Your society is pleased to advise you of another “bonus” excursion which the committee has organized.
We have arranged with Len and Cathy Raymond of the Drakenstein Heritage Foundation to visit Paarl on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th of March.
Len as you may well know is a historian and collector as well as a historical building restoration expert. Len will take us on a guided tour of buildings of historical interest in and around Paarl. We have made arrangements with Picardie Guest Farm for accommodation for 20 persons. The rooms cost R1100 per couple sharing and R600 single this price includes breakfast. However, the bookings need to be confirmed and of course paid for by 27 Feb
Len & Cathy very kindly will arrange a fillet steak braai and salads with a starter & a desert for us on the evening of the 14th at their beautiful home in Paarl. The cost of this will be R150pp & we will supply our own drinks which you should bring with you
1. Those of our members interested in participating in this excursion must please RSVP by Thursday 21 February and deposit R750pp single or R1400 double by Wednesday 27 (being accommodation and Friday evening meal, into Swellendam Heritage Association’s bank account Nedbank Current Account 1118273125 Branch code 19876500 (although most banks have a universal code which appears when making an EFT). Pease include your name as a reference with the deposit.
RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. It is envisaged that we will depart in shared vehicles from Zandrift Restaurant parking area on the morning of 14 march and leave promptly at 6h45 to arrive in Paarl around 09h00. Those who are prepared to use their vehicles please indicate this in your RSVP along with the number of seats available.
3. We will check into the Picardie Guest Farm and then meet Len Raymond for the day’s excursion at the Heemkring building in Paarl Main Road by 09h30
4. Lunch on 14th will be at Back’s Restaurant where a light meal will be served for members own account. The meal will be in the region of R95. Menu to follow.
5. Petrol costs are to be shared among occupants of a vehicle.
6. As previously mentioned we will braai at Len’s and Cathy’s home in the evening and breakfast is included in the B&B tariff above.
7. We will depart for home at approx 15h00. Lunch is still being arranged but you can budget for lunch as in point
Here follow some of buildings you can expect to see during the excursion:
The Paarl valley was first colonised in 1687 when land was allocated to 23 families from Stellenbosch. The district was initially known as Drakenstein, after its church congregation, but when a village was founded at the foot of Paarl Rock in 1690, it was named Paarl. The name in Dutch means “a pearl” and was derived from the fact that the granite rocks which crown the hillside above it glisten after a rainfall like pearls or diamonds.
Paarl is considered a treasure chest of South African architecture and we fortunate to have Len with his extensive knowledge of architecture as our host.
The development of Paarl from its earliest times to today is reflected in the variety of architectural styles contained in its Main Street.
They range from the earliest Cape Dutch through to the elegant English styles, from the ornamental Victorian, to Art Deco giving the street its unique character.
Some of the most interesting buildings are:
Strooidakkerk (Thatched Roof Church)
It was only after 1717, when the church was established here, that the town itself started developing rapidly.
Notwithstanding its great simplicity, the interior of this church is exceptionally dignified.
The churchyard adjacent to an attractive garden encloses the biggest collection of gabled burial vaults in the Western Cape.
Many artisans and merchants settled in between the farms along the 11 km stretch of Main Road – the longest Main Road in the country.
After 1806 the architecture was influenced by the British style of building which favoured larger windows, double storey buildings and slate roofs. Many Cape Dutch homes were converted to express the new fashion.
The latter half of the 19th century heralded major commercial development in Paarl. At the same time the flamboyant Victorian style became popular.
This is typified by the verandas with their intricate cast-iron decorations, corrugated iron roofs and plaster mouldings. Once again, the facades of many houses were changed.
Described as a “Dutch Renaissance Revival” building and built in 1897, it has the intricate detail of an important Victorian building – decorative gables, Welsh slate roof, turrets and balcony.
Zion Church was completed in 1842
191 Main Street
This gabled house dates back to 1790 and has typical yellow-wood ceiling and doors, thatched roof, casement windows and green shutters.
This imposing building was completed in 1928. The clean lines are accentuated by the pediment and bell-tower.
The Oldest Building
As far as is presently known, Bethel in Mill St is the oldest surviving building in Paarl.
Reference to the house dates back to 1710 and the floor plan has not been altered since 1756, although the facade was later altered to attain a Victorian look.
Among the other attractive church buildings in Paarl are the historic Holy Trinity (Anglican) Church in Main Street, the St Petri Lutheran Church in Mill St, the old Zion Church in Zion St, the Jewish Synagogue in Synagogue St, the Muslim Chapel in Breda St and the Toringkerk in Main St
The Old Parsonage (Ou Pastorie)
The Old Parsonage in one of the most significant architectural treasures of Paarl. This building, situated below the impressive Tower Church (Toringkerk) in Main St, was completed in 1786.
This impressive building in Main Street, head quarters of the KWV, was completed in 1958 and stands on one of the first five farms within the present urban area of Paarl, granted to the French Huguenots by Simon Van Der Stel. This building can be viewed from the outside
Scores of other noteworthy houses and farms are to be found in Paarl district. The homestead at Nederburg was built in 1800 and was, until recently altered, the only historical house in the Cape which had survived untouched and undamaged.
In De Jongh’s Lane are three fine examples of Cape-Dutch buildings and Rozenfontein in Main St possibly dates back to the mid-19th century.
Het Gesticht in Main St, Goedeverwachting, Huis Verening, the old WP Bank as well as the Laborie Homestead are among other buildings in Paarl worthy of a visit.
Visitors are welcome but preference will be given to members.
Hoping you will join us on what I am sure will be a fun and very interesting outing.