CapeTownMagazine.com

The Evolution of the Mother City

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

The Evolution of the Mother City

Take a look at what our beautiful city used to look like in the 1800s and early 1900s compared to how it looks now

A lot has happened and the urban and natural environment has changed drastically over the years in Cape Town. We won’t bore you with facts and a historical breakdown about our beloved city’s past. Instead, we’ll show you.

We’ve selected nine vintage photographs, taken in the late 1800s and early 1900s from around Cape Town and the Southern Suburbs, and visited the exact locations from which they were first shot. Most of the areas today would be completely unrecognisable to our great-grandparents, but some buildings still stand – an incredible testament to the engineering methods used by the early pioneers. For example the City Hall, Newlands Train Station and Old Townhouse have remained largely unchanged over the past 100-or-more years.

So spend some time picking out the details of each photograph, and maybe pay a visit to the actual sites in your spare moments. There is a mountain of history just waiting to be discovered in our city.

Bathers at Three Anchor Bay (circa 1905). Notice the clear view of Lion's Head.

Three Anchor Bay as it looks today. Lion’s Head is less prominent because of the high-rise buildings, and the beach has been replaced by a raised promenade. 

 

Table Bay from Signal Hill (circa 1900). Notice the short pier in the centre of the photograph – that is now Adderley Street. The Castle of Good Hope was located on the beach, demonstrating the dramatic shift in the city’s coastline.

The city has actually extended into the sea with the invention of modern building techniques, making Table Bay slightly smaller than it was 115 years ago. 

 

A fire brigade show at the Grand Parade. Mayor Frederick Smith (black suit) attended the demonstration (1909).

The Grand Parade has become smaller over the years. Nowadays it is home to a flea market and the occasional concert. The City Hall remains unchanged.

 

The Old Townhouse in Greenmarket Square (circa 1899). Notice Table Mountain in the background.

The Old Townhouse has not changed much in the last 116 years, but the surrounding landscape certainly has. Table Mountain is no longer visible from Greenmarket Square.

 

Adderley Street with Standard Bank, Cartwright’s Corner and The Groote Kerk (circa 1890). Notice the taxi parking bays in the centre of the street.

The Standard Bank building and The Groote Kerk have not changed much, but the adjacent buildings have. Trees now line the centre of Adderley Street, but the centre-street taxi bays still exist today.

 

Longmarket Street descending from the Lion’s Rump (Signal Hill) (circa 1900). Notice the chimneys on the left, and the horizontal line on Devil’s Peak.

One of the chimneys is still standing, and the brown line on Devil’s Peak is still there. The height of the modern buildings is emphasised when you look at the vintage photo.

 

Rhodes Memorial under construction (1905 – 1908).

This memorial hasn’t changed since its completion in 1912, but it is interesting to note the massive trees behind it, which now block the view of Devil’s Peak.

 

The Newlands train station (circa 1900). Pay attention to the elevated walk-way.

The building hasn’t changed much over the past 115-odd years. The first thing we can see is that the elevated walk-way is gone (replaced by an underground walk-way).  Trains in the 1900s were steam-powered and so the electric cables running above the tracks were not needed.

 

Cattle grazing in “The Pasturage” (now Rondebosch Common) (circa 1900).

The Rondebosch Common has become a lot smaller over the past 115 years, but the remaining piece of land is still undeveloped. The lack of livestock has meant that the shrubs and grass can grow tall now.

With the changes that have taken place over the last century, we can only imagine what Cape Town will look like in 100 years time. One thing is for certain; change is the only constant. 

Feature by Joshua Oates
Old photographs: HiltonT@Flickr
New photographs: Joshua Oates
All images are subject to copyright

---
Check out our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City!

 

Cape Town Events Calendar
March 2019
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31

kaskaziBoost Your Week With A Hump Day Kayak ...

The chance to see ocean and bird life at sunrise and get to work on time

jeanlucs_4Share a Tasting Plate and a Bottle of ...

A hidden gem on Orphan street: Small and intimate bistro-style eatery with extra-special ...

March Overview 2018 - Free Jazz ConcertWATCH (videos) Full Line-Up of Cape ...

From RnB to Jazz to funky pop. See Shekhinah, Craig Lucas and the lead singer of ...

cocosafar_steak1From Rib Eye To Vegetarian – Here Are ...

