Kensington Castle

In the fascinating article below, journalist Lucille Davie explores the history of four landmark Joburg castles. The piece was first published on the City of Johannesburg's website on 23 July 2003. Click here to view more of Davie's work. Unfortunately, in 2018, the Three Castles Building has deteriorated significantly and remains endangered. Local heritage organisations are concerned by the lack of information about the state of the Kensington Castle.

The castle was built out of quarried stone taken from the hill and that area was also a great place to play in as we grew up. I presume it is the same today, unless they have built houses along the back of the koppie. The entrance to the castle was up a ramp and a small balcony leading to the front door. Just inside the door there is a stairway to the second floor on your left and straight ahead you walked into the kitchen. The height of the passage way is quite low, so I presume the builder was a short person.

I lived at 130 Highland Road, right across from the Castle from 1942 until about 1965 when I left to travel the world. The Castle to me was a great playground as I grew up.  We spent a lot of time searching for the secret passage way into the Castle (every castle has a secret entrance) but after all the years of searching, we never found it. Below the Castle on the side of the hill facing Kensington there was an open air covered balcony.  We checked every stone and bush around it, hoping to be the first to find the secret tunnel but in the end gave up.

[Originally published 11 July 2014] A modern day mystery appears to be developing in Highland Road, Kensington. No one seems to know what has happened to Marius Van Den Spek, the apparent owner of the iconic Kensington Castle. Over the last few years the property has fallen into disrepair with various sources stating that Marius has abandoned his inheritance (along with a very large council bill).

Subscribe to Kensington Castle