Claremont House


Claremont House, 2nd half of 19th century (a children’s party in progress?)


By the early 1860s, John Charles Molteno had been building up his big sheep farming operation at Nelspoort for twenty years. Now nearly fifty years old and involved in politics as a Member of Parliament in the Cape Colony, he felt it would be more convenient to have his main home in Cape Town. This is where he had been based from 1831 for the first ten years of his life in the Cape. So after careful casting around, he eventually bought Claremont House. The property lay about six miles from the city centre. It comprised a large house and estate of some 140 acres. When his daughters, Caroline (in 1876) and Maria (in 1879) got married, John Charles built two houses in the grounds for them to live in  – Greenfield House and Barkly House. Following his death in 1886, one of his sons, Frank Molteno and his wife, Ella Jones, eventually took over the main house. But as the years went by, parcels of land were sold off and became the surrounding suburbs of Harfield Road and Claremont. Claremont House itself, and what land remained, were eventually sold in 1929 and the lovely old building subsequently demolished. But for sixty years, Claremont House was the main point of reference in Cape Town for the family, along with the nearby home of Caroline Murray and her husband Dr Charles Murray, Kenilworth House.

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