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Kimberley Sanatorium - McGregor Museum
Kimberley, Northern Cape

Daniel Westwood GREATBATCH: Architect

Date:1897 : 1907


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28°44'59.80" S 24°46'50.10" E Alt: 131m

The Kimberley Sanatorium later became the Belgrave Hotel. It thereafter served as a convent school (1933 – 1969), before becoming the McGregor Museum. (Bawcombe 1976:70)

Built as the Kimberley Sanatorium it is now the main section of the McGregor Museum. The original date given by Bawcombe is 1897 but there are drawings by Greatbatch dated 1907 so he probably made alterations and additions in that year.

"Cecil John Rhodes, who came to South Africa in 1870 to cure his tubercular condition, was convinced Kimberley was the ideal place for a sanatorium. Reporting to the annual general meeting of De Beers Consolidated Mines in December 28, 1896, Rhodes said: 'The Sanatorium is a bit of a hobby of mine. I have always thought that Kimberley would be an admirable place for people with chest complaints from home, if only there were sufficient and proper accommodation. The experience of many has been that this climate has been very successful in such complaints and the doctors all agree that Kimberley is a good place for a Sanatorium.'

As a result the Sanatorium was built the following year at a cost, including furnishings, of £26 000, to the design of the architect, D W Greatbatch. Seven acres of ground were donated by the London and South African Exploration Company, De Beers voting £17 000 towards the project; the other major contributor was the firm of Wernher, Beit and Company.

As the Sanatorium idea lacked widespread appeal, the name was changed to the Hotel Belgrave and a new wing added for the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1925. Other illustrious guests at various times included the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Joseph Chamberlain. The Belgrave Hotel, however, was run by De Beers consistently at a loss and in 1933 was given to the Sisters of the Holy Family for use as a convent school. Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, chairman of De Beers, paid for the erection of the school hall, which was called the Lady Oppenheimer Hall. The building were used as a school until the convent closed in 1969. De Beers has recently given the buildings to the McGregor Museum, which is expected to become one of the finest museum complexes in the country."

(Bawcombe 1976:70) Submitted by Lila Komnick.

Books that reference Kimberley Sanatorium - McGregor Museum

Bawcombe, Philip & Scannell, Ted. 1976. Philip Bawcombe's Kimberley. Johannesburg: Village Publishing. pg 70-71
Yuill, David William. 1984. The architecture of Kimberley 1871-1914. Johannesburg: Thesis (Masters), University of Witwatersrand. pg 108