Behind the Castle is an upcoming book by Jim Hislop (author of Wheatfields & Windmills) that looks at the beginnings of District Six, from the early homesteads and streets, to the first residents who lived there.
Most of us think of District Six as a bustling, densely packed city neighbourhood, but it wasn’t always so. Originally the area loosely referred to as ‘Behind the Castle’ in early Cape Almanacs consisted of a few scattered semi-rural estates (such as Zonnebloem, Bloemhof, Werkerslust and Hope Lodge) with large homesteads, vineyards and grazing land, accessed by a few farm roads that were later formalised into District Six thoroughfares, such as Hanover Street.
The early residents were a vibrant mix of freed slaves, artisans, washerwomen, European merchants and wealthy land owners. Behind the Castle looks at this early history of the place that was to become District Six – something that has never been extensively covered in a book – until now.
Lavishly illustrated with old artworks, photographs, maps and drawings (some published for the first time), Behind the Castle is a treasure trove for lovers of old buildings, bygone eras and the forgotten corners and characters of Cape Town.
Contact Jim Hislop for more information about the book on firstname.lastname@example.org or 083 950 9586.
(Cover images courtesy of The Collections of Parliament, Cape Town. Main image: 'Sonne bloem' artist unknown. 30733, Plate 09. Watermark 1824; Malay figures: 19358 (iv)).