Simon's Town Historical Society

Walk Simon's Town Historical Mile

Simon's Town Historical Society

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

Created By: Simon's Town Historical Society

Tour Information

Simon's Town may justly be considered amongst the oldest South African towns and has many old buildings the earliest dating back to the early 1700s. The ealiest buildings were mainly of the Cape Dutch style but after the British Occupation and the establishment of Simon's Town as a Royal Navy base the influence of the early English and later Victorian vernacular took over.
The walk normally starts at Simon's Town Station and ends at the gates to the East Dockyard. Unfortunately many of the interesting buildings are either occupied by the South African Navy or within the confines of restricted areas and are not accessible to the public. Where possible we have provided frontal views of some of these buildings. Walking time can be up to 90 minutes depending on the walker.
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What You'll See on the Tour

The Goods Shed was built at the same time as the Station and was required because at that time most of the goods moving in and out of Simon's Town were conveyed by rail. Goods coming in included cattle for the Municipal Abattoir at Dido Val... Read more
The extension of the railway line from Kalk Bay to Simon's Town (some six miles) was completed in 1890 and the official opening of the line and new station took place on 1 Dec 1890 by Premier Cecil J Rhodes. There has been little change to ... Read more
The original building was built c1785 has a fine frontage which faces the bay and was probably an annexe to the original lodging house which eventually became Admirals House. In 1814 it was acquired by John Osmond, a wealthy property owner ... Read more
In 1823 William Anderson was granted this freehold land by Charles H Somerset, later ceded to his widow Leah Anderson. James Rennick occupied one of these buildings for many years - a small cottage, which later became known as Rennick's Cot... Read more
In 1823 William Anderson was granted freehold by Charles H Somerset . Later ceded and transferred to his widow Leah Anderson. In 1873 George Ryall Budge bought the property and in 1903 sold it to EA Squire who demolished the existing buildi... Read more
The toll gate was situated at a narrow part of the Main Road where the present Jubilee Street joins it. A wooden fence extended across the road from Admiralty House wall to the Toll House which controlled traffic both to Simon's Town and to... Read more
The first ever land grant in Simon's Town was awarded to Antoni Visser in 1743, but the original building on the site dates back to the late 1720s. This building was later enlarged and used as a lodging house. It passed into Royal Navy owne... Read more
The Admiral's garden was originally Mrs Hurter's garden where produce was grown to supply her Lodging House and from which surplus was probably sold to the town's folk and the Navy. After the property was purchased by the Admiralty it conti... Read more
The stream occupying the high-level Klaver Vlei behind the Simon's Berg takes a very sharp bend and descends abruptly via the Waterfall and Bavian's Kloof to emerge through the admiral's gardens to the sea. The lower level portion of the st... Read more
The origin of Studland reveals a compromise between the needs of sailors ashore and the needs of the authorities for a modicum of decorum in a seaport town. Immediately after the occupation of 1795 Admiral Elphinstone had shrewdly noticed a... Read more
A pair of semi-detached dwellings built in the garden of Studland in 1897. The architect was Vixseboxse who was once State Architect, first in the Transvaal Republic and later in the Orange Free State. The building is plastered and. the fro... Read more
Waterfall Road that runs up the side of Yarra-Yarra towards the waterfall is probably the site of what was known as the Ropewalk. A long piece of ground for twisting rope was a rare phenomenon in Simon's Town. Such ropery was highly necessa... Read more
The first correspondence with regard to this building was in October 1901. In 1902 it was decided to build a house which would consist of four bedrooms, one sitting room, one dining room and one kitchen. This was proposed by civil engineers... Read more
The Residency which houses the Simon's Town Museum was originally built in 1777 as a winter residence for the Governor of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape. It was later used as a Customs House, Hospital, Police Station, Post Office ... Read more
The first St Francis Church was completed on the site of the old DEIC granaries between the Residency and Admiralty House in 1837 and consecrated by the Bishop of Tasmania in 1843. It was named St Frances as a mark of respect to the Governo... Read more
