Historic civic hall to be upgraded

2015-11-24 06:00
Orignially known as the Simon’s Town Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Rest Rooms, the Simon’s Town Civic Hall has been earmarked for an upgrade. PHOTO: Simon’s Town Historical Society

Orignially known as the Simon’s Town Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Rest Rooms, the Simon’s Town Civic Hall has been earmarked for an upgrade. PHOTO: Simon’s Town Historical Society

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The Simon’s Town Civic Hall has been identified for a major upgrade.

Simon’s Town Historical Society chairperson David Erickson says the roof needs replacing, and some electrical system rewiring and upgrading of the kitchen is necessary. “These items are essential and would mean that the caretaker would have proper accommodation. There are also a number of storage and other rooms underneath the hall which need refurbishment,” he says.

Funding has been allocated for the project and the project scope has been completed, says mayoral committee member for community services and special projects Belinda Walker. Document preparation for the tender has commenced and it is anticipated that the project will go out on tender early in the new year.

Repairs and maintenance work will include waterproofing, painting, replacing glazing, servicing windows, replacing gutters/fascia boards, servicing ablutions and fixing loose paving, she says.

The building was erected by public subscription in 1940 to provide a rest room and recreation hall for the hundreds of sailors and soldiers quartered in Simon’s Town during World War 2, Erickson explains.

At that time it was known as the Simon’s Town Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Rest Room. Around 500 men, mostly naval and merchant sailors, were served each day at the canteen by volunteers. The arrival of a large convoy could increase the numbers to 3 500.

“A separate room at the south end of the building was known as the “Warriors Room” and was used by the members of the Order of Tin Hats (MOTHs) as the ‘Snoekie Shellhole’ from 1952 to 1983, when the Shellhole relocated to the Residency, which also houses the Simon’s Town Museum, in Court Road,” he says.

The Portico was added in 1989, when the building was used as the Town Hall. “The building is of heritage significance, especially for its wartime origin and usage. It is also in regular use today for a range of activities, including public meetings, weddings, and an indoor market,” Erickson says.

As the building is over 60 years old, any proposed work will need a formal permit, Erickson says.

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