LOCATION: Fernwood House, Bishopscourt
LEADER: André Berman

Andrew Berman, who has been working on heritage aspects of proposals to develop Fernwood for a number of years, gave us an introduction to the history of the estate at our March talk.
Although Fernwood house in its present form dates from the late nineteenth century, the estate is illustrated on Thibault’s map, and Andrew explained developments dating back to the early 1800’s.

From a vernacular landscape perspective, the estate is interesting because of the aspects such as: water on site, avenues, views to mountains etc.
From a vernacular architecture perspective, the long house is the most well preserved example of early architecture on the estate.a96d2dd8-0dd6-4891-814a-6758d4e693b9
Site plan of Fernwood with the entrance on the top right-hand corner.

According to Hans Fransen (2004) Fernwood, which was used as the Parliamentary Club for many years, was “part of the grant Goed-en-Quaad ‘in the wilderness north of the Liesbeek River’ to Wouter Cornelisz Mostert in 1666; transferred in 1688 to Willem ten Damme and in 1701 regranted as Boshof…
The main house is a long single-storeyed building, with its high stoep flanked by bow-fronted stoepkamers. It has a slate roof punctuated by diagonal chimneys with an extension to the right.
The building received its present appearance in 1877 but probably contains earlier material”.