Blue Plaque Programme              Click here for  Schools Project

 

 


A blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place as a historical marker to 
commemorate a link between that location and a famous person, event or activity.  
Blue plaques were erected in England in the nineteenth century to mark the homes and 
workplaces of famous people and this scheme is now run by English Heritage in London.

The blue plaque programme in Cape Town is a project of the Simon van der Stel Foundation and there are currently 19 blue plaques in the Cape Peninsula commemorating famous people and buildings. The plaques are now cast in ceramic to avoid theft and vandalism.

 The list of plaques in the Cape Peninsula is as follows: 

1. Baron van Reede van Oudtshoorn's burial vault designed by Louis-Michel Thibault (off Faure Street near Kloof Street)

2. The first Jewish service in Cape Town was held in the home of Benjamin Norden leading to the founding of the first Hebrew congregation in South Africa (now incorporated into the Mount Nelson Hotel and can be found at the top of the driveway on the left).

3. Site of the first synagogue on a corner of Stal Plein (Old Belvedere Hotel)

4. Site of the home of J.N. von Dessin (whose book collection by his bequest became the first public library in South Africa) can be found at corner of Wale and Queen Victoria Streets.

5. The hospital of the Netherlands East India Company stood on this site 1697-1782. Temple Chambers. Old B.O.E. Building, 4 Wale Street.

6. The site of the hospital and house of the principal surgeon of the Dutch East India Company 1697-1724. The plaque can be found on the Old Colonial Mutual Building, cnr Adderley and Longmarket Streets.

7. Sir Herbert Baker’s last building in South Africa (1933) - the plaque can be seen on the front of the FNB Bank building in Adderley Street.

8 & 9. The plaque on the Woolworths Building at the corner of Adderley and Strand Streets marks the first private trading site in Cape Town. The plaque reads “Thomas Christoffel Muller set up here as a “free baker” in 1664”.  There are 2 plaques on the Woolworths site – one in Adderley Street and one in Strand Street.

10. Site of the Union Chapel and First Congregational Church in South Africa. The blue plaque, a faded circular ceramic composed of five pieces, was made by the famous ceramicist, Martin Zaalberg.

11. Mission House at 9 Church Square was the residence of Dr John Phillip (1821-1846) and later became the Civil Service Club (1866-1976). It burnt down in October 1979 and was subsequently rebuilt and occupied by the Graaf Trust.

12. St Stephens Church in Riebeeck Square was erected in 1800, and was originally known as the African Theatre.

13. The plaque at the site of the wartime SSS Radar Station at Cape Point reads “During World War 2, Special Signals Services designed, erected and operated secret radar stations to protect the all important Cape shipping route”.

14. Arthur Elliot, born in 1870 and died in 1938, was an American photographer who lived in Cape Town and recorded Cape history through his photographs. He lived at 134 Long Street.

15. Colonel Robert Jacob Gordon, last VOC Commander of the garrison at the Castle, lived at Schoonderzigt Manor in Flower Street from 1780-1795. He was an acclaimed geographer, artist and botanist.

16. 18 Kloof Street - the original home of A.J. van Breda. The Rev. Fearon Fallows, her Majesty's first astronomer at the Cape, lived here (1821-1822) where he undertook initial observations from a hut in the garden.

17. A plaque, donated by the Simon van der Stel Foundation was erected in Strawberry Lane, Constantia on Heritage Day, 24 September 2009 to commemorate the forced removal of tenant farmers  who made a unique contribution to Cape Town as strawberry, vegetable and flower growers.

18. Site of the Anglican Chapel and School built in 1860/61 to serve the people of Constantia Valley – demolished in 1953. The plaque can be found on a plinth in Constantia Main Road.

19. Schoonderzigt - dates from the late 18th century and was owned by George Rex 1800-1804 before he moved to Melkhoutkraal, Knysna.

 


Schoonderzigt - George Rex


 V.O.C. Surgeon 1697-1724


Arthur Elliot - Cape history photographer


Rev. Fearon Fallows - astronomer


Sir Herbert Baker


Union Chapel


Thomas Muller, first shop

All enquiries or completed application forms to be directed to:

The Secretary
Simon van der Stel Foundation - Cape Town
Postal Address: PO Box 366
Plumstead 7801
Email : simonvdstel@mweb.co.za
Telephone : 021 794 7464
Facsimile :   021 794 5480