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Sunday, August 7, 2016 - 11:03

[Originally published in 2015] I recently visited The Moot House in Parktown as the gardens were on show as part of the Gardens of the Golden City programme. The entrance fee was R20 and tea was served with wicked chocolate cake at R25. Gardens of the Golden City supports a number of charities. I found the event advertised on the Heritage Portal and I wanted to thank those involved in promoting this fabulous home and garden. The Moot house is special for four reasons: the architecture, the historical associations of the people who lived here, the gardens and the water features. it all adds up to a unique Johannesburg ambience and experience. The house is an Arts and Crafts home designed by Herbert Baker in association with Masey and Sloper and dates from the early 20th century.


Moot House (Kathy Munro)



Moot House (Kathy Munro)


To quote from the Parktown and Westcliff (now Johannesburg Heritage Foundation) information page and Blue Plaque:

Built for Richard Feetham in 1906 and designed by Baker, Masey and Sloper, this was the first house to be erected on this street. Feetham was brought to Johannesburg in 1902 as deputy town clerk - one of a group of Oxford graduates (Milner's Kindergarten) who were to assist in the reconstruction of the Transvaal after the Anglo-Boer War. This house became their meeting place. Here they drafted the Selborne Memorandum, precursor to the Union of South Africa. Feetham was town clerk for four years, representing Parktown in parliament, served in the Cape Coloured Corps in World War I and became Judge-President of Natal and Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand. He lived here until 1922.


Moot House from above (The Heritage Portal)


Today [2015] the house is the home of the Levell family. The owners have completely restored the house and redeveloped the garden. They have created a magical fairly formal English country garden in keeping with the Arts and Crafts style of the house. It is an expansive garden with views of wide cultivated lawns, stone pathways, hedges and old jacarandas and oaks trees beyond. The removal of the clay tennis court and the laying down of lawns, new gardens, wonderful water features, a perfect pool and pathways edged by borders and flower gardens creates paradise. A riot of pink roses delights, against the backdrop of the historic house. An original Gertrude Jekyll pergola has been retained. Natural kopjie stone has been used to great effect. As with all beautiful gardens each new angle encourages one to explore another corner and the next secret nook. One admires the energy, passion and the vision of the Levell family when one views the ""before"" and ""after"" album of photographs. Cares fall away and one feels refreshed and renewed in this special garden.


Moot House Gardens (Kathy Munro)


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