Shaw Park Methodist Church, Shaw Park, Ndlambe
Sunday, May 27, 2018 - 14:38
Thread Categories: 
Endangered
Thread Location: 
Eastern Cape
Shaw Park
Local Champion: 
Colby Cockcroft
Local Champion Email: 

The Shaw Park Methodist Church is of great cultural and historical value. Church services for the 1820 Settlers of the area were first held in the under trees in the location by Rev. William Shaw in 1821. He was followed by Rev. Purdon Smailes in later years. In 1864 land was donated by brothers Thomas and William Cockcroft for the erection of a church and it was completed within the same year. It served as a schoolhouse for local schoolchildren as well as a place for the community to gather. Located on two sides of the church are graveyards. The earliest grave dates back to 1822 and there are many buried who died during the frontier wars. It is an ancient place and it has occurred that bones have even been dug up in plots marked as unused. Shaw Park Methodist Church has links to the 1820 Settlers, Methodism in South Africa and the establishment of the Albany region.

Why is the site endangered?

The 154 year old building has never received official protection. It was enlarged in the 1920s. By 2010, it ceased to be used as a church, and had all pews and furniture removed. In 2016, the key to the building was given to a local school who have made structural changes to the building without heritage approval which include the removal of interior walls and the original stage. Now used as a schoolbuilding, the windows risk being broken by the ball games played outside. The church is in need of maintenance and protection from any further changes.

Potential Solutions

The building needs to be officially protected to prevent any further structural changes taking place. Money needs to be put together for a good cleanup and upliftment of the building and graveyard. Thereafter a fund must be put together to allow for ongoing maintenance. Another option is to set up a small museum in the building and rope in a local tour guide to attract tourists to the extremely diverse, historical area in order to gain donations. The ultimate goal would be for the building to be reverted back to its original purpose.

Source: Endangered Heritage Site form submitted by Colby Cockcroft - 27 May 2018

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