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The Development of Cape Town's Waterfront in the Earlier Nineteenth Century: History and Archaeology of the North Wharf

Sharma Saitowitz, Ute Seemann and Martin Hall
Goodwin Series
Vol. 7, Historical Archaeology in the Western Cape (Jun., 1993), pp. 98-103
DOI: 10.2307/3858082
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3858082
Page Count: 6
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Abstract

In 1836, prominent shipowners, merchants and others concerned with the commerce of the Cape Colony and the safety of passengers and crews of ships, petitioned Governments to improve maritime conditions in Table Bay. This action resulted in approval for the construction at the seaward end of Bree Street of the North Wharf, started in 1839 and officially opened in 1842. Until the wharf became operational there were no services offered to ships in the bay and no effective means of taking cables and anchors through the surf to vessels in distress. In winter, gales and heavy seas were perilous; in summer, strong south-east winds delayed the loading and unloading of ships arriving or departing from Cape Town. The North Wharf was extended and repaired many times during its term of service. Archaeological excavation located and exposed the original iron and wooden framework of the jetty and the water pipe used to service the ships, and confirmed archival records of additions and modifications.

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