Gourmet burgers and steak, as well as cocktails, are now on the menu at this all-day cafe ...

jackson_hallWatch New Local Music Talent At Grand ...

Catch B Charles Experience, Chasing Time and DJs performing RnB, pop, jazz, funk, Motown ...

Nom Nom_New1Something New: Invent Your Own Gin at ...

All-new DIY gin bar, double your wine every Wednesday, PLUS: an all-new menu to share

La Paris_Deli2Wednesday Delights at La Paris Deli in ...

A bakery and bistro experience at one of the most beautiful winelands wedding venues, now ...

cartelcafe6Lunch Sorted: A Midweek Buffet At The ...

Fill up your plate and tuck into a tasty lunch spread every Wednesday and Thursday: From ...

two_oceans_aquariumMake Memorable Moments at Cape Town’s ...

Throw a party unlike any other at the Mother City’s underwater wonderland

knife barMai Tais To Margaritas At Discounted ...

Jugs of Jack Black lager included

Comedyclub_new11End Hump Day With a Laugh At The ...

Share the experience at Cape Town Comedy Club in the Waterfront’s Pumphouse every ...

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

High Five SUP 3Stand Up Paddle Surfing Group Lesson ...

Learn to SUP for less thanks to High Five Kitesurf school

Rotterdam_EventGirlsGin2Ultimate Bachelorette Party: The Girls ...

Three days of gin pairings, massages and pool parties on a private guest farm in ...

Galileo_LourenGet Comfy at Kirstenbosch Movie Nights ...

Great films, fabulous scenery, delicious food and cosy seats – look forward to a night ...

HaskellVineyards 6Save On A Meal and Wine For Two At This ...

Haskell Vineyards offers patrons a delicious meal and glass of wine at a discounted price

glam_barBeauty Special: Gelish or Shellac Nails ...

Book via Whatsapp: Workday-perfect nail treatments with free rinse and discounts on all ...

OX boat rides 110% Off: See The Marine Big 5 on an ...

Whales, dolphins, penguins, cape fur seals and mola mola (sunfish), an awesome boat trip ...

theatre and film costume hire25% Off Hollywood-Calibre Costume ...

Wednesdays only: Gorgeous vintage cocktail dresses to realistic historical costumes for ...

Roast and Co Daily: Two Hours of 2-For-1 Specials at ...

Plus: Half-price on all “To Share” plates – see what’s on the menu here

Strolla New 1Half-Price Rotisserie Chicken (And Live ...

Here’s your chance to sip Corona on the Sunset Deck in shorts and slops (while the kids ...

house of hLook Who's Serving a R50 Lunch Special ...

Loved by locals, House of H now does delicious new lunch specials – from boerie rolls ...

Park Inn_RGB_ItalianDinnerSpecial5All-You-Can-Eat Italian Dinner Special ...

Made fresh right in front of you, with your choice of sauces and toppings – this is one ...

Jack Black Burger Winter SpecialGet Two Burgers for the Price of One ...

Grab your growler and bring a friend for burgers and beer at the Diep River taproom

Leopard's Leap Harvest Table 1Savour the Lekker in What's Local at ...

Discover South Africa through its flavours and traditions at a family-table event ...

Cartel House CoffeeSave on Co-Work Desk on Wednesdays And ...

Secure your desk at this excellent co-working space provider in Cape Town on Wednesdays ...

Just Like Papa 1Just Like Papa: The Ultimate Place to ...

Finally, there’s a place in Cape Town where you can get exceptional home, camping, ...

lou lousBottomless Wine With Your Meal on ...

Head to this classy restaurant and tapas bar in the Cape Quarter for a winter wine ...

Le Bonheur 12Get a 20% Discount on Accommodation at ...

Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures offers patrons a 20% discount when they stay at this ...

Beluga Images 22-for-1 Whisky Wednesdays at Beluga

Your midweek escape just got a whole lot better with the 2-for-1 Wednesday special at ...

Stellenbosch Street SoireesStellenbosch Street Soirees

Wine, dine and soak up the summertime vibes with an impromptu food and vino festival in ...

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

art_scienceDirty Art, Messy Science and An ...

Artist Natasja de Wet brings her recycled goods art exhibition to a pathology learning ...

cloud 9 rooftop bar table mountain 2Happy Hour Special at Cloud 9 Rooftop ...

Celebrate the midweek mark with discounted cocktails, 2-for-1 local craft beers and ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.