Milbrook - some background
Four years after the first Dutch settlement at the Cape in 1652 the first experimental crops were grown along the banks of the Liesbeek River often referred to as the 'The Brook'. On the banks of the river, a circular grove of thorn trees, or Ronde Doorn Bosje, was turned into a kraal. In 1657, the first group of Dutch East India Company employees gained "free burgher" (free citizen) status and were granted land along the river in the area now known as Rondebosch.
Milbrook, with its spelling from an earlier time, is to be found on the eastern edge of what was then part of the Estate where the stables were situated along with working mills beside 'the brook' including that of nearby Josephine Mill.
When Rhodes bought the Groote Schuur Estate in 1893, it was in a state of neglect. By chance he met Herbert Baker, an untried young English architect, and commissioned him to restore Groote Schuur. Rhodes' brief to Baker was to enlarge the house and restore something of its original Cape Dutch appearance.