Striated Skies No. 51 – Namesake

51. Namesake

The St James Catholic Church building in this weeks Striated sky was opened in 1901. The church building was designed by George Ransom and built by Father John Duignam and his Filipino parishioners. The Parish of St James started in 1859 to serve the Filipino community of Kalk Bay. Given the spanish legacy of the community the name St James was chosen in honour of the apostle and fisherman, Patron saint of Spain.

The original building stood where the current station stands. When the train made its was to Kalk Bay in 1883 the church became a stopping point for the train known as St James Church Halt. By 1893 a platform was built known as St James’s. The suburb (which was part of Kalk Bay) took on the name St James. The builsing at the station building grew too small and thus was sold to Cape Government Railways for £2000 in 1900. It was with these proceeds that Fr Duignam was able to build the current building.

In 1924, the Golden Jubilee of Fr. Duignam, the stained-glass window behind the high altar was unveiled to celebrate his service to the parish.  In 1947, under the direction of Father Harold Doran, substantial alterations, including moving the entrance to the current configuration the main road, were completed. Below is a picture of the building before alterations were made.

St James has been a popular beach for many years and still retains its numerous colourful victorian bathing boxes. The suburb is a very trendy place to live and is well worth a visit together with its neighbours on the false bay coast. For more history check out KALK BAY, ST. JAMES – A brief history illustrated with postcards of a bygone era by Michael Walker.

Random Piece of information 

George Ransom also designed the Markham Building, which when completed in 1897 was the tallest building in Johannesburg (Cnr of Eloff and Pritchard). The large clock imported from Scotland has four faces North, South, East and West.  The building was known as Markham’s Folly as it stood out in the centre of Johannesburg with the clock visible for miles. The building housed the second store of Henry William Markham who arrived in Cape Town from England in 1873, setting up a successful outfitter’s business. Markhams was bought by the Foshini Group in 1968. In 1979 the building was saved from demolition

More Information on St James

Cape Town Tourism

Cape Point Route

TripAdvisor 

Striated Skies No. 50 – This is South Africa!

50. This is South Africa!

The photo that inspired this Striated Sky was taken from inside one of the boulders on the Logies Bay promontory, north of Llandudno Beach, looking towards the Mountain. Llandudno is a small residential suburb off Victoria Road just before Hout Bay. It is named after Llandudno on the Welsh coast. The area was known as Kleinkommetjie Bay until 1903 when Mrs Wege, wife of one of the directors of the Camps Bay Extension Estates, returned from a holiday to the UK and was struck by the similarity between Llandudno in Wales and Kleinkommetjie Bay.

Llandudno in Wales has rocky promontories on either side of their bay, known as Orms. These are reminiscent of the promontories at Logies Bay on the northern end and Sunset Rocks to the south, and so it was decided to christen the new township Llandudno.  The Logies Bay promontory, is made up of Cape Granite that was forced up between the surrounding sedimentary Shale by volcanic action. The rocks are weathered, some into caves, like the one from which the photo was taken.  Logies Bay also has an approx. 40-metre wide dolerite dyke alongside the granite (dark brown rock in the picture), Dykes are formed by molten lava that was squeezed between fissures in the granite before cooling. This dyke is the widest in the peninsula.* For all the Geologists out there check out this Thesis by Nils Bakeberg, it is a little over my head 🙂

Llandudno beach is absolutely stunning and in 2012 was used “by mistake” to represent the French North coast in London billboard adverts. The French tourism ads were trying to get people to go on holiday to France during the Olympics.  A London based fashion photographer, Bradford Bird, picked up that the photo was Llandudno given that he had grown up there.  According to a Telegraph article the ad agency had made a sorting error, apologised and changed the picture to one of France. I am sure that they just adored the beauty of the South African coast and had to use the picture ;-).

If you would like to own a piece of this beautiful seaside suburb you will need between R8.5 – R50 Million. If you earn a currency other than Rand now if the time to buy as you could scoop up a stunning 4 bedroom on the rocks for US$2.8M (£1.86M) or if you are on a budget and don’t mind a walk to the beach you can buy a stunning 5 bedroom family Villa for US$812k (£533k). You will not regret having your own spot on a piece of the most beautiful coastline in the world, what are you waiting for….

 

More information

* History of Llandudno

Cape Town Tourism

Llandudno Map

Striated Skies

Striated Skies No. 47 – True Colours

Striated Skies

Taken on the corner of Chiapinni St and Helliger Ln, this striated sky depicts the sun shining in on the colourful homes of the Bo Kaap. Bo Kaap is situated on the slopes of Signal Hill in Cape Town between Buitengracht St, Strand St and Carisbrook Street. The area is home to the largest collection of pre-1850 architecture in South Africa as well as the oldest Mosques. Previously known as the Malay quarter, the area was where free slaves settled in the 18th Century. Most slaves were from South East Asia and the name Malay is not necessarily correct but is what history gives us.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 8.01.01 AMBo Kaap

I sat for many hours reading up on the internet and watching videos about the Bo Kaap to decide what I should write about and what to name this piece. All the information reminded me how in society we are so often polarised, black or white. Bo Kaap was once a microcosm of different cultures but Apartheid took that away with the group areas act making the Bo Kaap a “Cape Malay” area.

One topic that is hot right now is the gentrification of the Bo Kaap. Given its close proximity to the city, makes the Bo Kaap a great place for outsiders to buy up homes that are in disrepair and to restore them. Many people see this as a great opportunity as house prices increase and the area develops. The down side of this is that original dwellers can no longer afford to live in the area and are “forced” to sell their homes thus resulting in a loss of the cultural heritage of the area.

