Historical Buildings of Somerset East

The Old Bellevue Seminary

Paulet Street (Provincial Heritage site)

The old Bellevue SeminaryIn 1880, Somerset East boasted two small private schools for girls, while boys were catered for by Gill College. The Rev. J.H. Hofmeyr persuaded the Kerk-raad of his church to build and finance a seminary for girls. A piece of ground in Paulet Street was acquired, and on July 19, 1881, the foundation was laid. The building was designed by the architect Carl Otto Hager (who designed and built the N.G. Kerk).

The first principal was Miss Jan Wright of Aberdeen, Scotland. A board of guarantors eventually took the place of the Kerkraad and managers, and in 1905 the School Board Act came into being.

Additional buildings were acquired, and in 1925 the school was raised from Secondary (Junior Certificate) to high school status. Two buildings were proclaimed - the building opened by the Governor of the Cape, Sir Hely-Hutchinson in the early 1900's forms part of the proclaimed Provincial heritage site. The tree in front of the property is said to have been planted by the founder principal.

In the present day, the building is used as classrooms for the Wilderness Foundation Umzi Wethu Academy, and as the campus of African Global Skills Academy, teaching Tourism related subjects.

The Little Mill

The Little Mill Paulet Street Somerset East47 Paulet Street

This charming little building, on the corner of Paulet and Beaufort Street, is thought to have been a mill, and one of the original buildings of Somerset Farm. It is currently being restored.



The Old Post Box

In the driveway of the Somerset Museum

The Victorian post boxThe old post box, originally on the corner of Paulet and Beaufort Streets dates back to the time of Queen Victoria's reign.

The post box has since been moved to the Museum grounds for its preservation and is still cleared daily.

Letters posted in the post box receive a unique stamp at the Somerset East Post Office.

Hope Church - the Congregational Church of Somerset East

Paulet Street (Provincial Heritage site)

Dorothy Evans was the widow of Rev. John Evans of Cradock. Shortly after her husband's death, and the proclamation of town of Somerset, in 1825, she settled in Somerset. She died in 1824, and is buried in the old graveyard behind the Somerset East Museum.

In her will, Dorothy evans bequeathed to the London Missionary Society "...her house and erf situated in Pullet Street...". In December 1842 the Superintendant of the Society's mission in South africa applied to the Governor, Sir George Napier, "for an allowance of twenty pounds per annum for the teacher of Coloured classes at Somerset". This was granted. A minister was sent to South Africa and shortly after, in 1844, a church for the Coloured Dutch-speaking Congregation was erected on Dorothy Evans' erf. The London Missionary Society later became part of the Congregational Church.

Hope Church Parsonage

Paulet Street (Provincial Heritage site)

This building was the home of Dorothy Evans. Following her death, it was used as a Parsonage by the Hope church.

Somerset East Hospitality Guild

The Walter Battiss Foundation assists the Somerset East Hospitality Guild in providing information that covers the towns of Somerset East, Cookhouse and Pearston and a wide area of surrounding country.

We are located in the Walter Battiss Art Museum, 45 Paulet Street (on the corner of Beaufort Street), Somerset East.

If you are in the area, come and visit us and see what we have to offer!

If you need information about our area please contact us:

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