From the Hout Bay market to Route 44 in Stellenbosch, the Mother City is famed for its much-loved marketplaces. Something many might not know is that the Blue Bird Garage Food and Goods Market in Muizenberg has its origins in the aviation industry.
The Blue Bird Garage Market is situated in one of the continent’s first postal plane hangars. It was here that many of the country’s first aircrafts were once held.
It all began in 1911 when the first airmail occurred in South Africa. Two aircrafts were shipped to the country from Britain in conjunction with the coronation of King George V. South African-born Evelyn (Bok) Driver was one of the pilots. Driver formed the African Aviation Syndicate along with Captain Guy Livingstone and Compton Paterson.
The aircrafts included a Farman-type bi-plane and a Bleriot monoplane, which arrived on Sunrise Beach in Muizenberg. The aircrafts were assembled in Kenilworth. Together, the pilots held a series of demonstration flights on the planes, which the South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) explains brought aviation to public notice in the country.
The aircrafts were also part of a delivery system, as the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs had sanctioned the conveyance of mail by air. The Muizenberg Post Office thus became the first in Africa to receive airmail.
“On 27 December 1911 the first airmail was carried by Bok Driver in his Bleriot monoplane. He travelled between Kenilworth Race Course and Oldham’s field near Muizenberg, a distance of approximately eight miles (almost 13 km.), The flying time was seven and a half minutes,” explains SAPFA.
The plane landed on Oldham’s Field near today’s False Bay Railway Station. It is close to this field that the plane hangar that would later become Blue Bird Garage Market was erected and formed part of the growing aviation industry in South Africa.
In the 1950s, the postal plane hangar was converted into a garage. When it stopped being used as a garage, however, is uncertain.
The Blue Bird Garage Market was founded in 2010 by husband and wife duo Dylan and Kim Speer. In pre-lockdown days, artisans, crafters, foodies and customers alike would gather on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm to 8pm to shop and take in the vibrant atmosphere.
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Market day 🙌😍💛 Happy Friday! Join us from 4pm this afternoon 🤗 Delicious food for all tastes from burgers, pizzas, tacos to thai noodles, dim sum, a vegan harvest table and always sweet choices – grab yourself a brownie cake 🤤 In our beautiful shopping section you'll find an array of stunning jewellery, ceramics, clothing and body products 🧡 Our bars are open with our gin bar open late 🥂🍹 Kids jungle gym for the little ones until 10pm 🎉 Start your weekend with Blue Bird Market 💛💜💚💙 #bluebirdgarage #foodmarket #nightmarket #muizenberg #shoppingmarket #shoplocal #shopethical #localislekker #muizenberg #fridaymarket #capetownmarkets #capemarkets #capetown
We can’t wait for the day we can once again visit this landmark and truly appreciate its history.
Picture: Instagram / Blue Bird Garage Market