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National Library of South Africa, Cape Town Campus
Cape Town, Western Cape

William Henry KÖHLER: Architect

Date:1857 - 1864
Type:Library
Style:Neo-Classical
Status:Extant
Street:Queen Victoria St - Government Ave

 


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Coordinates:
33°55'31.51" S 18°25'07.43" E Alt: 27m

Although the building was officially opened in September 1860 by Prince Alfred it was only completed in 1864.

Originally called the South African Library and Museum, it was known as such until the South African Museum was opened in 1897. The museum section of the library then became a reading room. The library was subsequently known as the Cape Town Public Library, the South African Library, and since 1999 as the National Library of South Africa, Cape Town Campus.

Transcript of the Commemorative granite plaque:

SUID-AFRIKAANSE BIBLIOTEEK

HIERDIE NEO-KLASSIEKE GEBOU IS DEUR W.H. KOHLER ONTWERP GEBASEER OP
DIE FITZWILLIAM-MUSEUM IN CAMBRIDGE, ENGELAND. DIE HOEKSTEEN IS IN 1858
DEUR SIR GEORGE GREY GELÊ EN DIE GEBOU OP 16 SEPTEMBER 1860 DEUR PRINS
ALFRED GEOPEN. DIE BIBLIOTEEK WAS AANVANKLIK IN DIE OOSVLEUEL EN DIE
MUSEUM IN DIE WESVLEUEL GEHUISVES.

Raad vir Nationale [sic read Nasionale] Gedenkwaardighede

SOUTH AFRICAN LIBRARY

THIS NEO-CLASSICAL BUILDING, BASED ON THE FITZWILLIAM-MUSEUM IN
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND, WAS DESIGNED BY W.H. KOHLER. THE FOUNDATION STONE
WAS LAID BY SIR GEORGE GREY IN 1858 AND THE BUILDING WAS OPENED BY
PRINCE ALBERT [sic read ALFRED] ON 16 SEPTEMBER 1860. IT ORIGINALLY HOUSED THE LIBRARY IN
THE EAST WING AND THE MUSEUM WAS IN THE WEST WING.

National Monuments Council

1979

(SAQLB vol xii, 1957-8:117)

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.


Writings about this entry

Duncan, Paul & Proust, Alain. 2013. Hidden Cape Town. Cape Town: Random House Struik. pg 50-55
Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 94-96
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pg 40 ill, 41
Radford, D. 1979. The architecture of the Western Cape, 1838 1901. A study of the impact of Victorian aesthetics and technology on South African architecture. Johannesburg: Unpublished Ph.D thesis. Dept of Arch. University of the Witwatersrand. pg 122, 227-8
Rennie, John for CPIA. 1978. The Buildings of Central Cape Town 1978. Volume Two : Catalogue. Cape Town: Cape Provincial Institute of Architects. pg 269 item 77.6
Richardson, Deidré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pg 76
Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pg 16, 17 (ills.)