The question we have to ask is: are the Bo Kaap’s true colours not in the culture of the residents as opposed to the brightly coloured buildings. What attracts tourists to the area? I believe that we need to make sure that the areas cultural heritage is kept in tact and that while the upliftment and development of the area is required it should not come at the expense of local’s heritage and history.

The beauty of the Architecture in the Bo Kaap is one aspect of the area, I would suggest a visit to see the amazing beauty but look at learning a little about the people of the area, this is some advice that I need to take up myself.

 

Some of the Sources of my information:

In 2012 Helen Gibb released a series of documentaries on YouTube which give a personal account of history and the current state of Bo Kaap (unfortunately part 5 of the series is muted to apparent copyright infringement).

Siteseer.tv encourage tourists to visit the Bo Kaap as well as many other Cape Town destinations.

Anouk Zijlma writes a great article o the Bo Kaap here

Bo Kaap Mapping 

Cape Chameleon Cover Story

Bo Kaap Museum website 

Cape Town Hoods Bo Kaap Page

Striated Skies No. 46 – Seaside Legacy

46. Seaside Legacy

Muizenberg is a sea-side suburb of Cape Town in False Bay. The “Town” was either named after the Moetjesons (a Khoi group living in the area in the late 18th century) or Willem Muijs, who was in charge of the  Dutch East India Company winter anchorage and cattle post in 1782 when the name first appeared on the map.

Over time Muizenberg gained popularity as a sea side resort, the Southern Train Line increased the number of visitors to the resort and a number of palatial homes were built. Due to the increased traffic the South African Railways decided to build a new Station in 1911 that would embody the importance of Muizenberg.  Architect J.C. Tully designed the Edwardian structure which took near on two years to build. It was opened on 7 June 1913 by the Minister of Railways and Harbours, the Honourable Henry Burton. The station was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation in 1982.

John Collingwood Tully was born in 1855 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.  He articled as a Premium pupil to Robert J Johnson of Austin Johnson & Hicks, a well-known practitioner of the Gothic Revival style in Newcastle-on-Tyne for five years. Tully moved to South Africa in 1889 and worked as a clerk of works in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein before moving to Cape Town to work on Groote Schuur by Herbert Baker on the first reconstruction for CJ Rhodes (1894-1897). He was married in 1896 and entered into partnership with Spencer Waters in Cape Town in 1897. In 1910 he moved to Pietermaritzburg where is lived until he passed away in 1929, although his death certificate is not available.

Muizenberg was also the destination of the first South African airmail – sent from Kenilworth on 27 December 1911. for more history on Muizenberg and the station visit:

http://gosouthonline.co.za/muizenberg-the-golden-years/

http://www.sahistory.org.za/places/railway-station-muizenberg#sthash.PtA8G8ep.dpuf

http://www.atlanticrail.co.za/stations_history.php

http://www.artefacts.co.za/main/Buildings/bldgframes.php?bldgid=8218

I recommend a trip to Muizenberg, We will be going back next weekend to walk from Muizenberg to Kalk bay. During the summer this area is a buzz with tourists and the main road is always jammed with traffic.

 

 

Striated Skies No. 43 – Love Camps Bay

43. Love Camps Bay

Camps Bay is an approximately 165Ha suburb of Cape Town, on the Atlantic Seaboard. Since its establishment as a settlement in 1713 Camps Bay has always been a recreational area. Lord Charles Somerset used the area for hunting, while staying at the Roundhouse.

Camps Bay can be reached from Cape Town via Victoria Road which runs along the coast from Sea Point. Victoria Road was designed by Thomas Bain and completed in 1887, the road continues through Camps bay all the way to Hout Bay. The drive is beautiful and a ‘must drive’ when in Cape Town. (NOTE: be relaxed and ready for traffic if you travel this road during the December/January Holiday rush). Victoria road was not the first road to Camps Bay, Kloof Road was, it was built in 1848 and winds down from Table Mountain, past the Roundhouse towards Clifton. While Kloof Road is a twisting and turning road, Camps Bay Drive is a more direct road and the third road from the city.

I struggled to find history of Camps Bay online. I did find a book by Gwynne Schrire Robins and Hillel Turok titled Camps Bay: an illustrated history. It would be interesting to have a look at this book, the first few page can be read here. For this blog it would take too long to get here if I had to buy it and the last time I went into a library was years ago… :-).

Gwynne Schrire Robins has written ten books, published more than three dozen academic articles and chapters in books, and has edited magazines, theses and books. She is currently the deputy director of the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies. Hillel Turok (1921-2002) was a Camps Bay resident, Architect and part of the founding committee for the Camps Bay Shul.

The photo that provides the canvas for this striated sky was taken whilst walking back from sundowners at one of the restaurants on Victoria road overlooking the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. This is what Camps Bay is about – fun, partying and holidays. Many of the homes and apartments in Camps Bay are holiday accommodation and as a result Camps Bay is extremely busy during the Summer months. Camps Bay is flanked by Lions head and the Twelve Apostles of Table Mountain which provide residents with amazing mountain views

The photo below was taken by myself whilst climbing Table Mountain a few months ago via India Venster. It shows Camps Bay from the Back of Table Mountain

IMG_3663

Come to Cape Town in February, soak up some sun on Camps Bay beach and have a few drinks. This is the best time in Cape Town and most visitors come during December/January therefore it is not crazy and busy.