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House Rutherfoord - Old Museum Building
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

Date:1861
Type:Homestead
Status:Extant
Street:28 Bird Street

 


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Coordinates:
33°57'56.71" S 25°36'55.51"E Alt: 69m

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House Rutherfoord also known as the Old Museum Building.

The house was originally constructed for Henry Rutherfoord in 1861. At this time it had had a covered veranda to the ground floor only, which also provided an open balcony to the first floor. In 1896 the house was acquired by Adam White Guthrie and was used as his family home until his death. (Guthrie was the mayor of Port Elizabeth from 1912 to 1915.) At some point, decorative ironwork balconies were added, which covered both the first and second floors. In 1919 his heirs offered the house to the city for use as the museum. The Snake Park was constructed in the grounds of the house shortly after.

It has remained in relative good condition and largely unaltered, with the exception of the verandas and some of the windows. The original and added iron verandas were replaced with a rather heavy concrete version in the 1960's after the museum was relocated to Humewood, in 1961. In 1965 the house became part of the University of Port Elizabeth until it was sold in 1985 and rented out for private business offices. Since 2016 it has been the Port Elizabeth campus of AFDA School of Film and Live Performance. It is understood that some internal works have been carried out in association with this change of use in 2016 but it is unclear if any of the original interiors remain.

(Gerald Humphrey, September 2017)