Doornboom is the oldest house in the western Cape built in 1728. It predates all the Swellendam houses. It was built by Louis Fourie who later loaned money to the family who built the complex which is now the Drostdy Museum in Swellendam.
The youngest plasterer ever. Young Daniel at our January workshop getting into becoming the champion plasterer with his handlanger Grandfather whom he calls Pops. Great stuff Daniel, you are certainly heading in the right direction.
The story of Hannah's House. McGregor has the highest percentage of heritage houses of any town in South Africa. However, many of them are in serious need of repair and so for our convergence last year, along with McGregor Heritage Society, we decided to put out a competition where people could enter their house to be have the outside walls repaired using cob and lime render.
This was to serve a number of purposes;-
- To save the first house
- To teach a skill - one of our requirements was that someone from the family had to work with us for the duration of the restoration
- To be part of a workshop that a number of people expressed a desire to join to learn the skill of restoring mud brick houses in a way that maintains its historical and monetary value.
- To bridge the gap between the various cultures in McGregor.
- To have a photographic history of the restoration for the McGregor Museum.
Hannah Jansen won the draw and on the 12th of December we started the restoration with a very excited Hannah working with us. Unfortunately none of the participants arrived apart from one who could only make it on the Friday.
And this is where the magic began to happen. Christine Lawley kept a photographic Journal for us. I have a wonderful CD sitting on my desk. I could not financial support the project so I appealed over the internet for help. Betty Mitchell-Innes came forward and offered to pay for the materials for the roofing on the back section of the house. Bruce Milne a local retired architect arrived with his plasterers and said we could do a three-way swop. He wanted his men to learn how to do lime render, we needed plasterers, and Hannah would get the walls of her house finished. The walls are plastered.
Vos Cronje, a friend of mine from Kraaifontein, who has an irrigation company, contacted me and said it was about time they had another team building exercise and they would come and put the roof up. We are organising this for some time in February.
My grateful and sincere thanks to these wonderful people for their inpu, and a thanks to my wonderful team who are always there and so great and supportive.
Hannah is amazingly gracious and her words always are "That is just how it is". She has been an inspiration with her absolute joy in seeing her house become more and more beautiful and has carried us with singing and laughter. Bless you Hannah.
But those who attended the convergence will know Hannah as she and her friend Katie came up the drive the first morning of the convergence and when I said "and what are you two doing here" the reply was "You are helping us so we have come to help you" and these two dear souls kept the urn going with hot water, the tea and coffee flowing, washed the cups and protected our biscuits.
We have two more very dear Friends of MAT.
We will keep you updated on the progress of Hannah's House.