The story of Liz at Lancaster

Guests sometimes ask ‘Why the acorn logo?’ and ‘Why did you start a B&B?’  In 1994, when I was still teaching at Wits, (I left Wits in 2005), I went to a conference held at North Western University in Chicago. There were some 20 South Africans and we were accommodated in various B&Bs within walking distance of the University. These B&BS were large homes of parents who had converted the rooms of their grown-up children who had since left home. The conference delegates would ask each other where each was staying and we would identify our B&Bs by the name of the owner/landlady and the street. I was staying at “Janet’s on Judd”.  If colleagues came by in the morning on the way to the University, they’d join us in the kitchen as Janet would offer coffee or breakfast.  It planted a seed or should I say an acorn. ….  

Why the acorn logo

I came back to Joburg with a vision of starting not only my own B&B but also networking with other B&BS nearby where there could be reciprocal exchanges as was the case with Janet’s breakfast offers.  Initially there were only two B&BS in Craighall Park and although guests do not always walk to other guesthouses, now that there are so many more guesthouses in the area, we do all work together networking to accommodate larger parties and pass on any overflow each might have.  So part of the vision materialized ! 

Small beginnings ….. 

So where did the acorn come from?   I’m always a bit shame-faced that to admit that I (and my ex-husband) planted the oak tree in what is now the car park and was then the back garden …. You can see guests sizing up the tree and doing their mental arithmetic as to my age. (We planted it in 1975). When it came to designing a logo, I wanted something that was specific to Liz at Lancaster both in terms of place and significance … hence the acorn.  And perhaps that relationship between the acorn and the large oak tree in the car park has become a more symbolic one which has particular resonance for all the team at Liz at Lancaster – that from small beginnings bigger things grow.   

The oak tree now towers above the house roof. Source:
Trees wear the ravages of water, wind and age with dignity and pride. Source:

Sadly, its leafy canopy has now had to be halved in size as it was blighted with the mildew that has struck oak trees worldwide. But you can see from the pic above that we have managed to keep the mildew at bay with treatments twice yearly and have a wonderfully strong healthy tree. My sons have a very strong feeling for this oak tree having built tree houses in it and made their camp fires underneath it. 

And the guesthouse expands

And just as Liz at Lancaster grew from one room in 1994 to 4 in 2002, to 6 in 2007 and to its current size of 7 units in 2008, so the garden morphed over time.   

2004 the back garden before the studio flatlet were built. Source:
Back garden on completion of the studio flatlets in 2008. Source:
2017 A little oasis. Source:

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