Reader Mark Sandison wrote in a while ago in response to David Baird’s article on the watering holes of his youth and to throw more light on the Los Angeles Hotel and, in particular, how the Robert E Lee got its name. He wrote:
Wow, a real nostalgic trip. Yeah, knew all those pubs as I’m sure did most of our generation.
The upper pub at the Los Angeles hotel was called the Robert E Lee. It was named by the owner of the hotel, Peter Paget, after his adopted son named Robert, and, of course, the US Confederate General. I was told that directly by the man himself at his house at 347 Innes Road just before he and his wife Daphne were to open the newly refurbished pub. (I had been going out with his daughter Anne for a couple of years)
The pub had a huge mural of a Mississippi steamboat wheeler on one of the walls.
Peter and Daphne Paget were some of the nicest people I had ever met and they would have made great in-laws. Peter would go every weekday to the Los Angeles hotel at 9.30am to check on how well his hotel had done the day and night before. He would return for lunch at 12.30pm. I always admired his 3-hour workday. Even though reasonably wealthy, they were totally unpretentious and I appreciated this even more. They seemed to have a wonderful balance in life of true values.
Incidentally, Peter Paget’s father was a mining engineer whose company was involved in the gold mines and got the contract to build the cable way in Cape Town. He was the first person to go up the cableway in an iron bathtub that had to be used to test out the cableway as no cable cars had yet been built.
Sadly Peter Paget died on 8th of March 1988 aged 65, Daphne Paget on 23 April 2010 aged 83 and Robert Paget on 3rd March 2011 aged 56.
The last I heard, Anne Paget was thinking of selling her property on Innes Road and emigrating to New Zealand to be with her daughter and family. Sadly the emigration option sensibly chosen by many white South Africans in the new and miserably failing South Africa.