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Tulbagh, Western Cape

Louis Michel THIBAULT: Architect 1804
James MORRIS: Restoration Architect 1934
Gabriël Theron (Gawie) FAGAN: Restoration Architect 1973-1974

Date:1804 : 1934 : 1973-1974
Style:Cape Dutch


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33°15'23.41" S 19°08'57.23" E Alt: 195m

The Drostdy has had a very checkered history. Bletterman, former landdrost of Stellenbosch, was granted 2 000 rix-dollars and sent to Tulbagh to commence building the Drostdy. On 13 December 1804 the foundations were set out according to a plan drawn up by Bletterman, and when a landdrost, Hendrik van der Graaf, and heemraad were appointed on 7 January 1805, the work was already well advanced. Completion of the Drostdy was delayed by controversy which arose when van der Graaf arrived with THIBAULT, the Government Inspector of Buildings, and handed Bletterman a new plan drawn up by THIBAULT. Bletterman, assuming that the plans had been approved by the Governor, felt obliged to comply although it meant demolition of part of the half completed building. Costs were increased and only when funds were requested did it become apparent that Governor Janssens was not aware of THIBAULT's design. "I declare that I have been shamefully deceived by the country officials in the way in which I have been informed of the building projects in Tulbach" (Fagan 1975:44). By 1822 the building needed repairs and the cost of these repairs was one of the reasons for the drostdy being moved to Worcester. The building was then bought very cheaply by a young settler, Heatlie, who restored it for little money and used it for his private dwelling. By the turn of the century it was again in disrepair and was bought by Sir Meiring and Lady Beck who restored it, only to have it damaged by fire in 1934. It was restored thereafter by James MORRIS. It was again extensively damaged by the earthquake of 1969. It was then acquired by the National Monuments Council who had it restored in 1973-1974 by GT FAGAN. 2015: It is now a museum with displays of early Cape furniture and household items and with an extensive collection of gramophones.

Writings about this entry

Drostdy Museum. s. a. [1974?]. De Oude Drostdy Tulbagh. Tulbagh: Drostdy Museum. pg All
Fagan, Gawie & Fagan, Gwen. 1975. Church Street in the Land of Waveren. Cape Town: Tulbagh Restoration Committee. pg 43-44
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 369-370
Fransen, Hans. 1978. Guide to the Museums of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Galvin & Sales (Pty) Ltd, for the Southern African Museums Association. pg 102-103
Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 221-222
Hartdegen, Paddy. 1988. Our building heritage : an illustrated history. South Africa: Ryll's Pub. Co. on behalf of the National Development Fund for the Building Industry. pg 47
Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1971. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 4 Dev-For. Cape Town: Nasou. pg 92
Richardson, Deirdré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pg 159