I wanted to visit Worcester to see the historic centre, and to visit the Karoo Gardens, so we set off early from Tulbagh to drive the 56 kms to Worcester.
J H Fisher, the Landdrost in Tulbagh, and his counterpart in Graaff Reinet, felt their districts were too large to manage and recommended to the Governor of the Cape Colony, Lord Charles Somerset, that new districts be established between the two towns. The Governor agreed and this led to the establishment of both Beaufort West and Worcester. The Governor visited the area via Franschoek to inspect the newly acquired farms of Roodewal and Langerug, the establishment of the town was posted in 1820, and plots were put up for sale.
Worcester was laid out on a grid pattern and the main street was dominated by the Drostdy, built in 1823-25, which today is a school hostel.
The Old Goal was built around the corner in Distillery Road on Langerug, one of the original farms, and was originally damp and insecure – the goal had been fashioned out of the farm’s wine cellar.
Church Street is the street in which the architecturally interesting buildings are mainly situated. 170 Church Street was used by Glennan & Rich to produce apple vinegar, and later became a stables, breeding horses for the Indian army. Today it is an art gallery. No.168 Church Street dates to c.1835 and was owned by Mr Wykeham..!
The large building on the corner of Trappes and Tulbagh Street is an amalgam: the original building, No.3, faces Trappes Street and is dated 1853 on the gable; a section facing Tulbagh Street was developed from the stables (where is the photograph, you ask?); and No. 1 Trappes street was inserted between the two.
No.158 Church Street was one of the first schools in Worcester. No.156 Church Street has a fretwork bargeboard, and broekie lace decoration. No.117 Church Street dates to c.1835.
The Dutch Reformed Church on Church Square dates from 1824, although subsequent changes have been made. The large square was set aside as the outspan area for the congregation.
No. 75 Church Street was built in c.1825 and belonged to the Beck family (just like the house around the corner, The Teacup, see the end of the post). The Congregational Church appears traditional and was founded in 1888, but the current building dates to only 1948. No.74 Church Street has been considerably altered…
No.70 Church Street is a Victorian house c.1908. No. 68 Church Street was built c.1860 and has a Worcester gable with a bow over the tympanum, a form of gabling only found in Worcester. The house belonged to the Assistant Landdrost of Worcester, JF van der Graaff. No.66 Church Street dates to c.1850 and is a double-storied Victorian building with a little balcony. No.56 Church Street dates to c.1860 and has a Worcester-type gable. It belonged to a trader, and later a doctor.
No.54 Church Street is a Victorian house of c.1910. No.33 Church Street is a Victorian house, built c.1886, and might have been used as a blacksmith. Roodewal, No.28 Church Street, dates to c.1830 and has a Worcester gable with a bow over the tympanum. No.33 Church Street is a Victorian house, built c.1886, and might have been used as a blacksmith. Roodewal, No.28 Church Street, dates to c.1830 and has a Worcester gable with a bow over the tympanum.
Exploring historical houses was hot work and we collapsed into The Teacup, No.21 Baring Street, also known as Beck House of 1841, for refreshments.
Suitably refreshed we set off to visit the Karoo Garden – post to appear on The Enthusiastic Gardener.