These buildings are situated in the West Dockyard and are difficult to see over the wall, only the backs are visible from St George's Street. These three Residences are the site of the Postholder's House that was erected in 1758, and for ma... Read more
At the corner of the Main Road and Arsenal Road - The houses were mirror images of one another originally built as residences for Royal Naval personnel, Ordnance being occupied by the Senior Gunnery NCO and Sunnyside by the Senior Foreman S... Read more
St Francis Mission School, built as St Frances English Church Mission School in 1943 opposite the Mast House in St George's St., by the Church of St Francis on the site of the The Girls' School of Industry. It was a new two-storeyed buildin... Read more
These buildings are situated in the West Dockyard and house the South African Naval Museum and St George's Church; the Museum is open to the public during the advertised opening hours. It was not until 1814 that the building now known as th... Read more
The Aerial Ropeway owes its existence to the fact that the Royal Navy needed to build a new hospital and sanatorium, the old hospitals having been in use since 1810 and 1812. This was to be South Africa’s very first passenger rope way –... Read more
The first recorded history was when a letter was sent from the Admiralty in 1903 stating that there was a requirement for residences for warders. A tender document was sent out for six houses and Mr John Squire won the tender. The plans wer... Read more
Situated in the West Dockyard precinct and only the rear of the buildings can be seen from St George's Street. Work on the original two storey building commenced in 1742 to Baron Von Imhoff's design and in accordance with the Dutch East Ind... Read more
Details of previous buildings on this site are sketchy. The present building was erected in 1902 and it originally had a full balcony across the frontage. It is one of the many buildings designed by Parker & Forsyth, Cape Town architect... Read more
The first grant was to William Hurter in 1798. He built a tavern and sold in 1814 to Wolke, the Toll keeper. Resold in 1829, by this date a lodging house had been built on the site. In 1840 it was purchased by by William Cogill. and operate... Read more
The history of this building is obscure but from studying the structure and old photographs it can be seen that the design is very similar to the building which stands on the same erf (Anthony's Building). The parapet moulding and door and ... Read more
The land was first transferred by Deed of Grant in 1799 and was later subdivided. The present building was erected in 1820. In 1848 the property was sold at a public sale in execution (ref James Bailey) as two lots; Lot l was sold to P.F. H... Read more
The Erf was surveyed in 1799 and in 1845, the land was transferred to one James Bailey. In 1848 the property with certain buildings thereon was transferred to Pieter Francois Hugo and Heinrich Pieter Hablutzel. A condition of the transfer w... Read more
The land was granted in 1798 but first record of a building was 1802 when a dwelling house and store were built on the property. The delay in building was the result of a dispute with the Navy over the stream that ran through the site that ... Read more
The land was first granted in 1796 and for many years it was used as a cattle assembly enclosure (Beestekraal) where animals were kept prior to shipment to St Helena. A small hut on the south-east side of the enclosure was known as the Slau... Read more
This building was erected circa 1814 and has been used for many things including a Customs House and Guard House. In 1890 it was used for making soda water for the Royal Navy. It was also used as a Barber Shop by both the Royal and South Af... Read more
Built as part of Kirsten's complex in 1796. Originally a stable in front with a laundry behind and with a small cellar. The late Prof. Pryce-Lewis suggested that there was also a billiard room! In 1890 the entire structure was converted by ... Read more
Architectural drawings done by Prof O Pryce-Lewis from early pictures and measurements, show this a most elegant and imposing building. As a Lodging House it would have been "in opposition" to Auret's Lodging House alongside! STHS   ...
In 1803 Kirsten sold the warehouse to Westhof who converted it into a residence. Bought by British Govt in 1813 as part of entire Kirsten Complex for Victualling Dept. Became the Naval Club in 1868 and in 1890 the front facade was changed w... Read more
Originally built in 1785 by Jeremias Auret as a lodging house. At various times used as a private dwelling, bonded store, chandlers, warehouse. From 1860 the building housed the Post Office. Bought in 1898 by William Runciman who employed t... Read more
