The building was bought from the Bohra community for 2,000 English Pounds after a longer period of occupation by the Medical Department who had used the building to serve as the Malindi Native Civil Hospital. The exact date of construction is not known but when Thomas Alfree was buying the property from the Bohra community, as discussed in his undated autobiography, even the oldest Bohra who was then more than ninety years old could not remember when it was built. We can, nonetheless suggest a date of construction perhaps the last quarter of the 19th century, a time bracket that saw these type of building style fashionable especially in the old towns of Lamu and Mombasa.
Thomas Alfree bought the house from a grant to the Marine Division of the Fisheries Department for purposes of establishing a Kenya Marine Fisheries Station in Malindi. Unfortunately, Alfree in his autobiography is silent on the date he signed the lease agreement of 99 years but definitely must have been during the first half of British Colonial period in Kenya.
After occupation by Fisheries department, the building became the office for Kenya Wildlife Services before it was handed over to the National Museums of Kenya in 1999. On 10th May 2004 the building opened its doors to the general public as Malindi Museum.