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Historic gem shut down by criminals

Then, on March 3, burglars broke into the house through the pantry window and stole two stinkwood dining chairs before the security company could respond.

“So we decided to take action and move all the furniture to the East London Museum this week,” said Morcom, who had written to the Eastern Cape Provincial Heritage Resource Agency asking for advice.

“It is so, so depressing and I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe we could recreate a room from Gately House in the museum,” she said. “The collection is invaluable because of its historic significance.”

Heritage tourists and school groups once poured into the charming Victorian home daily. The atmospheric house was immaculately furnished with Victorian, Georgian and art nouveau furniture as well as kitchenware, ornaments and everyday artifacts of the period, but numbers dropped in recent years thanks to creeping crime.

“The first prize is to once again move everything back and have it open to the public, but we need a wealthy benefactor to secure the whole area. We have photographs of everything in situ so it would not be a problem to put everything back,” said Morcom. — barbarah@ dispatchlive.co.za/

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