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Landmark Grocott’s Mail building in Grahamstown sold

Date Released: Wed, 5 June 2013 08:47 +0200

Built in 1892 and located at 40 High Street, the landmark Grocott’s Mail building in the heart of Grahamstown has been purchased by a local investor for an undisclosed sum in a transaction concluded by Pam Golding Properties. The purchaser, Supello Investments, a South African company, will be refurbishing the building with the intention to preserve as many of the fittings and history of the building as possible.

Comments Daphne Timm, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Grahamstown: “The sale of this property was an emotional decision for the owner, Jeff Grocott, and the Grocott family, as it has been in the Grocott family since 1892 and owned by Jeff Grocott since 1981. Not surprisingly, this prime-located, character building imbued with history, sold within six weeks of being placed on the market by PGP agent Kim Webber. It is fitting that the new owners will be ensuring the preservation of this treasured town landmark.”

Grocott’s Mail occupies the top two floors of the building and remains a tenant. Currently celebrating the milestone of 143 years in existence, Grocott’s Mail was established by Thomas Henry Grocott with its first edition published on 11 May 1870. Now a once-a-week edition, the popular publication is available in print and on-line.

Born in Liverpool and apprenticed to the proprietor of the Liverpool Mail in 1854, Thomas Grocott relocated to South Africa and worked for the Eastern Star newspaper for several years.  Published on Wednesdays, the first edition of Grocott’s Free Paper was launched despite the fact that a number of other newspapers were already being published in the town.

In 1872 the paper became Grocott’s Penny Mail, a bi-weekly distributed on Tuesdays and Fridays, and by 1875 it was being distributed throughout the then Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal Republic and to subscribers even further afield. The paper went from strength to strength, and in 1920 merged with the Graham’s Town Journal to become the Grocott’s Daily Mail.  This despite the fact that in 1905 a fire burnt down the front shop but not the printing works. The front shop was rebuilt in 1906 and the floor, shelving, glass covered cabinets and windows are those of today.

Grocott’s remained mostly a family business and was taken over by the great-grandson of the founder, Jeff Grocott, who was in the business for 43 years until it was sold to Rhodes University in 2003 and took on a further important role in developing the training of journalism students in new and exciting ways, while continuing to serve the Grahamstown community.  

For further information contact Pam Golding Properties Grahamstown on 046 622 2778 or email grahamstown@pamgolding.co.za.

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