The Ladysmith Siege Museum is considered to be the best Anglo Boer War museum in the country, and is acclaimed beyond the borders of the country. The building that houses the museum was built in 1884. During the Siege it was used as ration post for civilians. A diorama depicts Ladysmith and surroundings at the time of the Siege. Artefacts, documents, uniforms and firearms are on display.
- Weekdays: 09:00-16:00;
- Saturdays: 09:00-13:00;
- Sundays and public holidays by appointment only.
Causes of the Anglo Boer War:
British immigrants to the ZAR during the gold rush years found themselves as a suppressed minority with no political representation. The British Empire had its eyes on the rich gold fields of the Republic and saw the unrest as the opportunity they needed to expand the empire. The Boers were well aware of Britain’s plans and were not about to give in – after all, 20 years earlier at the battle of Majuba, they had beaten the British. On 11 October 1899 they took up the offensive by crossing the border into Natal.
Ladysmith was the key strategic point for the British in Natal, being closest to the Transvaal and Free State borders. At the first signs of war, a British regiment was sent to Ladysmith to defend the town against possible invasion from the ‘Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek’ and Orange Free State. On 2 November 1899 the town was besieged by the Boers. All communication lines with the outside, as well as water supplies, were cut. The last train left Ladysmith on 2 November 1899. For the next 118 days approximately 26 000 soldiers and 8 000 civilians were trapped inside the town.