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House JA Foster: Foster's Folly
Oudtshoorn, Western Cape

Charles BULLOCK: Architect



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33°35'33.62" S 22°12'22.57" E Alt: 330m

Originally 'Rus-in-Urbe'

Mr. J.A. Foster, M.L.A. (1904), local Oudtshoorn attorney, asked Mr BULLOCK to design a double storey manor house in 1902. The building was erected in the Tudor-Bethan style with the lower level of local dressed sandstone and the top storey of burned bricks and the inner walls of mesh - plastered panels by Mellville Brown Jnr. Across the central section and at either end, are double-storied verandahs with cast-iron railings. The gables are false - half timbering. The main features of the front elevation are the flight of stone steps and encaustic tiling upon the floor of the front stoep. The window fan-lights and door panels with the lily motif are of stained glass. In the hallway the 'dado' is of teak panelling. A teak staircase with heavy lion-carved posts leads to the top storey. The ceilings and dados are of geometrical papier mache pressed patterns. The Municipal valuation in 1907 was £10,500.

In 1915 the Teachers' Training College was founded and in July, 1916 the building was hired for £300 per annum from the Standard Bank out of the insolvent estate of Mr Foster. The building was used for this purpose till 1924. Later it was used as a Girls' Hostel for the Commercial School and as school offices. In 1972 the building was evacuated and rapid decay is taking place. The school committee in co-operation with the local Historical Society and members of the Foundation Simon van der Stel have submitted a petition to the authorities for the conservation, restoration and declaration of the building as a National Monument. In 1973 the administrator temporarily placed the building on the declaration list.

(Ferreira 1982:12)

The building has been beautifully restored and is currently (2013) a guest house.

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

Ferreira, Naas. 1982A Sandstone Architect of Oudtshoorn : Charles Bullock 1870-1909. Restorica: Journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation in July, No 11. pp 13-17
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 509
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1977. Victorian Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pg 155, 157 ill