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Article
British Urban Development at the Cape
The appearance of Cape Town altered markedly during the British period. The merchants deplored the 'rural' character of the town, with its smells and unpaved roads and stray animals. Officials were concerned for the health aspects of the open canals. Thus regeneration projects covered the canals and sewers with paved streets. New markets were opened beyond the city to keep farm stock outside. Stray animals were cleared away.

Meanwhile, modern shops appeared, with display windows. The VOC's trading rules had driven trade 'indoors', out of sight, and this continued as a tradition. But in 1842 the first plate glass shop front was installed, and by the end of the century Cape Town centre had largely replaced its Dutch appearance with large commercial properties, some built using steel frame structures such as Stuttaford's and Garlicks, the first department stores.

Houses took on a markedly English appearance, contrasting a new 'town' style with the 'rural' Dutch. In reaction to dangers of fire-prone thatch, and the 'glare' of whitewash, the British built in red brick with tiled roofs.


Delicate furniture, carpets, drapes and curtains, plastered ceilings, Georgian windows, wallpaper and regency ornamentation stood in sharp and modern contrast to the heavy furniture, beams and plain rooms of the Dutch style.

Along the Peninsula large English Country houses were built among the farmlands. With the introduction of a regular horse drawn bus services these areas became popular and grew into commuter suburbs such as Newlands, Wynberg and Rondebosch, for the professional middle class and civil servants.

On the outskirts of the city, in District 6, long lines of terraced houses were developed for the poor.




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