About Old House

The site of the Old House was donated to the city by George Churton Collins and was opened as a museum in 1954. The museum features a recreation of the home of one of Durban’s most prominent families, the Robinsons. Sir John Robinson was Natal’s first Prime Minister, and also owned the Natal Mercury, Durban’s daily morning paper.

The house with its antique furniture set in park-like gardens offers visitors respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life and provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of the upper middle class settlers.

Time-travellers can reflect on an era when the use of wagons was almost as common as our use of cars today and how a former Prime Minister was smuggled from Dundee to Greytown in a post cart.




Some of the items on display have particularly interesting histories. One such is an old clock which belonged to one of the passengers on the ill-fated sailing ship Minerva. The Minerva was one of the vessels bringing British emigrants to the Colony of Natal and was wrecked on a reef off Durban in July 1850 after having being set adrift during a storm. Most possessions were lost but, surprisingly, the clock was one of the few items to be found undamaged. It was discovered some time after the incident, having washed ashore in the barrel into which it had been packed for travel. To the surprise of its owner it was still ticking.


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