Our Story

Mona Cottage in Uptown Pilgrims Rest was first built ca 1907 when it first appeared in photographs of uptown.

The first documented lessee of the building was V Gardner and then in 1912 J du Pratt before the building was leased to Dr. Hutchinson in 1912. Dr Hutchinson used the building for his consulting rooms until 1915. From then it passed through many hands until the building was removed in 1960, leaving only the foundations on the plot.

The Oral history of the building was provided to the Pilgrims Rest Museum Services by Mr. Flip Swanepoel who lived in the house as a child from 1940 to 1947. He remembers the house as having the pillars across the front terrace with white trellis between the uprights. The terraces had neat, trimmed hedges with a wooden gate in the middle alongside a vetplantjie. According to him the bathroom was a later addition.

In 1978 the owners of the Old Print House, Len and Cheryl Bert acquired the rights to use the terraces of Mona Cottage garden for a tea garden. When the Goodwin Family purchased the Old Print House in 1998, they negotiated with the Department of Public Works, Mpumalanga to rebuild Mona Cottage. The Department of Culture Sports and Recreation Offices of Museum Services in Pilgrims Rest had already extensively researched the original buildings and even had copies of the original leases issued by the Transvaal Gold Mining Estates for the house. With their help and expertise, the original foundations of the house were excavated and the permission to faithfully reconstruct Mona Cottage began.

The building was constructed with a wooden framework connected to the original foundation and clad with tongue and grooved timber, with a corrugated roof and side walls. A wooden front veranda with pillars and wooden deck was constructed with the trellis inserts. The building was originally designed as a restaurant but was converted to a guest cottage in 2006.

In 2020 a total refurbishment of the guest house was undertaken. All the facilities and finishes were upgraded, resulting in a beautiful and comfortable cottage with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, fully equipped modernised kitchen and quality furnishings. We are awaiting our final grading by the SA Tourism grading board.