The story of this home begins as far back as the first Dutch Cape Governor, Simon Van Der Stel and the beautiful homestead called Stellenberg. Draped across the southern slopes of Table Mountain, the original farm stretched across most of what is known as Claremont and Kenilworth today, and played a key role in the establishment and development of the Cape.
In 1845, a piece of the land was subdivided and purchased by timber merchant Ralph Arderne. An avid collector of trees, Arderne often purchased seedlings from passing ships in Cape Town harbour. Many of these trees can be found in his arboretum, the Arderne Gardens which is home to the highest concentration of Champion Trees in South Africa. Arderne Gardens was originally incorporated to supply tree specimens to Kew Gardens in London. As ships explored the Indies and Australasia, this “back up” location was established to cover for any plants which may have died on the long sea voyages to England.
A subsequent subdivision off Stellenberg took place in January 1886, with a house of epic grandeur built on it in 1896. Its driveway, now named Highwick Drive, stretched up from the Arderne Gardens to the front door of this, Highwick House. The house was originally purchased by Henry Beard, a Minister of Parliament, distinguished businessman and husband to Ralph Arderne’s daughter, Joanna.
After Beard’s death in 1926 the property was purchased by Judge James Stratford who made significant changes, most notably removing the turret that can be seen in the historical reference images. It was also around this time that the estate became known as Wytham Estate.
The Lewis Family
IIn 1961 Stanley Lewis, the man behind the successful Foschini Group, bought Wytham Estate. The family owned the house for 41 years and Stanley often used the house to host important business meetings and spent hours building his retail empire from the study - now The Lewis Library here in Highwick House.
When the Lewis family sold the property in 2002, The Foschini Group had already been using the property for a number of years as a headquarters and conference facility.
The story beneath your feet has been an interesting one so far. AVIEW purchased the property in 2017 and have been quietly weaving together the script for the next chapter in this rich, historical tapestry. The next chapter is yours to tell…