Peter Spargo

Few visitors driving through Hout Bay on the way to Chapman’s Peak Drive will have failed to notice in the sea below the road a curious concrete and steel jetty - usually the resting place of a number of cormorants drying themselves in the sun! This marks the most immediately visible remnant of one of the Cape’s most remarkable early mining ventures, the Hout Bay manganese mine.


[Published on The Heritage Portal in June 2015] The Spargo's are an ancient and, according to the available historical record anyway, honourable Cornish family. However, they have been more notable for their commitment to the arts of peace than those of war and it therefore came as a surprise to me to discover many years later that as a young man my father had served as a volunteer in No. 2 Company, South African Medical Corps.

We are incredibly excited to publish this superb article on a little known piece of Cape Town and South African Mining History. In the paragraphs below Professor Peter Spargo traces the rise and fall of a gold mining venture on Lion's Head. The article was originally published in the June 2015 edition of the Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa.

Seldom in life does one get an opportunity to take decisive action in what appears to be a major emergency. But let me recount one very small such moment in my own life. When I was a youngster growing up in Johannesburg a notable feature of life in the city was the weekly street collection, run by the City Council in order to assist worthy causes in raising funds.

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