Located at 31 Diakonia Street in Durban, the Old House Museum was opened at a museum in 1954 after the site was donated to the city by George Churton Collins. It features a recreation of the home of one of Durban's most prominent families, the Robinsons. Natal's first Prime Minister was Sir John Robinson and he also owned the Natal Mercury, Durban's daily morning newspaper.
Visitors to the Old House Museum will be able to enjoy a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life and get a glimpse of what it was like for upper middle class settlers. The house includes antique furniture and is set in park-like gardens. It is very easy to get lost looking back in time and imagining what it was like when the use of wagons was almost as commons as our modern use of cars. It also provides an insight into how a former Prime Minister as smuggled from Dundee to Greytown in a post cart.
The Museum is open Monday to Friday, from 08.30 to 16.00 and is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Admission to the Museum is free. Unfortunately, the house is not well suited for wheelchair users. There are no refreshments or shops at the Old House Museum, but these are available across the road.
The exhibitions in the Old House Museum
There are a number of items on display in the Museum that have particularly interesting histories. For example, an old clock that once belonged to a passenger on the ill-fated sailing ship Minerva. This vessel was one of many used to bring British emigrants to the Colony of Natal. It met an unfortunate end when it was wrecked on a reef off Durban in 1850, after it was set adrift during a storm. Obviously, a number of passenger possessions were lost but the clock on display was one item that survived and was found undamaged. It wasn't found straight away, but some time after when it was washed ashore in the barrel it had been packed in for the journey. Amazingly, it was still working when it was found.