The Colenso Museum, otherwise known as the R.E Stevenson Museum (Old Toll House) was erected in 1879 as the house of the Bulwer Bridge. The military historian Dr R.E. Stevenson made a study of the Battles fought in and around Colenso during the Anglo-Boer War and the memorabilia are housed within the museum. The key can be obtained from the police station next door.
The Battle of Colenso:
On 15 December 1899, General Buller advanced on the lines of defence that had been set up by General Louis Botha along the Thukela River. The purpose of this offensive was to relieve the besieged town of Ladysmith. The British forces advanced on three fronts. On the right flank towards Hlangwane Hill, led by the Earl Douglas Hamilton, who was repulsed; on the left flank by Major General Hart, who was ambushed in a blind loop 7km upstream from Colenso with heavy casualties. In the centre of this loop was Colonel CJ Long, who had also advanced heavy guns into the bend in the river. They came under heavy fire and as a result were abandoned. Buller then ordered an attempt to retrieve these guns. Only two of the 12 were recovered. One of those who died trying to save these guns, was Lieutenant Freddy Roberts, son of Field Marshall, Lord Roberts. Altogether Buller lost more than 1 100 men at Colenso, while eight Boers lost their lives and thirty were wounded.