KLIPKERK (STONE CHURCH) 1880

The second Dutch Reformed church building, which became known popularly as the Klipkerk (Stone Church), in Church Street is still one of Mossel Bay most prominent historic stone buildings. The first photo below shows the building c 1892-1898. The second image shows the building post 1898. The cornerstone of the building was laid in 1878 by the Reverend T J van der Riet (refer to previous post) and it was consecrated in 1880 by his successor, Reverend I G J Horak (separate post to follow) on 14 February 1880. It will be noted that the steeple looks different on the two images. The clock visible in the steeple on the first image was installed in 1892, but the steeple became unsafe because of the weight of the clock. It had to be demolished and rebuilt. The new steeple (second image) was consecrated on 24 September 1898. The original building, together with a new organ and benches, cost ₤7280. Services were held in English as well and the English-speaking members of the congregation contributed handsomely to the cost of the building. The congregation also raised funds through, inter alia, “zitplaatsgelden” (third image), an annual fee for reserved seating in the church. The stone for the building was donated by the Municipality. The architects were W B Hayes and Carl Otto Hager and it was built by the local building contractors Michie and McGregor. The fourth image shows the present church, which was built c 1949. This resulted in the unique situation that there were three churches of the same denomination on the same property simultaneously. –

Sources and Acknowledgements: Ph D thesis: H M Scheffler: “Die Laat-Victoriaanse Mosselbaai 1870-1902 (Stellenbosch University); Eeufees-gedenkboek. NG Gemeente Mosselbaai 1845-1945 – G F Steyn; NG Gemeente, Mosselbaai.

DUTCH REFORMED CHAMBERS (1914)

The Dutch Reformed Chambers building to the right on the first photograph below of the Bland Street and Church Street intersection circa 1950 also became a victim of progress. It was built in 1914 and accommodated, inter alia, the church office and some legal firms. It was demolished in the early 1950’s to make room for the widening of Church and Bland Streets. Parts, including the steeple, of the current church building, of which the cornerstone was laid on March 5, 1949, as well as parts of the second Dutch Reformed Church (1880) (Klipkerk or Stone Church) building can also be seen on the photograph. The Vintcent building (built c 1824, enlarged c 1855-1880) is on the opposite corner to the left. The second photograph shows Black’s Corner across Bland Street from the Chambers. The Black’s building eventually made way for a new bank building. The section of Bland Street where it turned left up the hill just past the current Mossel Bay police station to link up with 6 th Avenue can be seen on the left in the centre of the second photograph. This section, indicated by an arrow, was renamed to Rudie Barnard Street circa 1995. The third photograph shows the intersection as it looks now. The traffic lights and lane to the left occupy part of the old Chambers site. George Road and Bland Street linked up at the present Rudie Barnard Street-turnoff, indicated by a star, until circa 1995 when the section of Bland Street to the west of the intersection also became part of George Road.

GO TO THE OLD CORNER / HOU U BIJ DEN OUDEN HOEK

Divine, Hall & Company (1873 – 1896) (first image, above) on the corner of Bland Street and Church Street, which was initially called the Old Corner or “Den Ouden Hoek.” Because of the renaming of a section of Bland Street west of Church Street in the 1990’s, it is now the corner of George Road and Church Street. Divine, Hall & Company was founded by H J Devine and WA Hall who arrived in Mossel Bay in 1873. Their “fashionable clothing, linen, drapery and haberdashery establishment” opened in July 1873. It was the first store of its kind in Mossel Bay but they traded in other goods as well, as the advertisement below (second image below, 1889) shows. The Mossel Bay shop was taken over by C W Black in 1896 (Divine Hall & Company had branches in Oudtshoorn, George and Ladismith as well). The corner then became known generally as Black’s Corner (third image). C W Black, however, encouraged people in his advertisements to “Go to the Old Corner / Hou U Bij Den Ouden Hoek.” The corner also had a reputation as the most dangerous street corner in Mossel Bay. All traffic in the direction of George had to pass it and a number of fatal accidents occurred over the years when speeding ox wagons and horse-drawn vehicles coming down Church Street could not negotiate the corner and overturned, or crashed into the building. The old building eventually made way for the present building (fourth image)

Source: PhD thesis: H M Scheffler: “Die Laat-Victoriaanse Mosselbaai 1870-1902 (Stellenbosch University).

The photograph above show Church Street. Judged by the model of the car, the first photograph is of Church Street circa 1920. The first building on the left, on the corner of Bland Street and Church Street, is the Vintcent building (c 1824, enlarged c 1855, c 1880). The recognisable buildings on the right are the Dutch Reformed Chambers (1914, demolished c 1949 / topic of last week’s post), the Dutch Reformed Church (1880), the Sir Herbert Baker-designed library (1894, demolished in 1965) on the corner of Marsh and Church Street and the Park Hotel (c 1905 – 1910, demolished c 1968 – 1970) on the opposite corner to the library. The second photograph is the present view of Church Street in the same direction. The brick-coloured building above the church is Montagu Place In Montagu Street. It accommodates the Mossel Bay municipality’s Town Planning Department as well as several businesses.

MOSSEL BAY’S FIRST CHURCH

Mossel Bay’s first church building, the Dutch Reformed Church, was consecrated on 1 June 1845 and built in Bland Street on land awarded to the “Directeuren” in 1842 for the purpose of building a church. This was therefore prior to Mossel Bay’s promulgation as a municipality in 1852. The church was built by master builder Marthinus Willem Theunissen at a cost of ₤800. It has plastered walls, a clay floor, and a thatch roof. The clay floor was replaced with a yellowwood floor after seven years. The female members of the church raised the funds for the new floor. The thatch roof was replaced with a sink roof in 1885. The first image shows the first manse, built in 1849, with the church partially visible to the left of the image. The second image shows part of the church to the right of the image c 1940. The congregation’s new church, consecrated in 1880, and still a well-known Mossel Bay landmark known as the Klipkerk, appears towards the back of the image. After being used as a store room for about five years, the old church building served as a school building for 40 years, initially for the Mossel Bay Girls Public School and then for an Afrikaans medium primary school. New classrooms, including a Kindergarten Room in 1896, were added during the time when it served as the Girls Public School. It could not be ascertained if the extension visible on the image was the Kindergarten Room. The old church became the church hall from 1926 until it was demolished in 1971. The third image shows the building when it still served as the church hall. The fourth image is a of a Mossel Bay landscape with the church indicated by an arrow. It appears to still have the thatch roof when the photo was taken. The fifth image is of Reverend T J van Riet who was pastor of the new “Mossel Baay en Gouritz Rivier” congregation from 1845 to 1857. Sermons were held in Afrikaans and English in the first few decades of the existence of the church.

Sources and Acknowledgements: Ph D thesis: H M Scheffler: “Die Laat-Victoriaanse Mosselbaai 1870-1902 (Stellenbosch University); Dutch Reformed Church, Mossel Bay.
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