Sytze Wopkes WIERDA: Design Architect
John Johnston KIRKNESS: Contractor
HOLM JORDAAN HOLM: Restoration Architects 1991
25°44'49.65" S 28°11'15.92" E
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The Foundation Stone of which was laid in 1889 by President Kruger. All the doors and windows for this building were made in Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, by Samuel Baikie & Company - owned by the father-in-law to John KIRKNESS, contractor to the project, - shipped from there to Durban, railed to Charleston, the rail terminus at that time, and transported by wagon to Pretoria.
A massive and glorious pile of buildings, considered by some to be the most imposing structure in Africa. They were begun in 1889, and completed in 1891, at a cost of £175 000. The carving above the portico, of the Transvaal arms, in white stone, with the national motto, quoted above ("Union makes strength"), is a very fine piece of work; as is also the statue of Liberty , which crowns the edifice. The chambers for the first and second Volksraads are beautiful rooms, and the whole building is a credit to its architects.
Ref: Photographs of South Africa Comprising Representative Views etc, The South African Photo-Publishing Company, Cape Town, 1894: Pg 145.
[Submitted by William MARTINSON, December 2010]
RAADZAAL, PRETORIA. – The chief architectural glory of Pretoria is the Raadzaal, or Government Buildings, which occupies one side of Church Square. This handsome and imposing structure has a frontage 175 feet (53.34m) wide, a depth of 220 feet (67.06m), and a height of 125 feet (38.1m) from the ground to the top of the figure of Liberty, which surmounts the entrance; it contains two Chambers for the Volksraad, the President's and all the Public Offices of the State. The first Volksraad Chamber, in which portraits of President Kruger, Commandant-General Joubert, and General Smit are placed, is a spacious hall 64 feet (19.51m) wide and 42 feet (12.8m) high; and the second chamber is 44 feet (13.41m) by 44 feet. On the ground floors there are fire-proof rooms, where the State archives and land registers are deposited. The buildings are erected from designs by Mr. WIERDA, the Government Architect, at a total cost of £138,000.
[Anon, c. 1899. Picturesque South Africa - An album of Photographic Views. Cape Town: Dennis Edwards & Co. p 176.]
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