Below is a short write-up on the architectural style of our house

Monday, 3 February 2014

Gone but not forgotten - the Grand Hotel on Church Square

The Grand Hotel as it looked in 1902.

The Grand Hotel was located on the south-eastern corner of Church Square. It was built in 1890 (then known as the President Hotel) and designed by Wilhelm Johannes De Zwaan. The building was built by Mrs. Lys in 1890 and called the President Hotel. H. W. F. Burger was the proprietor in 1892. It became the Grand Hotel in 1894 with Mr. S. Schlomer as proprietor. This was one of the finest hotels in South Africa, comparing favourably with its European counterparts. It had accommodation for 70 visitors and had 30 white servants and 23 coloured attendants. The building was leased by Mr. Schlomer from Pretoria Estates Ltd., who had bought it from Mrs Lys.

Photograph of Paul Kruger Street looking south from Church Square.
The "Raadsaal" is on the right and the Grand Hotel on the left.
The Old Raadsaal was being built next to the Grand Hotel, and a lot of progress had been made. The foundations were poured and some of the walls had already reached the first floor level. Some of the sandstone ornamentation was manufactured and ready, and the roofing material was on its way from Europe to Durban. From there it was transported by rail to Charlestown and onwards by oxwagon to Pretoria.

When President Paul Kruger was made aware of the new hotel that was about to be erected right next to the Raadsaal, the new government building, he was very upset when he heard that it will have 3 floors. One more that the Raadsaal! His advisors told him not to be concerned as all the finer finishings and towers of the Raadsaal will make the Raadsaal taller than the hotel. Paul Kruger then motivated why the Raadsaal had to get an additional floor. It is now has 3 floors!

The inauguration of President Kruger
The balconies of the Grand Hotel were a famous vantage point for grand events of the period

The Raadsaal decorated for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour
before the Governor-General Lord Selborne in 1905.
The Grand Hotel is on the left.

In 1890, the first building on the site of the current Standard Bank Building in Church Square belonged to Mrs Lys, the President Hotel. The President Hotel was renamed when the establishment changed hands in 1895, and became the Grand Hotel. The third and final plan/development of Church Square took place in 1905 (see bottom of page), and in 1929 the architecture firm of Stuckey and Harrison were commissioned to build the New Standard Bank Building. During the period 1930 – 1934, the Standard Bank Building was built by W. Pattison and during the construction of the building Mr Stuckey died. In the 1950's electricity was installed in the building and the building was renovated in 1952. During 1967, the building was again renovated to its current appearance (polyvinyl floor included.)

Standard Bank building on the left and Grand Hotel on the right
Standard Bank building on the left and completed
Grand Hotel on the right
 The Old Standard Bank Building in Church Square (1894/1895), was designed by the firm Emley and Scott, and is situated on the northern side of Church Square. Anton van Wouw constructed sculptural elements for the fa├žade design of the Old Standard Bank Building in the Parisian manner. The building contained many Anton van Wouw sculptures (bass-relief panels and high-relief of putti winged the surrounds of the upper windows and pediments). The building was unfortunately demolished in the 1950’s. Seven of the reliefs were retained and are currently in the National Cultural History Museum in Pretoria.

Today the "neoclassical" Standard Bank building stands on the site of the old Grand Hotel.

Map of Church Square - 1904

Donaldson & Hill’s New Map of the City of Pretoria and Suburbs. Compiled by D. Seccadanari, Engineer and Carthographer.  Revised to Oct. 1904. (Scale 600 Cape feet = 1 inch)

On this map all buildings in green are still being built. The Raadsaal has been enlarged and fills the whole street block. The Palace of justice is also completed. The original church is still in the centre of church square. The church was demolished the following year. A novelty at the time are the tramlines on church square.

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