The foundation stone of United Services Institute was laid 27 Oct 1905 by Rear Adm. J Dunford, it s best known as Just Nuisance's first home in Simon's Town. The window on the right hand side with the emblem over the top used to be a doorwa... Read more
The building and its curtilage was originally known as "Tennant's Building" but more commonly as "Ajam's Building". In use in 1798 as a storehouse it was subsequently owned by John Osmond in 1814 and has considerable history and associated ... Read more
Probably one of the smallest architectural commissions ever undertaken by Sir Herbert Baker, better known for the Union Buildings in Pretoria and Groote Schuur. Originally designed in 1901 as Cold Storage depot for Imperial Cold Storage who... Read more
The first (left hand side) gates were manufactured for the British Navy in the  West Dockyard smithery by Charles Henry Algar in 1863. The gates were originally positioned just across the road from the Westhof building and almost faced dir... Read more
Original Erf was owned by Jeremias Auret (1798). Later sold to Widow Rossouw and in 1814 to Gerhardus Hurter & soon after to John Osmond. In 1830 John Clarence established the Clarence Hotel. In 1842 Hugh Green purchased and established... Read more
Belonged to N Sertyn in 1814 and could have been the house used by Golovnin in 1809 for his Observatory and Chronometer setting? Changed hands many times. In 1851 described as 12 rooms and a store. In 1887 was a Naval Club. In 1897 to SA Mi... Read more
1798 Deed to Gideon Rossouw. In 1829 sold to William Cooper and in 1842 to George Huskisson "with house and premises" In 1860 the Central Hotel was built. Sold to Ohlssons Cape Breweries in 1894 additions, alterations with 10 bedrooms, dini... Read more
On 02/07/1886 ST Council met and a sub committee earmarked a site for the new fish market. On 4th July 1925 the new fish market was opened However, the fishing folk slowly disappeared from Simon’s Town and redoubtable characters could no ... Read more
Constructed in 1805/6 probably by John Osmond, as a ‘spec’ on land owned by his mother-in-law widow Rossouw who owned several properties bequeathed to her by her late husband Wylen Giddeon Rossouw. She sold to Stephen Buissine on 13 Nov... Read more
In the year 1806 or thereabouts, this building and the two adjacent were built, probably by John Osmond, as a ‘spec’ on land owned by his mother-in-law widow Rossouw. It was bought in 1807 by Jan Gustav Aspeling, who sold it eight years... Read more
In 1798 the land was transferred from J M Endres to Gideon Rossouw. Sub-divided in 1811 with a portion going to Gerrit Munnik. A building was erected and in 1813 transferred to Jacob Bruce. In 1816 transferred to Louis Hove who went bankrup... Read more
The erven between present Rectory Lane and Union Street was initially purchased by John Osmond from the Widow Rossouw in 1846 who constructed a store building on it. He ceded it to his daughter Agnes Barrow who sold part of it to John Wrigh... Read more
This property initially belonged to H Roselt (1801) later sold to John Osmond and inherited by his daughter Agnes Barrow It was later sold on to John Wright and Alexander Black in 1850. Eventually bought by R J Rayner in 1869, who then buil... Read more
Previously owned by Henry Roselt (1801) sold in 1829 to John Osmond - and inherited by his daughter Agnes Barrow. After several other owners it was bequeathed to Edith Alice Lankester in 1861 and is named Regent House for the first time. Af... Read more
1815 - Built on open land (previous Govt "Shambles" - abattoir) alongside the newly built St George's Church as a Parsonage, the land granted by Colonial Government. In 1816 a School Room was added (First school in Simon's Town) In 1819 a f... Read more
In 1803 stables were erected here. In 1804 the property was transferred to Maude & Robertson and a large "pakhuis" was built. In 1813 sold to Church of England, converted to Church. On 24 April 1814 St George's Church, so named by Sir J... Read more
In 1818 original Deed was to the "Free School" and in 1826 a building was erected as a school which became Simon's Town's first High School. From 1885 the building served as Municipal Offices. Deeded in 1905 to the Simon's Town Municipality... Read more
In 1803, land in the southern portion of St George’s Street, was subdivided off land belonging to H Roselt, and was transferred to Johan Albert Dell. In 1809 it was purchased by William Westhof and in 1814 sold to Christian M Lind, the lo... Read more
The original Market Square dates from the late 1700s. Wagons would outspan here and trade produce. A notice in July 1824 detailed the opening hours of the Market. In the 1900s the square was gradually taken over as a car park. In 1933 the s... Read more
