It may have changed colours over the years but it has stood the test of time at the end of the one of the continents oldest harbours, the V&A Waterfront Clocktower.

The Victorian-Gothic style tower was built in 1882 as part of the original Port Captain’s Office. The pointed windows are typical of the style and the big clock face was imported from Edinburgh to sit as the tower’s main feature. 


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Each floor of the tower was designed to assist the Port Captain in his duties at the harbour. 

The top floor was lined with mirrors so the Port Captain could observe what was going on in the docks surrounding the tower. Ship’s captains were also able to access a reading room.

On the ground floor there is still a tidal gauge mechanism which was used to check the level of the tide for ships entering or leaving Cape Town’s docks.

Found by the bridge, the Clocktower still stands and is the connection between the main shopping centre hub of the Waterfront complex to the Silo district.

Despite some structural issues, including a 50mm lean which has been arrested, the Tower was last restored in 1997.

While having moments in other colours such as green and yellow, the Tower is usually seen in its brilliant red. This colour has been matched to the original paint by using scrapings of the coats laid down in the 1800s.

From the days as the main feature of the old Cape Town Harbour to its current place among an ever expanding tourist and business hub, the Clocktower has stood the test of time as the sentry guarding the Mother City.

Source: Cape Town Heritage

Picture: Wikimedia commons


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