Prestwitch Memorial

  • heritage_prestwitch

Place Category: Cape Town City Heritage Walk

  • Profile

    Prestwich Place has long been a subject of class and racial conflict in the Western Cape. During the early colonial period the area was used as a burial ground that included Dutch Reformed Church burials and a large number of unmarked graves of the free slaves, blacks, washer women etc.

    Construction in 2003 along nearby Prestwich St unearthed many skeletons – the unmarked graves of slaves and others executed by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries on what was then known as Gallows Hill.

    The bones were exhumed and this memorial building, with an attractive facade of Robben Island slate, was created. It includes an ossuary and excellent interpretive displays, including a replica of the remarkable 360-degree panorama of Table Bay painted by Robert Gordon in 1778).

    According to the brochure at the Prestwich Memorial, the centre is designed as a multi-purpose public facility that should become part of the lives of the local community. This place is envisaged to encourage individuals to interpret and express the voices of past communities to present and future communities.

    Visitors may enter the ossuary to pay their respects to the human remains that are still packed in boxes, similar to the ones that are used to store skeletal collections within research institutions.

    A coffee shop is up and running, under the management of Truth, one of the most exclusive coffee brands.

     

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