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House WJ Wybergh: Inanda House
Inanda, Johannesburg, Gauteng

BAKER and MASEY: Architect

Date:1902
Type:Homestead
Status:Extant
Street:Forrest Rd

 


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Coordinates:
26°07'04.56" S 28°03'32.43" E Alt: 1636m

Built for W Wyberg, Commissioner of Mines.

Description on The Heritage Portal in 2017

Inanda House - Designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1902 - 80 Forest Road Inanda. Barrel-Vaulted Cove ceilings typical to the design period. Spacious study with bay window and fireplace. Bookshelf made out of Afrormosia wood from central Africa. 5 Original fireplaces. Beautiful courtyard. Large kitchen with scullery, pantry and breakfast nook. 3 Bedroom located in the main building, the master bedroom is en-suite with walk-in closet. 3 Bathrooms. Formal dining room. 2 Family rooms with fireplaces. Cottage with bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and lounge. Storeroom. Swimming pool. Beautiful garden. 3000m² Stand. Large patio.

2017 auction notes

“And keeping with the theme of mining, one of the crown jewels of this auction is without doubt the magnificent Cape Dutch-style Inanda House opposite Inanda Country Club in Forrest Road that was built in 1902 for the Commissioner of Mines, Winfred Wybergh, as a hunting lodge.”

The magnificent Inanda House is situated on more than 3 000sqm of land in Sandton, dubbed “Africa’s Richest Square Mile”. The Sir Herbert Baker house is built around a central courtyard graced by an elegant fountain and boasts exceptional original features, including yellowwood floors, five wood-surround fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, a romantic main suite with bay window opening onto a patio overlooking the fish pond, a guest wing, a separate one bedroom cottage and a heated swimming pool. The sprawling, elegant manor and cottage comprise nearly 900sqm.”

“In 1903, there were no roads for transporting building materials, and ox-wagons would travel along rough tracks through dense bush in Inanda, Sandton, to the remote site where Wilfred Wybergh was building a hunting lodge.”

Wybergh was a mining engineer at the time. Today, the same house, which was built 113 years ago, is on the market for R11.5 million.

Wybergh built the lodge in what was then deep, unspoilt veld north of the fledgling mining town of Joburg. It was intended to be a weekend and holiday retreat for the wealthy mining randlords.

Today, its original structure has remained almost intact except for modern comforts. The valuable property has withstood being subdivided and is still on a big stand opposite the Inanda Club’s polo fields.

According to state agent Joan Mendelsohn, who has studied the history of the property, the house has early 17th century features such as the rounded gables typical of the Cape Dutch architecture of that era. The garden has many of the original jacarandas, some English elms and oak trees, which were popular at the time.

“Pride of place are the massive bougainvilleas, still thriving a century later,” she said.

Mendelsohn said it was in 1902 that Wybergh asked Sir Herbert Baker to design the house. Wybergh was educated at Winchester College, Hampshire, and at the Mining Academy in Freiberg, Sachsen, Germany.

He left England for southern Africa in 1891 and went on an expedition to Mashonaland - in present-day Zimbabwe - for mining projects. In 1895, he joined Consolidated Goldfields Southern Africa.”

(Kathy Munro, January 2022)


Writings about this entry

Greig, Doreen. 1970. Herbert Baker in South Africa. Cape Town: PURNELL. pg 241
Keath, Michael. 1992. Herbert Baker: Architecture and Idealism 1892 - 1913: The South African Years. Gibraltar: Ashanti Pub. Ltd.. pg 87, 91