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Old Union Tavern, Smith Lane, Simonstown

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Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: The Union was a tavern occupying a plot 80 by 60 feet on Smith Street, bought from the widow Rossouw in 1801. The purchaser, Johannes Bissinger, wasted no time in erecting the building and in taking out licences to keep a billiard table and to sell wine. Billiard in those days was a sport on which large sums were wagered. This, in conjunction with the wine, led to irregularities and disturbances which, in turn, led to the loss of the billiard licence. On wine alone the proprietor went broke because he could not compete with the many wine houses on the main street.
In 1803, the property was bought for 25,000 guilders and converted into a hotel, which was conducted in a seemly manner for eleven years. It was sold in 1814 for 32,000 guilders. The new owner made a quick profit selling it within a year to Louis Bauman and partner for 50,000 guilders.
Bauman’s Hotel was likewise reputable, and was the address of the Reverend Erskin when the parsonage was unsafe to live in. It took five years for Bauman to go bankrupt. At a public sale in 1822, the property fetched only 17,500 guilders and it was bought a year later for 11,600 guilders by Murdoch Morrison. The latter is noteworthy as an owner of that property by not ending in bankruptcy. During his tenure he let it as a private dwelling. In 1833, he advertised “that well known and very substantially built Dwelling House and Premises, called “Union House” with a large piece of ground attached to Same. There are plenty of Stones and Clay and other necessaries, also an abundance of Water on the Sport, to built Three small houses on the same ground with very little expense”.-
In spite of these attractions, the property realised the sum of only £133. The buyer, James Bailey, a shopkeeper of the town, was already in financial difficulties when he bought it. He called in three local craftsman to make a valuation. Their opinion was £400, but much more when repairs were completed. The premises were let at £48 a year, not including a large stable. The valuation proved over optimistic and the property only realised £127 in the sale of Bailey’s insolvent estate. This state of affairs went on until as recently as 1913 when it was subject to a forced sale as part of an insolvent estate.
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Construction Date: 1801
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Catalogue: Simonstown, No: 096, Significance Category:

 
 

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