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Zuurbekom Pump Station, Single Quarters Building
Westonaria district, Gauteng



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26°18'03.02" S 27°48'46.46" E Alt: 1581m

The Single Quarters Building formed an integral component of the Zuurbekom Pump Station precinct. A single storey building it was constructed circa 1914 on a hammer dressed stone plinth, with hard-burnt engineering stock brick walls built in English bond with flush joints, painted externally and plastered internally. The building was provided with a hipped corrugated iron roof, the ridge of which was capped with a single galvanized sheet metal cyclonic ventilator.

The original 1913 design of the building comprised a rectangular plan with four (bed) Rooms on the south side, set out as two pairs of Rooms separated by a central Passage. A small Bathroom / Lavatory and a Pantry occupied the narrow band of space between the Rooms and the Kitchen and substantial Dining Room on the north side of the building. A broad broken-pitch integral veranda was provided on the north and east sides of the building. Access to a fifth (bed) Room on the north west corner of the building. This fifth Room was possibly intended to accommodate visitors and was in the form of a 'stoepkamer' i.e. with access only from the veranda.

At an early date, an additional two more generously scaled Rooms and central Corridor were added to the south side of the building to provide extra accommodation – creating a total of six Rooms. The Dining Room was subsequently enlarged and extended to occupy the veranda space on the northeast corner.

In the 1930's the building was adapted and subdivided to form a Dwelling house (presumably to function as a married quarters) on the north side and a single quarters comprising four Rooms on the south side. A firewall separating the roof space into two zones was presumably constructed as this time. The Dwelling house comprised two small Bedrooms a small Dining room and utilized the existing Kitchen, Pantry and Bathroom / Lavatory. The two Rooms on the north side of the single quarters were converted into a new Lavatory / Bathroom and a new Kitchen. These alterations and additions made to the Single Quarters were generally carried out sympathetically to the original design.

Two separate chimney-stacks penetrated the roof scape – one serving the fireplace in the Dining Room of the Single Quarters (and subsequently the Dwelling house) and the other servicing the original range in the Kitchen.

The windows and doors were provided with interesting purpose-made pre-cast concrete lintels, the width of the external skin of brickwork. The exposed corner of the concrete lintels was in each case elaborated with a quadrant mould with stop ends.

The (bed) Rooms were each provided with a square ceiling aperture, covered with fly-screen, which would in turn have been connected to the cyclonic ventilator via timber ducting.

The original support columns of the veranda protecting the north and east facades were replaced in the past with modern steel pipe veranda posts.

A pair of freestanding semi-detached Earth Closets (EC's) – subsequently converted to Water Closets (WC's) - were sited against the west boundary of the garden.

Originally the bulk of the rooms would have had suspended timber floors with tongue and groove floorboards but concrete surface beds had clearly replaced many of these in the past. The Rooms were originally provided with 'rise-and-fall' ceiling mounted light fittings.

The Single Quarter's Building was no longer being used by Rand Water by 2014. Despite possible options for adaptive re-use, an application was made to PHRA-G for a demolition permit, and the necessary authorisation was granted. The building was demolished in 2015.

The corrugated iron sheets removed during the demolition included the following manufacturer's trademarks: ORB, DOLPHIN and GLOBE. Shipping marks on one of the corrugated iron sheets confirmed that the corrugated iron was shipped to Johannesburg in 1913 (via Delagoa Bay). Certain of the building materials were identified for salvage and storage by Rand Water for other restoration projects.


William A. Martinson, January 2016