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Old Boy's High School, now Olyfkrans College
Swellendam, Western Cape

Date:1825
Client:JW van Dyk
Type:School
Status:Extant
Street:147 Voortrek Street

 


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Coordinates:
34°01'39.75" S 20°26'01.62" E Alt: 121m

This building stands on land granted in 1818 to Jacobus Wessel van Dyk, who was probably one of the many wagon-makers for which Swellendam was almost as noted as the Wagenmakersvallei (the present Wellington). In spite of his youth, Van Dyk must have built the house, for he only sold the property in 1839, and the fine facade, with four full and two half-width sash-windows, flush and with fixed upper halves, must be dated earlier than that. A likely date is c1820. But transitional touches are the internal shutters and the eight-panel front door under a spoke-fanlight-in-rectangle. After Van Dyk the house belonged to several wagon-makers in succession, before in 1870 it was bought for use as a school. The house is H-shaped with one back wing fallen; where it must have been, the ground is levelled out (the house stands on a fair slope), which was never done unless it had to be built on. The missing wing did not contain the kitchen: the original kitchen hearth is in the other wing. Because of the slope, the house rises high above the ground in front; a high, double flight of steps leads up to a narrow stoep, in fact only a part-width 'hordes' because under the house sufficient height exists for a wagon-making shop - still existing with its old doors, and now used as living quarters.

The house formerly had a typical Swellendam dormer gable, but before that it certainly had a front-gable. The four gables are of unique design, and consist of a succession of convex curves, with small scrolls continued onto the gable face. The thatch has been replaced with iron, but the proportions have been retained. Internally, in spite of some alterations and partitions, most of the old doors and ceilings survive. There is a lean-to addition at the back of the left front wing.

The house is prominently situated on the upper side of the main street, a little distance out of the more built-up part of town. It was well restored by Historical Homes of SA in 1966, after plans of the architect D VISSER. It is now once again in use as a school. (Oberholster 1972:109.)

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

Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pg 461 ill
Oberholster, JJ. 1972. The historical monuments of South Africa. Cape Town: Rembrandt Van Rijn Foundation for Culture at the request of the National Monuments Council. pg 109 ill
Richardson, Deidré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pg 155