Northern Cape Tourist AttractionsLodge Road
Where? Lodge Road, Belgravia, Kimberley, Northern Cape
One of the most historically-rich roads in Belgravia, Lodge Road is filled with Victorian houses that are not only beautiful to look at, but incredibly interesting as well.
Kimberley’s emergence dates back to the diamond rush of the late 1860s after several stones were discovered in the area. The first was discovered by children on a farm near Hopetown, not far from Kimberley. This 21.25 carat stone became known as the Eureka.
The second, a far larger diamond that became known as the Star of South Africa, sold on the London market for as much as 25 000 pounds.
But it wasn’t until the cook for the Rawstorne group of prospectors found diamonds on Colesberg Kopje (later known as the Kimberley Mine), and took it to the De Beer brothers’ diggings nearby, that the famous ‘New Rush’ catapulted the area into the imagination of thousands who headed here with their own dreams of get-rich-quick.
Lodge Road is not a long road. It would have led to The Lodge at the top of the road, designed by architect Sydney Stent and today the Duggan-Cronin Gallery, part of the McGregor Museum. Duggan-Cronin lived in the house from the late 1930s establishing it as a gallery.
Five of its houses are historically relevant, built at the turn of the century between 1893, as in the case of The Grange at 13 Lodge Road, and 1906 like the house built for Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, now the Estate Private Hotel, that was also the birthplace of Harry Oppenheimer.
The other houses along Lodge Road include Dunluce at no 10 - a beautiful, elegant late Victorian home, still with its wooden facade intact - and the current residence of Ernest Oppenheimer’s grandson, Nicky and Strilli (short for Orcillia) Oppenheimer - a surprisingly modest affair without high-rise walls or electric fences.
Whilst we are on the subject of the Oppenheimers, who played a huge role in the diamond industry in South Africa, the anti-German riots of 1916 forced Ernest to take refuge a couple of doors down at Irvine Grimmer’s house (no 11 Lodge Road, the Lindow House), when the rioters threatened to burn the Oppenheimer’s house down.