Tafelberg Dutch Reformed Church, Buitenkant Street, Cape Town





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Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: This late Victorian church complex which dates from 1892 was given in trust to the Nieuwe Kerk by Susanna Maria Johanna Hertzog with the stipulation that when a self supporting congregation came into being in the area, it be transferred to them. The inauguration ceremony on 27 January 1893 was conducted by Dr J. J. Kotzé, Dr Andrew Murray and Prof. Marais. Miss Hertzog had the privilege of unlocking the door. Although services were held here regularly, the Tafelberg Congregation was only founded on 25 October 1944, 47 years after the death of Miss Hertzog. Also of interest is the fact that the Rev. J. D. (Koot) Vorster, brother of the former Prime Minister and State President, Advocate John Vorster, was this congregation’s minister from 10 August 1935 until his death on 8 January 1982.
Visual Description: The Church complex divides into three sections the symmetrical fronted Church itself, the Cornelia Home on Cornelia Avenue, and the William Frederick School Building on Commercial Street.
The Church building which has a finely carved corner foundation stone marked AD 1892, is symmetrical twin-bayed in front with central granite steps, wrought iron railings, curved brass handrail and twin teak entrance doors in arched portico. Cellar windows at left hand bay and large pane sash windows o.n ground floor. It has extensive Victorian plaster banding, consoles, moulded sills, cornices and parapet balustrading. Bays rise to prominant attic gables, arched dormers, slated roofs (asbestos cement slate) and upper roofs which is of corrugated iron. Pedimented gables in Buitenkant and on returns, also central entrance gable, all surmounted with ball finials and urns. Main church space beyond with steep asbestos cement slate roof and high clerestorey windows.
The Cornelia Home which faces Cornelia Avenue is a 7-bay domestic-scaled late Victorian double-storeyed building with pitched corrugated iron roof; large pane sashes; turned baluster staircase to upper levels; and a Victorian Gothic chimney. The building has a Gothic plaster monogram and the words “The Cornelia Home” detailed on the front facade.
The William Frederick School building has the name inscribed in plaster as well as a decorative monogram “C.H.S.” and “1893”. It is a single storeyed building (now main committee room) with painted open braced trusses; pitched corrugated iron roof; and a high pedimented gable on Commercial Street with buttresses and granite steps.
All sections of the building complex inter-lead and are also linked to the ad= jacent Hertzog building.
This imposing late Victorian church complex, which was designed by the architect G.A. Alexander and inaugurated on 27 January 1893, was donated by Susanna Maria Johanna Hertzog to the “Nieuwe Kerk” to be held in trust until the community in the area were self supporting. The laying of the cornerstone with the usual Freemasons reverence on 19 February 1892 by J.H. Hofmeyr, Grand= master of the Lodge De Goede Hoop not only complied with the only condition set by Miss Hertzog when making the donation, but makes this a unique occurrence as this must be the only Dutch Reformed Church were the cornerstone was laid by a member of the Freemasons.

These three buildings combined, form a unique late-Victorian complex which is regarded as a landmark in Cape Town in view of its close proximity to the Castle
Proclaimed 1984
Site Features:
Construction Date: 1892
Catalogue: Rennie, Vol 2, No: 130.06, Significance Category:

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Bibliography archive: Martin 19

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