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Phoenix Hotel
Beaconsfield, Kimberley, Northern Cape



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28°45'30.81" S 24°47'06.36" E Alt: 1217m


In the early 1880s, and as the Dutoitspan and Bultfontein mining camps began to take on a more permanent look, the inhabitants sent a petition to the Governor of the Cape Colony to change their status to that of a municipality. The petition was granted and on 16 August 1883 the mining camps officially became known as Beaconsfield, named after Lord Beaconsfield (Benjamin Disraeli), who had died in 1881.

Even the coat-of-arms and motto of Lord Beaconsfield was adopted, the motto being 'Nothing is difficult to the Brave'.

All did not welcome the name change, and newspapers reported on the doings of Dutoitspan rather than the new name, and many of the inhabitants themselves still called it affectionately 'The Pan'. As recently as the 1960s the Beaconsfield Rugby Club was known as The Pan rugby club.

In October 1883 the Village Management Board was replaced by the Municipal Council, and on 31 October in the Good Templars Hall, Mr Samuel Charles Austen was elected Mayor with Mr C.K. O'Molony as the Town Clerk. Plans were immediately put into action for the laying out of streets, for bringing in water, and for installing a more efficient sanitary system. So lively were the early meetings of the Beaconsfield Council that a policeman was stationed in the council chambers to eject unruly members.

By 1886 the neatly planned township as it is today was in existence while the small villages of Dutoitspan and Bultfontein would be left to die a natural death. Certain of the buildings were in existence between 1883 and 1886 including the Magistrate's Court (1884) and the Phoenix Hotel (1886). It does appear from primary sources that the planned township was in existence by 1883, but the buildings were erected over the next few years.

The quaint Phoenix Hotel on Beaconsfield's Market Square dates back to March 1886 and the pub is original, as are many of Kimberley's pubs. In 1902 an advert appeared in the Kimberley and Beaconsfield Business Directory that the Hotel "...has risen, Phoenix-like from the ashes of the departed glories of the old and prosperous mining centre."

"At his establishment you may meet everyone in Beaconsfield and hear the 'gup' of the whole village, and above all things you may obtain a cool and wholesome drink. The bedrooms of the hotel, high up on the second story, opening on to a spacious and airy balcony, are as well furnished and comfortable as any upon the Diamond Fields, and the Dining Room is one of the best we know."

During the siege of Kimberley the cellars were used as a bomb shelter, a refuge from the Boers shelling the town.

The owner in 1902 was George Giloi. His brother Rudolph later opened the Phoenix Garden Hotel in Kimberley.

Other owners of the Beaconsfield Phoenix Hotel were the Mehl family, particularly Goldie Mehl, Ed Parker, and Neville Lunt.

(Posted on Kimberley City Info, submitted by Annelise Lange)