This statue, created by Jean Doyle, was erected in 1985 to commemorate the life of the Great Dane "Just Nuisance", a morale booster for the troops serving in World War 2. He was enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1939. As a member of the armed f... Read more
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was celebrated on 21 June 1897, and two years later an ornate fountain with a paraffin-burning lamp was imported from England and erected in St George’s Street opposite the Mast House. Similar fountains we... Read more
In 1799 John Henry Roselt bought a piece of the estate called Constantia which was first noted in 1749. In 1803, land measuring 88sq roods &72sq ft in the southern portion of St George’s Street, was subdivided off Roselt’s land and ... Read more
The Erf on which this property stands was once part of the estate Constantia. The existing building was erected in 1845 after a store on the site was demolished. It was the original premises of butchers Hablutzel and Hugo. It later became A... Read more
A large land grant, which was named ‘Constantia’, was made c1749 and a grand dwelling named "Constantia House" was constructed on the site. A portion owned by Alexander Tennant was transferred to John Osmond and later the whole area was... Read more
Originally a store (pakhuis) on the Constantia Estate Farm which was bought by John Osmond. Eventually bought by Howell and operated as Howell Grocery Business until 1890's; it became known as "Howell's Building". Howell made alterations in... Read more
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 ban... Read more
The building was constructed in 1940 as the "Soldiers and Sailors Rest Room" using public subscription funds collected by SAWAS (South African Women's Auxiliary Services), for use as a rest room and recreation hall for the hundreds of soldi... Read more
Part of the property originally known as Constantia estate on which in 1786 Arend Munnik built a house on a plan similar to Groot Constantia. Sold in 1799 to Henry Roselt, and again to the Royal Navy in 1813 for conversion into the Naval Ho... Read more
The rear section of this building was constructed between May 1845 and May 1848; it was used as a store and smithy. It believed that Bryant added the front (seaward) section in 1848 and from then on it was used mainly as a store house. Casp... Read more
There is no evidence to substantiate the actual date of this building but it is assumed to be between 1801 & 1810. The owner Alexander Tennant went insolvent in 1806 and it was bought by John Osmond in 1807. During Osmonds ownership the... Read more
Both erven were part of Lot ‘O’ which was registered to the ST Municipality on 29th December 1848 and sold on 13/08/1858. The separate erven have since always been sold together as the villa occupies one erf and the garden the other. Bo... Read more
In 1879 a group of Freemasons in the Naval port of Simon’s Town applied to the Grand Lodge of England for a warrant to establish a Lodge in Simon’s Town. The ‘British’ and ‘Carnavon’ lodges situated in Cape Town sponsored the ap... Read more
The residence was named to commemorate the Anglo-Boer battle of Belmont, which took place on 23 November 1899, 88 kilometres south of Kimberly in which British forces sustained heavy losses. Designed in London, built by Barrabell & Squi... Read more
The site on the Cole Point erf - Ptn. 5 - was originally granted to John Osmond in 1814. Later sold to Charles Kettley and used as "livery stables". On his death in 1854 it was briefly owned by PJ Hugo. The Police Station was built on the s... Read more
The house was built as a rectory in 1899 under the direction of the Dutch Reformed Church. The builder, Mr W Napier, built the double storey house of sandstone in Georgian - Victorian Style, but no longer looks exactly as it did in 1899. Th... Read more
The Dutch Reformed Church community in Simon’s Town had worshipped from 1836 in the Wesleyan Chapel (for 3 years), then the Episcopalian Church (for 17 years). In 1855 the foundation stone of the present Church building was laid by C in C... Read more
The foundation stone was laid by WM Runciman in August 1896 and 116 pupils took occupation at the beginning of the 1897 school year. In 1898 donations from parents came in for the building of a gym and workshop. A gym was added adjacent but... Read more
The original chapel, built in 1850, was subsequently incorporated into the Francis Xavier Mission School building which is now the Parish Centre. This school was started by Dr John Rooney the resident Parish Priest. In 1885 the foundation s... Read more
The East Dockyard Gates mark the end of the Historical Mile. These gates were erected during the construction of the Yard in the 1909 and are of a similar style to the West Dockyard gates. On the right hand side just inside the entrance are... Read more


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