The Hoffmans who had the Sanatorium came from a strangely eccentric family. Their father farmed at Speelmansrivier, Caledon. Around 1875 the Hoffman family made a pact to leave all their possessions to the church until the end of the world. It included the father Dirk Wouter, his wife, a sister and the nine children. Together the family who was described as reclusive and religiously fervent also decided that none of the children would marry and that they would all be buried in a sealed mausoleum on the farm to share their final resting place.
One of the sons, Sebastian SB Hoffman broke the pact, moving to the Transvaal to marry. Until 2000 his grandson Pieter leased the former family farm from the NG Sendingkerk, which inherited the estate.
Dr Josua Hoffman, the second youngest son also married. His bride was Maria Smuts, sister of General Smuts. They had no children. In 1896 Dr Joshua and his brother Willem built the Sanatorium on Marine Drive.
The health-giving qualities of Hermanus are fully recognised by the medical fraternity who have always recommended patients requiring health-recuperating holidays to stay in Hermanus. Not only patients who came for the healthy air visited the Sanatorium, but Dr Joshua also encouraged dominees and missionaries to come for a rest. The well-known Dr Andrew Murray once stayed there for a time of rest. Some of the local teachers also made it their home.
Both Dr Joshua and his wife Maria died in 1923 and were laid to rest in the family vault on the farm. The next owners were Parker & Kruger (1919), Margaretha Steyn (1920), followed by David Allengensky (1931) – one of these probably changed the name to Windsor Hotel and made improvements. Alex Luyt bought it in 1940.
In 1958 Bill Record bought the Windsor and he decided to get the support of the local community when other hotels closed their doors during the quiet season. There were few restaurants then and the Windsor became the place to dine out. AA Rand for a rump was Bill’s eye-catching advert in the Hermanus news – and that rump steak was delicious. Basil Clark-Brown became owner in 1980’s and much later his son Garth Clark-Brown when the establishment became the Windsor Lodge Hotel.
Information and copyright: S.J. du Toit Photos: Old Harbour Museum and Windsor Hotel
The Windsor Hotel today (2010)