2nd British Rule 1806

1806 4th January, The Battle of Blaauwberg. A British fleet, carrying 7,000 troops, dropped anchor between Robben Island and the shore. The fleet was under the command of Sir Home Popham, the troops under General David Baird. The Dutch troops, under General Jansens, numbered 2000. The British troops landed at Losperdsbaai, in Melkbos. The Battle lasted less than a day. Hopelesly outnumbered the Dutch retreated and Jansens surrendered 2 days later. On January 10 the capitulation was signed at Papendorp, now Woodstock. The castle and forts and all property of the government in Cape Town was to be surrendered to the British. The regular troops and the French were to be given up as prisoners of war.

1806 January The Second British occupation starts.

When the last officials of the now defunct Batavian Republic sailed from Cape Town for Holland on March 6, 1806, the British occupation began in real earnest.

Governor du Pre Alexander, 2nd Earl of Caledon

The more serious business of administration began when the first officially appointed governor arrived in the person of the Earl of Caledon, who came with complete power over the colony. He was responsible solely to the Colonial Office in Whitehall. No criticism or advice was called for from any locally appointed councillor committee. Caledon, however, used his despotic power on the whole justly and with wisdom. There were criticisms during his term of office, but nothing like the organized opposition that sprang up in later years against one of his successors, Lord Charles Somerset.

Cape Town had long been dependent for water on wells and fountains. On the initiative of Caledon the engineer John Rennie, designer of the old Waterloo bridge, drew up plans in 1810 for a cast-iron main down Long Street, with service pipes along the side streets that led to the Heerengracht.

Water could be made available in leaden pipes to private houses. To meet the costs, a water rate was levied. Work started in 1811. The source of supply was a reservoir on the lower slopes of the mountain. As taps were placed in the streets at convenient intervals, many declined the expense of having the water brought into their homes.

1807 On the Governor’s recommendation, most of the slaves housed in the Slave lodge are sold.

1810 Important structural alterations to the Slave Loge are carried out. The architect Louis Thibault first designed the front facing the Heerengracht. Construction is carried out by the builder Herman Schutte. The pediment, facing Church Square, with the lion, shield and motto is the work of the sculptor Anton Anreith. It is decided to convert the building into government offices.

Various public services are transferred to it in succession: the Supreme Court, the Master’s Office, the Receiver of Revenue, the Attorney-General, the Post Office, the Government Secretary, the Fiscal, the Bank, the Public Library and others.

1810 The Botanist, William Burchell, arrives at the Cape

Sir John Cradock, Governor of the Cape (1811 – 1814), applies to the Secretary of State for permission to resign. His request is granted, and he sails for England on the 5th of April 1814.

1811 31st January The architect LouisThibault is instructed to design a courtroom in the middle of the Slave Lodge building. For a century it served as a courtroom. The building is renamed as the Old Supreme Court. It is also the cradle of the South African parliamentary system.

1815 A regular mail service is established between England and the Cape.

1814 The Granary/Old Customs Housein Buitenkant Street is completed.

1814 6th April, Lord Charles Somerset the oaths of office are administered to Lieutenant-General Lord Charles Henry Somerset.

1816 The arrival of the Wesleyan missionaries.

1816 The new assistant Surgeon to the forces, Dr James Barry arrives.

1816 The explorer and Geologist, Andrew Geddes Baines arrives. He became known for his road engineering skills.

1817 The first British immigrants to come to South Africa arrive in Table Bay.

1819 Commercial Exchange The foundation stone of a commercial hall facing the parade, at the lower end of the Heerengracht, is laid by Lord Charles Somerset. The silver plate, which was affixed to the foundation stone, has been preserved in the offices of the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce.

1819 The Reverend Dr. John Philip arrives, as the chief resident representative of the London Missionary Society.

Comments are closed.