The age of the building is unknown but we know that it was already operating as a Hotel in about 1872 when HR Giddy (born 1852) and his brother OS Giddy (born 1847) stayed over. In his reminiscences, HR Giddy writes about the diamond rush after discovery of diamonds near Kimberley, his chronic illness caused by the dust and his journey back to Barkly East on which his brother accompanied him. On passing through Lady Grey, they “put up at the Commercial Hotel also known as Rose’s Hotel and today named the Mountain View Hotel”. This indicates that the Inn is more than 140 years old.
In those early days, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Rose, a German, possibly Jewish, was the owner of the Commercial Hotel. When he died in 1897 his son, also CFW Rose (Carlie), took over.
Carlie married Nelie Ross in 1902 and he added a large stable, forage and harness room, cart shed and a four room cottage to the Hotel. Today this is the laundry, workshop, garages and storage rooms at the back of the hotel.
Carlie lost his wife (photo above) and two sons in a freak accident in December 1905. A beautiful headstone in the shape of a large angel, carved from Carrara Marble, indicates the place in the middle of the Old Cemetery where they are buried.
After Carlie Rose, the hotel belonged to James Ernest Stone and his wife Susanna Wilhelmina Flora Bock. They had the hotel until 1945 and were also partners in the shop “Stone Brothers”.
A descendant of the Stone family said that the two Bock Sisters were the owners of the two hotels in Lady Grey (Commercial Hotel and Central Hotel/Plaaskombuis/Ye Oude Praktijkt) possibly by inheritance and they married the two Stone brothers.
From the above we know about James and Flora owning the Commercial/Mountain View and we have evidence confirming it. However, in 1910, when one of his children were baptised, his occupation was indicated as storekeeper.
James had a brother, Thomas Henry Stone, and he was married to the sister of Flora, Anna Augusta Bock. When Thomas Henry Stone and Anna Augusta Bock were married in January 1907, his occupation was indicated as “Hotel Proprietor” in the St Pauls Anglican Church register. That was also his occupation when his first children were baptised. Was he the owner of the Central hotel at that stage? In later years he was well known as the Storekeeper of the shop called “Tommy Stone” on the corner of Botha, Burnet and Grey Streets, opposite Amadwala.
Then there was another store called “Stone Bros” which belonged to two Stone brothers. Was this the same brothers or was it descendants of these two brothers?
In 1945 the hotel belonged to a Levine and in 1957 the owner was a Bekker. In June 1958 a record states that the hotel erven, 399 and 400 as well as two other erven, 358 and 359, are registered under Smithfield Hotels PTY LTD. During the 1960’s it was managed by JWJ Terblance until the end of February 1967.
On 13 Nov 1968 erven 358 and 359 were transferred to GJB Smith and erven 399 and 400 registered under Union Wine and Spirit Corp. In 1972 the hotel was referred to as Mountain View Hotel, registered as Lady Grey Holdings PTY LTD and the owner was Henry Vickers.
Eli Spilkin bought the hotel from Henry Vickers in 1972 and it became part of the Spilco Hotel group.
Bill and Joan Brown were appointed as managers from 1972 to until 1973.
At some stage, possibly from 1973 but certainly up to 1978, the hotel was managed by Mike and Elmien Stone. It is interesting to note that Mike is a descendant (grandson) of Thomas Henry Stone and Anna Augusta Bock who possibly owned the Central Hotel as mentioned before.
In 1979 the hotel was managed by Jimmy and Joey Erasmus. It was still part of the Spilco Hotel group which consisted of the Mountain View Hotel – Lady Grey, Drakensberg Hotel – Barkly East, Mountain Shadows Hotel – Barkly Pass and Pig & Whistle Hotel – Bathurst. Members of the Spilco group was G. Spilkin, G.P. Spilkin, R. Spilkin, M. Spilkin and K.A. Spilkin.
In 1991 the hotel was managed by James and Maria Combrink. The Spilco group promoted tourism in the Eastern Cape and campaigned for the official declaration of national monuments in the area.
In June 1993 Pierre and Nina de Groot bought the Hotel and named it Mountain View Country Inn. They moved the off-sales to other premises, changed all rooms to have on-suite bathrooms, re-vamped the interior and exterior and changed the roof colour from red to green. They also promoted tourism by producing a range of new brochures.
Clive and Meryl Hambley bought the Hotel in September 1997. Coming from a nursery background, Meryl spent a lot of time shaping the garden and introducing new scrubs and trees.
In April 2002 Otto and Dalene Oertel bought the Hotel. Since then constant changes and re-vamps have taken place, always with the comfort of the guest in mind. To name a few, the old liquor store was changed to a modern conference room, more efficient equipment installed and furniture, equipment and décor in rooms changed to make it comfortable and pleasing for guests.
There are indications that the Bar is situated in the oldest part of the building. It has a high reed ceiling, then a wooden ceiling and the lowest ceiling which is a modern ceiling. Interesting features include the beautiful old staircase and antique furniture in the restaurant and many of the rooms.
A room in the Hotel is dedicated to history. It contains crockery, cutlery and other articles used in the hotel during its existence as well as articles from the old David Ross High School and research material of value to anybody researching the old families (Genealogy) and history of Lady Grey.