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- Wynberg Dutch Reformed Church, Cape Town, 1986
Wynberg Dutch Reformed Church, Cape Town, 1986
Founded in 1829, the historical Wynberg Dutch Reformed Church has been the subject of drastic and unusual restoration measures, carried out by Gordon Verhoef and Krause, the well known Cape Town decorating company. The 700 mm thick walls were pushed aside by the roof structure and to remedy this craftsmen cut grooves 25 mm x 30 mm deep in two sets, 300 mm apart, on the inner and outer walls at eaves level. These grooves accommodated 12 mm thick high tensile steel cables anchored in steel plates at the end of the walls. The cables were then stressed hydraulically, secured and cut off flush with the face of the plates. They were then mortar caulked and faced up so that after re-decoration inside and outside one is unable to detect the building is now collared with steel. The history of the church goes back to the time when members of the Dutch Reformed Church living in Constantia and Simonstown, etc., found the distance to Cape Town becoming irksome. After some discussion as to whether a new church should be built in Mowbray or in Wynberg, Wynberg was chosen and application was made to the Government for a grant of land. In August 1831 the foundation stone was laid by Sir John Truter, father and founder of the congregation. Born in the Cape, he studied law and was for many years in the service of the Dutch East India Company. In 1809 he became fiscal and then, in 1812, Chief Justice. In 1820 he was knighted by King George IV, the first Afrikaner to be honoured. The church was finished in 18 months and dedicated in September 1832, but by 1843 the congregation had grown in size and two new wings were added. This enlarged church was in use until 1889 when the congregation had outgrown it again, and a new church was built on the site of the old one. The new church is substantially the same as the old one except for the spire which replaced an ornate lantern. Inside, the arched roof is supported by four grey granite pillars which were a gift from Cecil John Rhodes when the church was rebuilt. All that is left of the original structure is a little side building with a small bell arch which still summons the congregation to morning and evening services.