MOSSEL BAY NEWS - Two historic buildings in central Mossel Bay have been restored to their former glory and the work done on them gets a firm thumbs up from the Heritage Society of Mossel Bay, which strives for the preservation of notable architecture in town.
One of the buildings is number 38 Marsh Street, which used to house Café Havana restaurant until a few months ago. The building now houses the Cork & Plunger restaurant.
It is a double storey with a balcony above and a verandah below. Although constructed from blocks of sandstone, the building was painted a bright, custard yellow.
When the new restaurant owners took over the building, they removed the paint from the stone.
Buildings constructed from sandstone are historically significant and should not be painted. Originally the building was a private home, called Rendezvous.
The other building which has been restored is a small cottage on the premises of Mossel Bay attorney Fiona Williamson. She is based at 9 Mitchell Street. The street is at right angles to and intersects Marsh Street.
Heritage Society chair Carina Wiggill applauded the "cleaning of the stone and restoration of the two properties".
She noted that both had been painted previously. She said the sandstone of number 38 Marsh Street was an "odd colour" because it had been painted and not exposed to natural elements, but the colour of the stone would normalise in time. In defence of the previous owners of 38 Marsh Street, Wiggill said the building had already been painted before the Café Havana owners bought it.
She continued: "Heritage Mossel Bay commends the owners on restoring this historic sandstone building (No. 38) in the central business district to its original state by removing the paint from the sandstone."
'People are in awe.'
Taha Versi, the co-owner of the building, said: "We sandblasted it using silica pellets. It took four months; it was a long journey. The results are rewarding. People arrive and are in awe." The other owner is Marc Davidson.
Wiggill said the property was a fine example of Mossel Bay's sandstone architecture. "It has fine details and aesthetics and contributes character to both the street and the area."
"This property was built circa 1900 for Mr W Matthews and his family. It was later used as a boarding house but became a family home again until its conversion to a restaurant a few years ago."
Referring to the property owned by Fiona Williamson, Wiggill said: "A second property, the stone cottage on the corner of Michell and Guys Smalberger streets, has in the past months also been restored to more like its former self. It dates back to circa 1880 and was a family home then."
Williamson said: "It was a messy exercise and it was loud and noisy. I had fantastic support from the municipality when I told them what I was doing. I love the building. I really enjoy driving past it. It fits in with the whole scheme and plan of the town now that the paint has been removed."
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