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Gately House
East London, Eastern Cape

Brian W WATSON: Architect restoration

Client:John Gately
Street:1 Park Gates Road


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33°01'08.15" S 27°54'05.18" E Alt: 43m

With a verandah of simple woodwork overlooking the Buffalo River, Gately House stands in a secluded garden, and is today East London's Town House Museum. It was built in 1878 by John Gately, an Irishman who had come to the Border with the Sixtieth Regiment of the Royal Rifles, taking part in the Eighth Frontier War. He was to become Mayor of East London during the 1880s, and played a prominent role in the affairs of the young town, John Gately married Mary Ann Davis in 1857, and the ninth of their 12 children, Margaret Jane, continued to live at Gately House until her death in 1966.

As Miss Gately had hoped, the house has become a museum, complete with all the furniture and family belongings she bequeathed for this purpose. Each room is a delight, with every detail telling of the life and personalities of the Gately family.

[Picton-Seymour, 1989: 117]

A Heritage Award was conferred by the Border Heritage Committee of the ISAA on 3 May 1991, to the East London Museum as the owner of Gately House, 1 Park Gates Road, East London. The award was made "to local buildings and structures which had been judged by the committee as contributing to the preservation of the built heritage and of the environment". In the Committee's opinion Gately House was "an example of conservation par excellence and a lesson showing what can be achieved by dedicated and concerned citizens."

[William MARTINSON, March 2010]

Writings about this entry

Fransen, Hans. 1978. Guide to the Museums of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Galvin & Sales (Pty) Ltd, for the Southern African Museums Association. pg 43-44
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pg 117
Watson, Jeremy. 1989. The Urban Trail : a walk through the urban heritage of East London Central Business District and Older Suburbs. East London: Heritage Committee ISAA and B-KIA. pg 49