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Bell House
Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng


Client:WH Haig
Style:Arts and Crafts
Street:The Valley Road

The Bell House was designed by SOLOMON AND MARSHALL in 1919 for W.H. Haig Esq. While the original drawings of the house have not been located, a colour Photostat of fragments of these reflects Solomon’s signature, dated 11 April 1919 and it is presumed he was the responsible architect. African Explosives & Chemical Industries acquired the house in 1928 and by 1946 it was being used as a residence for their Managing Director, George Ormsby Pearce. In 1951 the house was purchased by Dr. Francis G. (Pinky) Hill, the eminent mining engineer and scientific researcher who lived there till he passed away in 1995. The property was subsequently purchased by Taco Kuiper, author of The Investor’s Guide, who passed away on 24 September 2004. The existing structures on the property comprise a symmetrical double storey Arts & Crafts style house with attached garage (constructed 2006), the original motor coach house converted into separate staff accommodation and garaging and a gate house (constructed 2009). The ground floor and gable of the south elevation of the main house facing The Valley Road are both faced with hammer dressed koppie stone. Beneath the south gable is the stone archway of the Entrance Porch in which a ship’s bell is placed – hence the name The Bell House. A semi-circular stone stairway leads down from the pavement towards the main entrance door of the house. The remainder of the house has a face brick plinth with plastered brickwork above. The northern elevation is typical of the Baker school with its symmetrical face brick chimneys, triple arched stoep to the ground floor supporting an open balcony and flanked by two projecting hipped wings. The original cottage pane windows (two casements each) and attached wooden shutters on the northern elevation of each of the projecting hipped wings have been replaced with broader cottage pane windows (five casements). The motor coach house is a rectangular single storey structure, with a tile roof, and a portion under concrete slab. The exposed plinths (below the level of the ground floor) of the structure are faced in hammer dressed koppie stone, where they are visible due to the slope of the property. The remainder of the structure comprises a face brick plinth (partially plastered over, date uncertain) with plastered brickwork above.

History and photographs were sent to us by James Pullinger, May 2010.

Writings about this entry

MacMillan, Allister & Rosenthal, Eric. 1948. Homes of the Golden City. Cape Town: Hortors. pg 149 ill
van der Waal, Gerhard-Mark. 1975. Projek opname historiese gebou in Johannesburg. Eerste verslag. Parktown: Dept Kunsgeskiedenis. RAU. pg 45