(NOTE: This is not the last Saturday of the month as that occurs during the Easter weekend)
We meet at 10am at the Posthuys in Muizenberg, where members of the Muizenberg Historical Society will be on hand to explain the renovations or repairs to the building, particularly the stable at the back.
Then on to Rhodes Cottage where we meet up again at 11am. Tony Westby-Nunn will be there to talk about Rhodes and the cottage. The roof has apparently recently been re-thatched so it was closed to the public for a while.
From there we will go to Seaforth beach where we will picnic and where there is also a restaurant. Parking is tight, so you might also wish to go on to a restaurant in Simon’s Town.
Meet at the British Hotel in Simon’s Town at 2.p.m.
Het Posthuys is considered to be one of the earliest buildings along the False Bay Coastline and was built in the late 1600s as a lookout post for enemy ships entering False Bay.
First recorded on a map in 1687, the actual origins and history of this building are still a subject of debate, but it is thought to be the 2nd oldest building in the Cape after the Castle, and the oldest in False Bay. In addition to its role as an outpost and lookout, it was used as a toll-house to levy taxes on farmers passing by to sell their produce to ships in Simon’s Bay. It seems to have a varied career as a police station, stables a naval storage facility, and later an ale and eating house, a brothel and a private residence, until it was restored with funds from the Anglo American Corporation.
Evidence exists that the site occupied by De Posthuys was utilized by Khoisan people. During excavations on site (date unknown), a hearth with shells was uncovered below the foundation level of the former 18th century kitchen. This site probably provided for good views over the bay while being a sheltered position. It should come as no surprise that in 1662 when, due to the imminent outbreak of war between the Netherlands and England in 1665 the site was chosen for the erection of a watch post to guard False Bay in case of attack. The building, part of a larger barracks complex, was completed in January of 1663. It is debated whether the structure currently standing is the original structure.
The buildings on this site remained in military use. During the Battle of Muizenberg in 1795 De Posthuys received a direct hit on its stoep. Adjoining buildings seem to have been destroyed at the same time. The site remained in military use during the First British Occupation as well as during Batavian rule. By 1814 the troops stationed in Muizenberg were removed and De Posthuys occupied by a barracks sergeant in charge of convicts, housed in the adjoining barrack used for road making. By the 1840s a wooden floor was introduced into the building. It seems that the structure was by then let as summer accommodation for holiday makers. By the mid-1880’s JA Stegmann of Claremont obtained a lease for the property who upgraded it for use as a holiday home, calling it “Stegmanns Rust”.
In 1919 the barracks, by then in ruin, were demolished leaving De Posthuys as the sole remaining survivor of the early military post. This was upgraded in 1922 by the South African Defence Force and used as accommodation until 1929. Some of the alterations carried out at this time (concrete beams in walls) date form this time. In 1929 the structure was sold to a Mr W Leon who made large additions to the structure and in turn sold it to the Anglo American Corporation in 1969. It was recognized as a heritage site n the 1970’s and was let to tenants until restoration commenced in 1979. During archaeological work a two-stuiwer coin, minted in 1680 in Holland and a rare flintlock musket were found, as well as a multitude of other invaluable artefacts. Further restoration was again carried out in 1990
Rhodes Cottage, formerly used by Cecil John Rhodes, stands on the main road to Simonstown, between Muizenberg and St James. Formerly known as Barkly Cottage, it was bought by Rhodes on 27 February 1899 from the deceased estate of JR Reid. Historical events in the rest of South Africa kept Rhodes away from his home, and it was only in 1902 that he finally moved here. Unfortunately he resided here for less than a month, and on 26 March 1902 he died in the house. It remained in the possession of the Rhodes Trust until 1932 when it was donated to the government of Northern Rhodesia, who, in 1937, transferred it to the City Council of Cape Town. It was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 4 February 1938.
Tony Westy-Nunn is one of South Africa’s serious publishers on books of the history and tourism of selected regions in South Africa, such as Simon’s Town (in a joint effort with Boet Dommisse);Graaff-Reinet,; Aberdeen in the Cape and Hout Bay.
Some other popular books are A Guide to the Anglo-Boer War; The Unfortified Military Villages of Sir Harry Smith 1848-1850, and The Kimberley Club.
His current path to publishing is producing Family History books on commission – and his current research focus is CJ Rhodes – which is why he’ll be embellishing our understanding of the man while we are Rhodes Cottage.
The British Hotel in Simon’s Town is a grand old Victorian building dating back to 1871. It owes its present appearance to the architect John Parker who remodeled it in 1897-98. We will be able to have a look inside the building which has now been converted intoa number of apartments.
NB: VASSA outings are for paid-up members only! Please wear your VASSA badge at all times.
MEMBERSHIP FEES 2018 (NOW DUE)
Family membership R400
Single membership R230
SACAP membership R480 which includes the issuing of a certificate
Payments to be made by EFT please!
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch code: 025009
Account number: 075624257
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