Honour for Old Granary

2018-04-24 06:00

A heritage plaque was unveiled at the granary complex in Buitenkant Street on Thursday.

The plaque was unveiled by cultural affairs and sport MEC, Anroux Marais, along with Heritage Western Cape and the City of Cape Town.

“Together with the expert assistance of Heritage Western Cape and the City of Cape Town’s facilitation, the historical significance of the granary site is now officially acknowledged and will rightfully be promoted in the public domain as a provincial heritage site, Marais says in a statement.

At the unveiling ceremony, Marais said the building can now be highlighted for its historical, aesthetic, architectural, social and economic significance­.

“The provincial heritage site status will communicate clearly and definitively that the heritage community and agencies consider this site to be a major and important heritage asset that warrants serious and focused conservation.”

The old Granary building has been undergoing extensive restoration (“Facelift for Granary building”, People’s Post, 22 August 2016).

The refurbishment of the building commenced in March 2016. Much of the historical restoration work involved the delicate cleaning of ancient plaster and painted surfaces, sometimes exposing old graffiti on the walls – an example being the ship in one of the exhibition rooms on the ground floor. The historic building was replastered using a lime plaster to allow the ancient clay bricks to breathe. Old timber windows and doors were serviced back to working order. Existing timber floors were repaired where necessary and cleaned carefully by hand using a natural product.

In September 2014, the City of Cape Town Council resolved to lease the 204-year-old building to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation.

This foundation will use it as a peace centre, offices, archive and museum. The building was built between 1808 and 1823 and initially served as a house and bakery.

It later became the town granary, then a magistrate’s court, a post office and government offices. It was once even a women’s prison.

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