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Haggards on Hilldrop

Contact Details
15 Hilldrop Road Newcastle KwaZulu-Natal South Africa
  • 4-star Graded Bed & Breakfast Establishment
  • Situated on Glorious 3 Hectare Indigenous Forest
  • Airconditioned Luxury Furnished En-Suite Rooms
  • Fully Licensed "Honesty Bar"
  • Dinner by Arrangement Only
  • Breakfast 7 Days a Week
  • TV with 6 DStv Hotel Package
  • Coffee / Tea / Hot Chocolate Facilities
  • Electronic Lock-Up Safes in All Rooms
  • Electronic Gate Entrance for Security
  • Laundry Facilities on Request
  • Hair Dryers Available on Request
  • Visa / Master Card / Diners Card & American Express Excepted
  • Airport Transfers Available on Booking Only
  • Outdoor Pool
  • 1km from Blackrock Casino
  • 1,6km to Newcastle Mall
  • 8km from The Newcastle Golf Club
  • 8km from The Ferrum International Swimming Pool
  • Uninterrupted Power Supply via 60KVA Back-Up Generator.
History: Sir Rider Haggard famous author of "King Solomon's Mines".

Sir Rider Haggard helped run up the British flag in Pretoria during May 1877. Shortly afterwards he was appointed Master and Registrar of the High Court. In Pretoria, Haggard met Arthur Cochrane and together they built a small cottage, "The Palatial". Here Haggard learned that Lilly Jackson, whom Haggard was unofficially engaged to during 1875, had decided to marry someone else. "The news left me utterly reckless and unsettled". He had an affair with a married woman, Johanna Catherine Ford, who became pregnant with his child - a girl named Ethel Rider - who subsequently died. Looking for a new start, Haggard and Cochrane resigned from their jobs and bought a small farm, Rooipoint, just outside Newcastle, where they intended to farm ostriches. The farmhouse named Hilldrop, declared a national monument in 1981 still stands today and is used as a Bed & Breakfast filled with Haggard Memorabilia.

In August Haggard went on a visit to England and in 1880 Haggard married Louisa Margitson. The couple returned to South Africa just as the First Anglo-Boer War broke out. The British were defeated in three battles fought close to Newcastle: Laing's Nek, Ingogo and Majuba. Hilldrop was rented by the authorities to negotiate the peace terms. "It was a strange fate which decreed that the Retrocession of the Transvaal, over which I had myself hoisted the British flag, should be practically accomplished beneath my roof". Haggard's first child, Arthur John Rider ('Jock') was born at Hilldrop on 22 May 1881. But the change in British fortunes convinced the Haggard family to leave South Africa. The death of Jock in 1891, however, signaled the end of Haggard's most creative period and, as he emerged from his grief, the beginning of Haggard's life as a farmer and "man of affairs". He served on the Royal Commission on Coast Erosion and Afforestation in the United States and was knighted in 1912 for his public services. Haggard revisited South Africa in 1914 while serving on the Dominions Royal Commission. Haggard died on 14 May 1925 in England.

Acknowledgements: KwaZulu-Natal Literary Trails - Compiled by Stephen Coan and Lindy Stiebel.