Pam Golding Properties has acquired the mandate to market a landmark home on the border of Newlands and Rondebosch.
“Mount Pleasant” occupies a substantial erf of close to 3300sqm at the foot of Table Mountain’s back slopes, and traces its history back to the late 18th century. The eye-catching home is regarded as a superb example of neo-Gothic architecture, and also boasts one of the most abundant and diverse gardens in the city. The property is on the market at R18 million.
PGP agents Heather Turner and Vickie Francis say the property was originally part of the farm Mount Pleasant, which lay alongside the wagon route leading into Newlands Forest in the late 1700’s. In 1823 the farm was acquired by the Cloete family, and almost 60 years later, this particular section was portioned off and sold to prominent businessman Fred Centlivres, whose achievements also include serving as mayor of Rondebosch – then an independent municipality with its own council. It was under his ownership that the current manor house was built, as indicated by the date 1883 which is prominently displayed on the home’s parapet. Centlivres’ son Albert would have been born here in 1887, and later went on to become one of the Cape’s most famous sons, serving as Chancellor of the University of Cape Town as well as Chief Justice of the Cape.
“After the Centlivres family moved on in the early 1900’s, the home served as the German consulate until around 1930, and then as a residence for young men, the ‘Cape Town Lad’s Hostel’ until about 1936,” say the agents. “We know that it was put back into diplomatic service from around 1940-1941, as the home of the British High Commission under Sir Edward Harding. Another famous resident, albeit briefly, was the acclaimed opera singer and actor Gé Korsten, who owned the property for a time during 1980. Mount Pleasant was declared a national monument in June 1992, and enjoys provincial heritage status under the new heritage authority. The current owner purchased the home in 2000 and has carried out extensive restorations to return it to its former glory.”
The double-storey home boasts an unusual castle-like design with a notched or crenulated parapet roof in its central section. A number of original decorative features have been preserved, including three period fireplaces, a grand mahogany staircase, decorative encaustic floor tiles, Oregon pine floors and well-preserved high matchboard ceilings, as well as several elaborate light fittings, teak windows with interior shutters, and brass fittings on a number of doors. The home has a four-bedroom layout with four reception rooms and a large farm-style kitchen with separate pantry/laundry. The bar and family room lead out onto the pool area, which features a long, deep lap pool offering wonderful mountain views. Other features include double staff accommodation, automatic gates and secure off-street parking for up to eight vehicles.
The garden is as remarkable as the house itself, having been laid out by a horticulturist with an emphasis on variety and the use of indigenous plants. It boasts a notable selection of plant species and a number of mature trees including several oaks. The remarkable camellia japonica (Japanese camellia) is thought to be over 200 years old. A gazebo, pond and jasmine archway complete the picture of a natural haven with a number of shady nooks, vibrant flowers and water features.
“This property will appeal to lovers of antiquity as well as those with an interest in early Cape history,” say the agents. “It would be equally well suited for use as a family home or guest house (subject to planning approval), or even as a truly unique corporate headquarters.”