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House Harold Phillips: Crestlands
Balfour, Mpumalanga

Arthur James MARSHALL: Architect

Date:1921
Client:Harold Phillips
Type:Homestead
Style:Arts and Crafts
Status:Extant
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The house was financed by Sir Lionel Phillips for his son Harold, and his wife Hilda. Harold had purchased the Balfour property to escape the Rand maddening crowd, but Hilda was not particularly fond of the place and he too preferred the high life of the Johannesburg set, so they seldom spent time there together.

Arthur James MARSHALL seems to have been appointed to the project, having worked with Joseph Michael SOLOMON on the University of Cape Town project, which caused him to have a break down and also precipitated Solomon's suicide. It would appear that the latter occurrence instigated Marshall's relocation to the Rand in 1920 and that Crestlands was one of his first commissions there, probably at the instigation of Florence Phillips, who was instrumental in having Solomon appointed as architect to the University of Cape Town project.

There are two foundation stones, the one of the residence laid in 1921 by Hilda, the second seemingly celebrating a polo win of Crestlands over Balfour dated 1922, located at the pony stables which must then have followed.

The architecture is typical of the Baker School, being in the Arts and Crafts idiom, although the interior has many Adamesque features, such as the fanlights, mouldings and suchlike. The house is well detailed and crafted and has stood up well to the vagaries of time.

In the garden is buried the subsequent owner, Denis Gallagher Russel (1881-1939)

Harold Phillips died here alone in 1926 of a pancreatic haemorrhage.

The farm is currently owned by the Van der Merwe family who farm with Bonsmara cattle.

Of interest on the estate is a fully operational diesel driven electric generator housed in a prefabricated iron shed.

(SAB Jan 1925:13 ill)

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.