Lady Grey is a small village in the North Eastern Cape of South Africa, 50km from Aliwal North on the R58 to Barkly East. Surrounded by the Witteberg mountains, it is the most scenic of all the towns in the area.
On the 2 nd February 1857 under chairmanship of Mr. C. C. Cloete a public meeting agreed to approach the Dutch Reformed church council of Aliwal North for permission to create a new parish and find a location to build a new church.
Three months later the farm Waaihoek was purchased from the Botha brothers to serve as the new “kerkplaas”. It was also agreed to approach Sir George Grey, governor of the Cape, for permission to name the village Lady Grey after his wife.
The first church, measuring 60’ x 34’ x 18’, was inaugurated on the 24 th February 1860. This church was destroyed by fire and a beautiful new sandstone church was inaugurated in 1913. The church has an exceptionally fine organ, one of only two of its kind in the country (the other being in die Groot Kerk in Cape Town). The church is now a national monument.
The first school in the village was opened in 1865 with 39 pupils. The amalgamation of several schools led to the building of a new school in 1927, named after David Ross in 1942, and now is home to the Lady Grey Arts Academy.
The farmers of the area built Joubert’s Pass to allow easier access between their farms and the village. The pass was opened in 1914 and at 2242m is the third highest in South Africa. It carves its way through the impressive basalt formations of the Witteberg where you can view many interesting geological features, admire the unique alpine flora and often spot the Black Eagles gliding past.
The Lady Grey dam was built in 1925 to supply the town with water. It is situated in an impressive sandstone gorge 3km from Comfrey Cottage. The 25m high wall provides a spectacular sight when the dam overflows.
Lady Grey is predominantly a sheep farming area. Our town is now home of Senqu Municipality, an area encompassing Lady Grey, Sterkspruit, Barkly East, Tiffendell and Rhodes. Lady Grey remains a peaceful town with an optimistic outlook and is currently experiencing strong growth through tourism and the reputation of the Lady Grey Arts Academy attracting young families to the area.