Feb 2019 Talk: The early estates and homesteads of District Six

February 19, 2019 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
The Athenaeum
Boundary Terraces
at the intersection of Mariendahl Lane and Campground Road
Newlands (next to Newlands Stadium)
Jim Hislop
083 950 9586

Behind the Castle: The early estates and homesteads of District Six

The Zonnebloem homestead today, the last H-shaped Cape Dutch house in the Table Valley
(Photo: Jim Hislop)

The first talk of the year will focus on the early history and development of District Six, a never-before-covered topic that has finally been covered in Jim Hislop’s second book, Behind the Castle.

Herman Schutte’s Hanover House, in Hanover Street, District Six
(Western Cape Archives & Records Service) 

A remnant of the Werkerslust opstal, still standing in De Villiers Street, on the edge of old District Six

SPEAKER: Jim Hislop

Many think of District Six as a bustling, densely populated city neighbourhood, but it wasn’t always so. Originally, the area loosely referred to as ‘Behind the Castle’ consisted of a few scattered market garden estates (such as Zonnebloem, Bloemhof, Werkerslust and Hope Lodge) with large homesteads, vineyards and grazing land, accessed by a few farm roads that were later formalised into District Six thoroughfares, such as Hanover Street.

Jim Hislop’s second book, Behind the Castle, looks at this early history of the place that was to become District Six – something that has never been extensively covered in a book before.

The talk will focus on some of these early buildings, some of which are, somewhat surprisingly, still standing.



Lavishly illustrated with old artworks, photographs, maps and drawings (some published for the first time), Behind the Castle is a treasure trove for lovers of old buildings, bygone eras and the forgotten corners and characters of Cape Town. Jim will be selling the book after the talk.

Cost: R350 (R320 for Pensioners).


Born and educated in Cape Town, VASSA member Jim Hislop has developed his passion for old Cape buildings and historical research into a career as a property historian. He self-published his first book, Wheatfields & Windmills (about the early buildings of Observatory) in 2014 .Behind the Castle is Jim’s second book, and he has done all the research, layout, photography and illustrations himself.

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