Newsletter, click here

To access our Newsletter Archive, click here

To bring a Matter to our Attention, click here


Fire At Duntreath

That lovely home designed by Baker and Fleming in 1911 burned down in the early hours of this morning. The owners managed to escape the inferno, but the loss will affect them deeply. They had lived there for more than 40 years.

We unveiled a blue plaque on our Westcliff tour last year and the two  groups were privileged to have an inside tour as well  meeting Dr Syd Biddulph and his wife as they were welcomed inside.

In 1911 Thomas Farquhar, a successful stockbroker originally from Scotland, commissioned the famous Arts and Crafts architects Herbert Baker and FLH Fleming to design his home. The house is sited majestically on the Westcliff ridge, originally on five acres of land extending from Pallinghurst Road to the Old Government Road (Jan Smuts Avenue). Built of locally quarried stone with the first floor clad in ship-lapped timber with a shingled roof, the house was extended in 1927 by Fleming to almost double its original size for J Neilson, another wealthy stockbroker.

What a sad loss to our Heritage.





The palm tree from an old home in Houghton which is making way for new office development has been moved to the National Anglo Boer War Memorial in Saxonwold, at the top of the Zoo. It replaces one which died quite a few years ago. Two rows of palm trees flank the northern vista.

The palm tree was transplanted by Barrow Construction – a most important conrtibution to our heritage.

As a trustee for the memorial I am delighted.



St  Mary’s school Waverley visited Northwards and a very happy tour took them out into the garden to enjoy the stunning view to the Magaliesberg.



SAHRA has finally decided to declare Constitution Hill a National Heritage Site and invited our comment. Since we did our first tours there in 1993 and put it forward as a World Heritage Site we are exceedingly pleased that Cape Town has finally woken up to the enormous significance of Con Hill, The Fort or Number Four. Whichever name you use it is our premier heritage site in Johannesburg. NOTHING RIVALS IT!


New blue Plaque: Honouring Circle Court and commemorating Clarendon Circle after which it was named.


Four things to know before buying a heritage home

Four things to know before buying a heritage home
South Africa is dotted with historic architecture, from elegant Cape Dutch manor houses to quaint Victorian cottages and Art Deco office blocks scraping the city skyline. For many of us, owning a property that forms part of this collective history would be a dream come true, but that dream brings with it certain rules and responsibilities.
“There are a lot of benefits to owning a heritage property,” says Tony Clarke, MD of the Rawson Property Group. “They often occupy prime locations, have more space and well-proportioned rooms, feature elegant and expensive finishes and come with a wonderful sense of style and charm.”
Of course, being so unique and precious, it’s important for us to protect and preserve heritage properties for future generations, which means owners often need to accept a long list of restrictions on what they can and can’t change. This, Clarke says, can make a big difference to the ownership experience, which is why he recommends prospective heritage buyers acquaint themselves with the following key considerations.
Not all heritage homes have the same restrictions
Heritage properties in South Africa are protected on a national, provincial and local level, and that protection is divided into three tiers, says Clarke.
Tier One is a Heritage Overlay Zone which protects the unique style and character of historic neighbourhoods and affects all properties within that zone regardless of their individual heritage status. Tier Two is specific to individual properties and applies to any building older than 60 years or deemed to have particular architectural significance. Tier Three is for National Monuments and Provincial Heritage Sites.
According to Clarke, the specific rules associated with these tiers vary from area to area, which makes it vital for prospective owners to check in with their local heritage authority before making a purchase.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the heritage tier, the more restrictive the regulations, he says, but owners of properties on any tier will need to apply for approval before undertaking any building work.
This may sound like a recipe for bureaucratic frustration, but it does have its benefits for heritage homeowners.
Protected properties and neighbourhoods are far more likely to avoid the redevelopment and densification affecting a lot of suburbs these days, says Clarke. If you don’t want to have to worry about an apartment block going up next door, a heritage area is a good place to be.
Renovating heritage properties is a specialist job
Renovating a historic property on one of the higher heritage tiers can mean navigating some pretty specific limitations on design, workmanship and even building materials. Not only is the approval process time-consuming, finding architects and contractors willing and able to meet the requirements isn’t easy, and often comes at a higher cost to account for the complexity of the project.
For this reason, Clarke says it’s never a good idea to buy a heritage home with major renovations in mind unless you’ve taken that cost into account when making the purchase.
Old properties can also have some hidden surprises, even if they pass a home inspection with flying colours, Clarke adds. Problems with things like piping, wiring and subfloor structures are often difficult to see under normal circumstances, but might come to light during renovations and require immediate attention.
Did you know? The City of Johannesburg Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage offers a 20% rates rebate for heritage sites, but only if the property has been declared a heritage site in a Provincial or Government Gazette.
Good maintenance pays off in resale value
Not all heritage properties are hiding flaws behind their elegant facades. In fact, Clarke says many historic homes are better maintained than their modern counterparts.
A well-maintained historic property is an extremely valuable asset that can sell for dramatically higher prices than a modern equivalent, Clarke says. Poor maintenance, on the other hand, severely detracts from this value, and could see resale prices plummet well below those of modern homes. From an investment perspective, it’s a no-brainer – a little maintenance now means a bigger payoff down the line. Smart heritage owners tend to realise this and act accordingly.
Of course, buying a heritage home is more than just a property investment – it’s an investment in our country’s collective past.
A heritage property is both a responsibility and a privilege,” says Clarke. “Buying one is a decision that needs to be made with the head as well as the heart.
Posted at 09:17AM Oct 10, 2018 by Editor in Market  |


Great News! PHRAG has resolved to declare Endstead 18 Escombe Avenue in Parktown a provincial Heritage Site. We had applied for this.  Endstead was designed by Baker’s partner Ernest Wilmott Slope for himself. Baker chose a north-facing site on the central Parktown Ridge. Fleming also chose a north facing site but on the Houghton Ridge –close to St John’s  College. Sloper chose the south facing  site on the western Parktown ridge. All three were built of stone, and all three reveal  their owners special preferences.  We need to arrange a tour because though they shared an Arts and Crafts philosophy they were very different men and their homes prove it.



This is great news for the JHF as the special contribution for Heritage Day .  Most pf opur members were walking on heritage tours, so the fact that so many runners chose the JHF as their charity is most gratifying. They ,must really have enjoyed the run as the city’s heritage is rising and surviving.



2018 AGM Talk documentClick here to read document

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Please enter your details in the boxes below to subscribe to our Newsletter.


Select Which Option Your Require!

7 + 10 =

Total Page Visits: 49 - Today Page Visits: 1