Thursday, April 30, 2009

Museumnuus The Prince Albert we love

Lydia Barrella, skakelbeampte by die Fransie Pienaar Museum, is besig om al die ou dokumente en foto’s in die museum se besit, te orden. Daaronder tel Helena Marincowitz se navorsingsdokumente - wat deur haar dogter Lydia ná haar ma se dood aan die museum geskenk is.

En terwyl Lydia so deur die dokumente sif, kom sy af op hierdie pragtige artikel wat sy graag met die inwoners van Prince Albert wil deel. Volgens haar sê dit álles van Helena se nalatenskap aan ons dorp wat sy so lief gehad het.


Prince Albert is a gem – arguably the most beautiful village in South Africa! Many visitors are attracted by its tranquillity and particularly by its old world charm.

Recognised as an architectural treasure house, Prince Albert boasts no less than eighteen gabled houses, many Victorian, “Kaapse”, Karoo and Georgian style homes, and our Neo-Gothic DR Kerk and Anglican Church. These old buildings are true and honest expressions of their various styles and of the times of those who built them – it is in their simplicity that their true beauty lies.

Surely we all agree that Prince Albert’s 19th century character should be retained – otherwise why are we living here? In order to do this, it is vital that new buildings and alterations, or additions to old buildings, should complement their neighbours in form, scale and colour.

Colour is of great importance because it is the first thing one notices – and it can either enhance or destroy the character of our town!

On reading the writings of early visitors to Prince Albert one is struck by their first impressions of the wide, tree-lined streets and white houses. If you are lucky enough to own one of the houses built before 1860 (gabled and “Kaapse” houses) paint it white or ochre, preferably with limewash, which allows the walls to breathe. The woodwork should be painted antique green. These old buildings were usually rough-cast with smooth plaster mouldings framing the windows, doors and gables, giving a lovely contrasting effect. It was unheard of to paint any gable mouldings green, as this spoilt the aesthetics of the building.

Victorian houses should be painted a soft pastel shade: soft dove grey, powder blue, rose pink or pale lemon. The quoining (key-pattern) at the corners and around doors and windows is more effective when pained white. Woodwork may be painted white, golden-brown or slightly darker shade of the colour chosen for walls. In all cases the moving sections of windows should be white.

Karoo-style homes with their flat roofs have a charm of their own and should never be spoilt by harsh colours. Originally these houses were lime-washed but soft pastel shades may be used, all plaster mouldings should be white. Woodwork should be painted in the same colours as Victorian houses.

It is particularly important that designs of new buildings should be in harmony with the existing built environment. Their shape and size should be similar to existing structures and colours should blend in. They should greet their neighbours with a friendly “how-do-you-do!”

Lydia Barrella

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