Things To Do in ColensoColenso Museum
Where? Sir George Street, Colenso, KwaZulu Natal.
When? Please Enquire.
How? Call +27 (0)36 637-2992
How much? Price on request
The Colenso Museum, built in 1879, is also known as the Robert E. Stevenson Museum because of the military historian and former director of Natal Hospital Services' contribution to its annuls. It is rather unassuming at first glance despite being an example of characteristic architecture of the period in which it was built.
So retiring, in fact, that you need to pop into the local police station, just next door, to pick up the key in order to visit it. Which only adds to the allure of the whole experience, for the Colenso Museum is the repository for detailed studies of the battles that were fought in town and in the neighbourhood.
Inside the historical building, which used to serve as the Old Toll House at Bulwer Bridge and was erected on the Colenso side of the river, you will find maps showing where attack and defense manoeuvres of individual campaigns were fought. And there is a diorama of the Battle of Colenso.
The Battle of Colenso saw British forces advance on three fronts against the Boers under General Louis Botha on the Tugela River, with the intent to overwhelm the Boer forces who at the time had Ladysmith under siege. The British were not only thwarted in their attempt to get to Ladysmith, they were also beaten by the Boers in what is regarded as a turning point in the war if you consider that 1100 British soldiers lost their lives, as opposed to eight Boers.