10 October 2010 by Chris Marais

The Miracle Of Market Street

If there was an annual prize for “Busiest Woman in Cradock”, Sandra Antrobus of Die Tuishuise in Market Street would win hands-down every year.

The first time we checked into one of the 30-odd gloriously restored old Victorian houses in the historic Eastern Cape river town, I was immediately drawn to Sandra’s letter of welcome:

“We will always remain what we are - an old street in a small Karoo town with country folk only too happy to serve you, our special guest. So please relax and enjoy your stay with us, because we will enjoy meeting you…”

Hardly a day goes by when Sandra’s not haggling for a discarded item of Victoriana, or restoring parts of a building, be it a farmhouse, the Victoria Manor or one of the Tuishuise. Some are restored in the old Boer manner, with hides and hunting prints, others have a distinctly Victorian feel about them, speaking to the memories of the early colonial settlers of the area.

We discovered the Victoria Manor Hotel at the end of the street, and walked into 1850 as we entered the plush foyer.

“I love this town,” I said to my wife Jules. Hours later, once we had met Sandra and her philosopher-farmer husband Michael, I told Jules I wanted to come and live in Cradock. She agreed. And so here we are today, happily relocated from Johannesburg to a house not far away from the dynamic energy of that bustling frontier lady in Market Street.

Category: Culture & History

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