From Katherine, with love | Northcliff Melville Times
An afternoon spent with Katherine Love is like no other, it’s a Victorian affair.
Nestled in Auckland Park, in all its subtle grandeur, is the Lindfield Victorian House Museum, a fully furnished Victorian house that she has called home since she was a little girl.
His mother started the museum 50 years ago, after collecting antiques all her life. Katherine was around 15 when she too started collecting antiques, which allowed them to furnish the house in total Victorian style.
On the day the Northcliff Melville Times visited the house, Katherine was dressed as a maid, as she thinks it goes well when she gives tours of the house.
“People always ask why I dress as a maid and not a hostess and it’s because there’s no way you can do anything but sit down dressed as a hostess. The dresses were designed so that a lady could just sit down and do her embroidery, she added jokingly that it would be very inconvenient to arrange visits in these dresses.
So we walked through this house with her maid as she drove through the house which for 23 years has been open to the public for tours. The house is authentically furnished as an upper middle class home would have been from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
Built in 1910, the house was owned by six people before Katherine’s grandmother bought it. His first family home was expropriated to make way for what was then known as RAU.
Once they got this house, his family worked to restore it to an old house as the previous owners had tried to modernize it. “When people come to visit the house, they are transported back in time, like a house would have been back then. People think the house is full and cluttered, but that’s exactly how the houses used to be. .
Katherine loves a lot of rooms, but she thinks the dollhouse is one of her most treasured possessions because it’s a one-of-a-kind piece that she and her mom spent time creating together. The dollhouse is the kind a little girl in the 1870s would have received on her 10th birthday and when she was a child Katherine received the same. Over the years, she has invested herself in it with love.
The house is based on a British house. As she described, people came to the country from England, very often the husband’s idea of immigrating, and as the wives were homesick, they tried to create a little home- self once settled here.
Since it was opened to the public, the house has been highly appreciated by the public. She explained that on Tripadvisor it is the only five-star museum in Johannesburg, and for five consecutive years it has won their Certificate of Excellence, which led to her being listed in their hall of fame.
In 2020, they also gave it the Traveller’s Choice Award which places it in the top 10% of attractions worldwide. “Even with that, I don’t get enough people and I’m struggling to keep the place running, especially since the lockdown. Before that I received a lot of foreign visitors and now it’s pretty much dried up because I receive occasional tourists these days.
Her biggest concern is to maintain the museum because for her, there is no organization that would be able to maintain it because she thinks that this country is hopeless in the management of museums. Although there were some international prospects she considered.
The museum is open for visits by appointment only.
Details: Lindfield Victorian House Museum 011 726 2932 or 071 920 4726.
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