Report from Barberton Bliss & News: After 4 months of intensive renovation, Belhaven Museum house officially reopened yesterday evening (19 September 2019). With the discovery of gold in Barberton, in 1884, there was an influx of people who required housing. Building materials were transported to Barberton, on ox wagons. Houses were erected and dismantled with ease.
Belhaven was built in 1904 by Robert Nisbet. He was the owner of the Barberton Club (on Pilgrims Street). Robert Nisbet passed away in 1906 and his wife and family continued to stay in the house until 1914. Mr. G.G. Duncan, a well down store owner and baker in the town, then purchased the house. Descendants of the Duncan family then occupied the house until 1978.
Belhaven was purchased from its previous owner, Mr. H.G. Duncan, in 1978, by the Transvaal Provincial Administration. It was purchased to be preserved, for its outstanding architectural value.
The reason that Belhaven is so unique, is that it has pressed steel walls. It is believed to be the ONLY house in South Africa, in which all the walls and all the ceilings, are constructed of pressed steel. It is for that reason, that it was declared a National Monument (by the National Monuments Council) in 1988. Another amazing fact, is that 18 different pressed steel designs can be seen at Belhaven.
In 1981, after research had been conducted, renovations were carried out by the department of public works, under the supervision of Barberton Museum. The house was furnished in late Victorian style & the garden laid out.
The Belhaven House, was officially opened in November 1982, by MEC S.J. Schoeman.
We trust it will be loved and visited for many years to come! Congratulations to all involved with this extremely successful restoration! Please be sure to pay a visit to this remarkable home- Mandla is an amazing tour guide, with exceptional knowledge.