History of Lady Grey

The Mountain View Country Inn of Lady Grey during the early years.

The age of the building is unknown but we know that it was already operating as a Hotel in about 1872 when HR Giddy (born 1852) and his brother OS Giddy (born 1847) stayed over.  In his reminiscences, written in about 1920,  HR Giddy writes that they  “put up at the Commercial Hotel also known as Rose’s Hotel and today named the Mountain View Hotel”.  This indicates that the Inn is at least 135 years old.

 

  Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Rose was the owner of the Commercial Hotel in those early days.  When he died in 1897, his son, Carlie, took over.  Just after the war in 1902, he added a large stable, a new forage and harness room, a cart shed and a four room cottage to the Hotel.  This building currently houses the laundry, workshop, garages and storage rooms.  

 

  In 1902 Carlie married Nelie Ross, the daughter of Rev. David Ross.  Carlie lost his wife and two sons in December 1905 in a freak accident.  A beautiful headstone in the shape of a large angel, carved from Carrara Marble, indicates the place in the middle of the Old Cemetery where they are buried.  See Lady Grey Genealogy.

 

  There are indications that the Bar is situated in the oldest part of the building.  It has a high reed ceiling, then a wooden ceiling and the lowest ceiling which is a modern ceiling. 

 

 Interesting features include the old wood and coal stove, the beautiful old staircase and antique furniture in the restaurant and many of the rooms.

 

 Museum pieces and the history of the old David Ross High School is housed at the Mountain View Country Inn.  Ask for

Dalene if you are interested in the history of Lady Grey or if your ancestors came from this area.

History of Mountain View Country Inn

 

 

Mountain View Country Inn

 

36 Botha Street / PO Box 14

Lady Grey

9755

 

Phone: 051-603-0421

Fax: 051-603-0114

 

Email: mountainview@ladygrey.co.za

Before 1856 farmers in this area attended the Church in Aliwal North.  Primitive transport, bad roads, rivers and other obstacles made it an ordeal to go to Church.  After approval by the Church Board of Aliwal North, it was decided to purchase the farm Waaihoek from the Botha brothers for the establishment of a new congregation.  The Governor, Sir George Grey, also gave permission to name the place after his wife, “Lady Grey”.  The Land surveyor, Mr. Orpen measured the farm as well as the first 150 erven.

 

 The first Church, completed in 1860, was built on a hillock in the middle of Lady Grey.   It is interesting to note that all houses were built to face the Church.  The Reverend from Aliwal North conducted a service in Lady Grey once a month.    In 1863 Rev. David Ross from Scotland accepted a call from the congregation of Lady Grey.   When he arrived, Lady Grey consisted of a Church, Parsonage, two shops and a few houses.   Rev. Ross was a learned, multi-skilled man and he used his land surveyor’s chain to measure more erven in Lady Grey.  

 

The first Hotel was on Erf 213 and it belonged to Mr. Lee.  This building was demolished.  In 1865 he offered the building and surrounding property to the newly established Commission of Managers of the School to use as a School and Teachers Residence in exchange for the free education of his own children.  This was accepted.  The first teacher was Mr. Rheeders.

 

The first old Magistrates Court was also a Post Office with the Gaol (Jail) on the opposite side of the same erf.  It was built in 1889 and evacuated in 1923 when the current Magistrates and Post Office Building was completed.  Lady Grey became a Municipality in 1893 with Mr. B.J. Brummer as the first Mayor. 

 

Before the Anglo Boer War there were no poor White people in Lady Grey.  During the war Black people were paid well in service of the British and after the war they had more than enough to keep them going without having to work.  White people, destitute after the war, moved to Lady Grey and started to work as laborers.  These people established themselves on the outskirts of town.  Businesses did well during the war and many buildings were erected just after the war.

 

The Railway between Lady Grey and Aliwal North was completed in 1905.  Lady Grey became an important trading centre.  People crossed the mountains from Lesotho to purchase goods in Lady Grey.  Large trading stores sold almost anything, including saddles, wallpaper, haberdashery, food and sweets.  There were three hotels, the Poplar Hotel, Central Hotel (currently Ye Olde Praktijkt) Commercial Hotel (currently Mountain View Country Inn History).  

 

The Church of England and Methodist Church was built in 1906 and the DR Church was demolished in 1911, re-built and completed in 1913.

 

The building that houses the Lady Grey Arts Academy was built in 1926 and named the David Ross School after Rev David Ross.   The Lady Grey Dam, also known as the reservoir or “Groot Dam” was completed in 1925.

 

 From the 1960’s the town experienced an economic decline and reached an all time low in the mid 1990’s when the David Ross School dropped to Primary School status.  The change over of the School to an Arts Academy brought revival to Lady Grey.  As the Academy grew people saw the potential of Lady Grey and started to invest in property and businesses.  Old buildings were bought and restored and Lady Grey became the sought after destination of today.

Mayor BJ Brummer was the first Mayor of Lady Grey.  Here he poses with two dwarfs.

Mayor B.J. Brummer

Lady Grey was named after Lady Eliza Lucy Spencer, wife of Sir George Grey.

Eliza Lucy Spencer, known as Lady Grey.

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This picture was taken when Rev. Wolhuter was welcomed in Lady Grey.  Rev. Wolhuter came to Lady Grey when Rev. David Ross retired.  The current DR Church was completed in 1913, in the time of Rev. Wolhuter.

Waaihoek became

Lady Grey...

Lady Grey

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