Bay View House

Simon's Town Historical Society

Bay View House

Cape Town, Simon's Town, Western Cape 7995, South Africa

Created By: Simon's Town Historical Society


Bay View House was in existence before 1806, on a portion of an estate called Constantia which dates to 1749. The estate passed through the hands of several owners, and was bought in 1801 by Alexander Tennant who shortly afterwards went bankrupt. The estate was subdivided by the trustees into 12 lots, two of which were bought on the premise that the departure of the British would enhance business. The re-occupation by the British in 1806 caused the owners to give up their property. The following advertisement describes it:

Public Sale: On Monday, the 16 June 1806, will be sold by public sale at Simon's Town - A new built House and Packhouse, consisting of five upper and three lower rooms, and other necessary apartments.

The property was purchased by Wm. Hopley who went bankrupt 18 months later. The eldest of the ten sons of Jan Pieter Kirsten held it for thirteen years before financial difficulties caused him to sell it in 1821. He advertised it as “a House, Store, and Hire House consisting of many spacious rooms, out offices and stabling for 16 horses, well calculated for lodgings or to carry on the Baker's trade". There were no buyers and Mr Kirsten too became insolvent. At a public sale by the Sequestrator, the property, like nearly every other property in Simon's Town was acquired by John Osmond. The following year, the Reverend George Sturt, the Colonial Chaplain, complained of 'yet another wine house' and this was John Osmond's most recent acquisition, run by a Mr Webster. The proximity of the Naval Hospital was one of the causes of trouble: ‘medical' comforts', not prescribed by the doctors, were readily available. Distress caused by the sight of sickness and suffering was promptly alleviated. There were repeated complaints from naval captains and naval surgeons. One of the captains in a letter to the Magistrate said ‘I leave you to judge, Sir, how incorrigible the patients at the the Hospital are, when I was under the necessity of punishing a patient by flogging in the Hospital by way of an example to others, yet still drunkenness prevails to a frightful degree and no reasonable cause can be assigned was for it but the Canteen adjoining the Hospital'.

Repeated prosecution for ignoring the 9 pm closing time had no effect; finally after a particularly riotous evening, the Resident Magistrate ordered the Canteen to be closed. The Pachters or farmers of the liquor licence, regarded this as an infringement of their rights which had cost them 30,000 rix dollars (£2,250). The Governor, feeling that the colony could not afford to lose this revenue, re-opened the Canteen but with a new canteen-keeper. The bankruptcy of the Pachters in 1828 brought these troubles to an end. The house was then acquired by the harbour masterand sold again a few years later to Henry Rogers who acted as harbour Master. A portion of the house, because of its view of the harbour, was leased to the Government as the Port Office between 1866 and 1878.
After the death of Henry Rogers' widow, her brother, Richard Charles Thomas, bought the house. He was Assistant Keeper of the Roman Rock Lighthouse. Charles Thomas papered the walls with postage stamps and the house has for years also been known as the 'Stamp' house. More recently it has been used as a commercial property. The building was declared a National Monument (now Provincial) in 1982.


This point of interest is part of the tour: Simon's Town Historical Society


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