Talana Museum South Africa  

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Boswells Building


This building was originally erected as the Biggarsberg Unity Lodge – the second     Masonic Lodge – in 1898.

The upper floor was the Masonic meeting hall and the bottom hall was used for entertainment – dances, theatre and cinema - and was widely regarded as the finest theatre in Northern Natal.

In 1901 the furniture that had been looted from the homes in town during the Boer occupation was piled up in this building for the local residents to claim and remove, after their return to the town.

At the end of the war, the “Treason Trials” of the Natal rebels were held in this building.

From 1904–1909 it served as the home of the Dundee and District Club and in 1924 was host to the inaugural meeting of the Natal branch of the National Party (political).

In 1929 the Masons moved into their new Lodge and the building was sold to Mr Atwell, who was responsible for bringing some amazing cinema shows to Dundee. He also used the front offices as his photographic studio.

The name Boswell’s derives from its  purchase by Ralph Boswell Robertson MP in 1935.

For many years Boswell’s was a grocery and general dealers store and then a wholesaler.