Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Filtering by Tag: Pat Goss Snr

Emtonjeni Suite 12 at Hartford House

Hartford House Emtonjeni Suite 12
(Photos : Sally Chance)

Emtonjeni Suite 12

We are blessed on our farms with an abundance of water, with numerous underground springs spread across the length and breadth of the property. The word Emtonjeni means "at the springs" in Zulu, and this suite takes its name from its proximity to the swimming pool, and the springs. "The Springs" was also the name of the farm in East Griqualand on which Pat Goss snr founded his renowned racehorse breeding enterprise in the 1930's.

This suite fronts onto an old bathing pavilion (now the Wellness Centre), which dates back to the foundation of the Manor House, in 1875. The Moors, who were the first occupants of Hartford as we know it, initiated a habit of giving to each other, a plant or a piece of garden statuary or ornamentation on wedding anniversaries, and the bathing pavillion was one of the first of these. Since then, the Ellises and the Gosses have perpetuated this rather quaint habit, and most of what you see in the garden today came about as a result.

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For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

Emanzini Suite 11 at Hartford House

Hartford House Emanzini Suite 11 / Hartford House (p)

Hartford House Emanzini Suite 11 / Hartford House (p)

Emanzini Suite 11

We are blessed on our farms with an abundance of water, with numerous underground springs spread across the length and breadth of the property. The word Emanzini means "at the waterside" in Zulu, and this suite takes its name from its proximity to the swimming pool, the Wellness Centre and the springs. "The Springs" was also the name of the farm in East Griqualand on which Pat Goss Snr founded his renowned racehorse breeding enterprise in the 1930's.

Emanzini was one of the first exercises in building with bricks and mortar for our previously unskilled Zulus, who in our opinion, made an excellent job of what seemed like an impossible task when we first set out.

This suite fronts onto the old wisteria pergola, which dates back to the foundation of the Manor House, in 1875. The Moors, who were the first occupants of Hartford as we know it, initiated a habit of giving to each other a plant or a piece of garden statuary or ornamentation on wedding anniversaries, and the pergola was one of the first of these. Since then, the Ellises and the Gosses have perpetuated this rather quaint habit, and most of what you see in the garden today came about as a result.

hartford house logo

For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

Heliotrope Suite 10 at Hartford House

Hartford House Heliotrope Suite 10
(Photos : Hartford House)

Heliotrope Suite 10

Originally known as the Garden suite, Heliotrope and its neighbour were the first attempt by our previously unskilled Zulus at building with bricks and mortar. A fine effort, we're sure you'll concede.

Appropriately, the suite takes its name from the Heliotrope flower, and a parallel connection with the first racehorse owned by Mick Goss and his family.

Originally selected by Mick's late father, Bryan, shortly before his premature death in 1977, a one third share in the R900 purchase Heliotrope was the sum of Mick's inheritance, though he did get the racing "disease" from his Dad and grandfather, Pat snr. Yet it was this modest horse that ignited the fire which burns so brightly in the subsequent history of Summerhill Stud, the multiple champion racehorse breeding establishment on the continent, and of course, in the distinguished story of Hartford, which was the subject of an exchange for the Goss family property in Hillcrest, just outside Durban, in 1990.

A humble but game little racehorse, Heliotrope provided Mick and Cheryl with one of their most thrilling moments when he became a winner on only his second racecourse start, and this early success led to the Gosses acquiring their first race filly, Pagoda, the foundation mare in the Summerhill story.

The furnishings in these suites are drawn from such diverse places as India and Morocco, while the teak flooring was part of the original dining room in the fabled Edward Hotel on Durban's Golden Mile.

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For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

IT’S A SMALL WORLD INDEED

Mick Goss enjoys a moment with Ben Jonsson

Mick Goss enjoys a moment with Ben Jonsson
(Photo : Hartford House)

Among many anecdotes to have emerged from the Jonsson 80th birthday celebrations, were these two. According to the Guinness Book of Records, there is only one other set of living triplets who are slightly ahead of the Jonssons, the threesome having chalked up 93 years. The Jonssons trail by just 13 years, but knowing their history of longevity, it’s a good bet our “triplets” still have a good bit of wind in their sails. Either way, it’s a remarkable story of triumph against the odds, and it’s our bet the Guinness Book is in danger of having its pages rewritten. For the record, an elder sibling Hugh, was the breeder of Jet Master greatest South African stallion of all time, who’s just recorded his third consecutive Sires championship.

The second anecdote worth repeating is the connectivity in racing between Ben and the Goss family. As a young man recently out of school, Ben made his first investment in a racehorse, acquiring a colt from Mick Goss’s grandfather, Pat Goss Snr, in the mid 1940’s for the princely sum of £50, quite a bit of money in those days.

Legend has it that Ben had only £35 from his savings to spend, and had to borrow the remaining £15 from his employer, which he redeemed at £2 a month. Unable to afford the training fees, Ben leased the colt to the grandfather of David Pianel, famous for his association with the studs of the Rowles family (Ivanhoe) and Sydney Press’ Coromandel Stud.

For what its worth, Ben’s colt won two heats on the same day at the Lions River gymkhana, and then promptly suffered a heart attack which put him down. Prior to that he hadn’t been able to pull off a win at the major courses, hence his dispatch to a gymkhana meeting, though we shouldn’t demean gymkhanas too much, because they were quite competitive affairs in those days.

Either way, we’d like to think we’ve moved on at Summerhill!