The history of Oude Werf Hotel
This week the spotlight falls on Oude Werf Hotel from the Western Cape after Kgalagadi Lodge from the Northern Cape shared their history. With this series I allow hotels to share their history which is not readily available to the general public.
Hotel name timeline?
At some point in the 1900s it may have been known as Harmonie or Harmonia, and functioned as a women students’ losieshuis (boarding house). In 1973 when Gert Lubbe bought it, it was again called Arcadia. Lubbe renamed it D’Ouwe Werf, referring back to the churchyard it once was, then in 1979 first forays into the site’s archeology undertaken when foundations of the church are discovered during the construction of a “coffee shop”
In 2007 the Petousis family purchases the hotel and in 2014 renamed Oude Werf Hotel.
In 1973 was the official launch of the D’Ouwe Werf Hotel now named Oude Werf Hotel.
Why was hotel launched?
It was first a house, built sometime after 1783 and by 1805 paying guests could stay there. 1805 is the date of the first reference we know of to it functioning as an inn/boarding house/hotel. Since then has been referred to variously as an inn or a hotel (i.e. for short-stay travellers), and as a boarding house (i.e. for longer but still temporary stays).
Hotel ownership timeline?
- 1687 First church built in Stellenbosch
- 1690s An ancestor of the current owners serves in the church
- 1710 Fire sweeps through the town, burning down the church. The churchyard remains undeveloped for 70 years.
- 1783 Churchyard divided up and sold off. http://www.stellenboschheritage.co.za/wp-content/uploads/Heritage_Study_PistoriusHarris_Stellenbosch_Ou_Kerkhof_Urban_Block.pdf
- J.B. Hoffman buys the site and is credited with building an impressive, high-gabled Cape Dutch house. http://www.sahra.org.za/sahris/sites/920840111
- 1805 The Cape Dutch residence built on the church foundations is operating as an inn. It was known as Arcadia, and owned by Mr Wolfram of Hesse-Cassel, Germany.
- 1860 When Governor Sir George Grey stayed there in 1860 it was still known as Arcadia, but owned by Wium and his wife Tant Betjie, who accepted paying guests. It was also referred to as “Mevrou Wium’s losieshuis” at this time.
- 1973 When Gert Lubbe bought it, it was again called Arcadia. Lubbe renamed it D’Ouwe Werf, referring back to the church yard it once was.
- 2007 Petousis family purchases the hotel.
The aim was to identify significant historical fabric, remove damaging intrusions, restore the buildings carefully in order to preserve their integrity and memory while making space for the inevitable contemporary interventions needed in a busy hotel.
“The original footprint and fabric of the heritage buildings has been repaired and reinstated. This has been achieved using traditional techniques and materials, such as cement-free lime putty plaster externally and locally-sourced bougrond plaster internally. Typical historic building techniques and materials have been revealed and displayed.
“Particular attention has been paid to the most important visible aspect of the complex: the Church Street elevation. Off-the-peg mock sash windows and heavy-handed ‘restored’ plaster detailing has been removed and replaced with new purpose-made windows and simplified plaster detail in order to reflect the proportions and simple elegance that typically prevailed when the façades were first completed.
The ponderous and lumpy front elevation of the 1980s post-modern infill building has been replaced with a drastically simplified linking façade, confirming that modest changes can often be the most radical.” – Peter Puttick, Revel Fox & Partners CC
In 2015 renovation of the property wins architects Revel Fox and Partners wins award from the Cape Institute for Architecture.
Keeping to the Cape Dutch style with a more modern look leading up to the current year of 2016.
Renovations or expansion timeline?
- 1687 first church built in Stellenbosch, 1783 church yard divided up and sold off, http://www.stellenboschheritage.co.za/wp-content/uploads/Heritage_Study_PistoriusHarris_Stellenbosch_Ou_Kerkhof_Urban_Block.pdf. 1805 – The Cape Dutch residence built on the church foundations is operating as an inn.
- 1860 it was now referred to as “Mevrou Wium’s losieshuis” at this time
- 1890s – Façade is “Georgian-ised” (gables removed, walls raised, roofs lowered, doors, windows, balconies and verandahs added)
- 1973 – When Gert Lubbe bought it, it was again called Arcadia. Lubbe renamed it D’Ouwe Werf, referring back to the church yard it once was.
- 1979 – First forays into the site’s archeology undertaken when foundations of the church are discovered during the construction of a “coffee shop”
- 2007 – Was bought by the Petousis family and further renovations done
- End of 2015 last renovations done to rooms, lounge and kitchen
Hotel general manager timeline?
- Since 1972 Oude Werf Hotel only had 4 General Managers (including Nina now)
- 1972 – 1993 Gert Lubbe was the owner and GM
- 1993 – 1999 Gert Lubbe and the Venter family co-owned and co-managed the hotel
- 1999 – 2007 Venter family owned the hotel and Cobus Venter was the GM until 2006
- 2006 – 2016 Elanie Fourie GM (Petousis Family bought the hotel in 2007)
- Aug 2016 – current – Nina Daniels started as the new GM.