The Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society is gathering photographs and back stories on the names of houses and buildings in Muizenberg and surrounds. In my parents’ day almost no-one simply displayed a street number – each house bore a name proudly on its gate (and sometimes had a secondary gate for “Tradesmen”). See how the number is subsidiary in the photo of “Minnesota’s” Carrara plaque below. The postman grew to know the names of each of his/her consignees and never failed in his/her deliveries. The area around Muizenberg has wonderfully kept many of these names even though the street number now prevails.
“Minnesota’s” Carrara plaque (Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society)
We have noticed a number of names disappearing, the removal often associated with a security upgrade, an alteration to the building or a demolition. At the same time as the removal of the name, a beautiful hand-crafted gate gets replaced by steel security fencing. Even over the last decade, many houses have dispensed entirely with their names. We have been photographing the names and gates for posterity and would like to encourage members to do the same. We would welcome photographs of house or flat names and, if there is a history attached to the name, we should like to know of it because we want to prepare a publication as a compendium of the names along with photographs – it is in taking photographs that we have been able also to record the gates on which the names appeared.
The name plates that are the most vulnerable and which have mostly vanished, are those in copper or bronze, which have scrap value and get stolen almost without fail. A very popular material for name displays was Carrara marble. A number of marble-borne names in Melrose Rd, Muizenberg, were lost when the upgrades to the area began on the South side, but remain on the North side – one is “Sea View Villa” depicted in the photographs below. Another road which almost exclusively has Carrara marble name boards is Harris Rd in Kalk Bay overlooking the harbour.
"Sea View Villa"
If there is a risk that a name plate or plaque will be removed or destroyed, please inform the Society and we shall take steps to save it, preserve it or remove it to a place of safety.
Glenn Babb | Chairman | firstname.lastname@example.org