Picture 46606: from the Castle of Good Hope

I visited the Castle of Good Hope today, looking to see whether any of the unofficial photos had been taken from there. Picture 46606 appears to have been taken from either the Buuren or Leerdam bastions, or on the battlements between the two bastions. This was the only point high enough for the angle of this picture - and also a logical place for a photo to be taken. I'll go through the pros and cons of each option.


In the 1873 picture, the long "tenament-syle" building in the foreground is the now-demolished "Grand Barracks". This information was given to me by Natie Greeff, Curator of the Castle Museum. In front of the Grand Barracks is (not surprisingly) the Grand Parade, which still exists today. At far left-hand end of the Grand Barrack is a building with a very distinct pedament. This was a hospital, which is described as "on the present site" of the police station. (p81 of Cape Town: the making of a city : an illustrated social history Nigel Worden, E. Van Heyningen, Vivian Bickford-Smith on Google Books) The church in the background is St Mary's Cathedral - today corner of Roland and Hope Streets (built in 1851).

This is the view today from the Buuren Bastion.The moat in the foreground was closed at one stage, and would not have been visible in 1873. If you use the hospital / Caledon Square Police Station, this is the best line-up I achieved. However the mountain is not exactly right, and suggests we need to move to the left. I wonder whether the old hospital pediment was copied when the police station was built - but moved slightly.

If you walk to the half-way point between the two bastions that face the correct direction you get this view from next to the Bell Tower, which is directly above the main entrance. The prominent City Hall on the right was only built in 1905.


When you get to the Leerdam bastion, this is the view. The overlay on the mountain is at it's most accurate from here - but now the pedament of the hospital/police station does not line up correctly. This is why I think that the current pediment was moved from the original site when the police station was built. Unfortunately you can't see St Mary's Cathederal from here, because that has not moved.



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Comment by Eleanor Muller on December 12, 2010 at 5:23am

I've updated the blog to include the information that the church in the background is St Mary's Cathederal. Built in 1851, it is the home of the Roman Catholic Church in Cape Town and today on the corner of Hope and Roland.

Comment by GaryMcLeod on December 12, 2010 at 12:15am

I've shared this post with all members in the project, in the hope of getting more feedback from others :)

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