This historical guest house property comprises the Messenger’s Cottage which is the oldest cottage in Grahamstown (built in 1814), a former Saddle Shop and Tannery, and the original Grahamstown Gentlemen’s Club. The Messenger’s Cottage was originally a thatch roof building, later destroyed by fire, and, together with “The Yellow House”, was used to determine the building line of High Street.

It was once home to District Surgeon Dr John Atherstone and later to the prominent 1820 Settler, Thomas Stubbs, who ran his saddle shop and horse-driven omnibus service from the property. The stone cottage in the garden, which now serves as a guest room, was used as his tannery.

In 1862 the double storey section of the property which now comprises the main area of the Guest House was built by the then-owners of the property, the Grahamstown Gentlemen’s Club. The Club Rules speak of a reading room, card room, library, billiard room and rooms upstairs for country members. Remnants of these days include granite plugs in the wooden floors in Reception, upon which the billiard table stood, and signatures on the glass in the bay window which were purportedly of club patrons who tested the authenticity of diamonds in this way.

In 1951 the property was purchased by the poet, author and playwright, Guy Butler and his wife Jean. The Butlers named the property “High Corner” and set about converting it from a club-type property into a home. Guy wrote extensively about the property in the second part of his autobiography, “A Local Habitation”, a copy of which is available in the Guest House reception area for the interest of guests.

A more detailed account of the history of High Corner is available in our rooms for the interest of our guests.

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