Languedoc Housing for Rhodes' Fruit Farms
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In 1897 Cecil John Rhodes bought up large tracts of land in the Dwars River Valley region between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Here he established a deciduous fruit farming business under the company name Rhodes Fruit Farms.
In 1899 the company began building the Lanquedoc agricultural workers village, designed by Sir Herbert Baker. It was formally established in 1902. The village initially consisted of 100 freestanding cottages with garden plots, an Anglican church, a school and a supplies shop. It was one of the first industrial housing estates to be built in the Cape.
The land, including the village, was later jointly owned by the Rhodes Trust, De Beers and Sir Alfred Beit, then by De Beers only, and thereafter by various owners until it was purchased by Anglo American Farms in 1969. Anglo American continued to maintain the fruit business and manage Lanquedoc village, which they extended during this time.
In 2003 Anglo American took a decision to sell its farms in the valley to a property development company. An additional 445 houses were built on land adjacent to Lanquedoc and 3 000 farm workers and their families were resettled here in 2004.
Above information extracted from Chapters 1 and 2, by Tracey Randle and Francois Louw respectively, of Winelands, Wealth and Work - Transformations in the Dwars River Valley, Stellenbosch, Editor C S van der Waal, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2014.
Compiled and submitted by Lila Komnick.
Read Languedoc, the workers’ village built by Cecil Rhodes by Chris Taylor, July 1, 2023 on The Heritage Portal.
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