Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town

It started off with a small jetty, built by Jan van Riebeeck in 1654 as part of his task to establish a refreshment station at the foot of Africa for the Dutch East India Company. The Cape had become a stopover for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India and the Far East on their quest for exotic goods.
 
 THE ALFRED BASIN
In June 1858 serious winter storms wrecked over 30 vessels. As a consequence, Lloyd's of London refused to cover ships wintering in Table Bay. On a sunny September 17, 1860 Midshipman HRH Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son, tipped the first load of stone to start construction of the breakwater for Cape Town’s first harbour.
In June 1858 serious winter storms wrecked over 30 vessels.
 
THE VICTORIA BASIN
The discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa meant that the first section of harbour, the Alfred Basin, had to be added to and the Victoria Basin was built. The construction of the two harbour basins took place between 1860 and 1920, and the area is notable for its outstanding heritage buildings.
 
THE FORESHORE
Work started in 1938 and was completed in 1945, after being delayed by the Second World War. A 230ha tract of Foreshore land was created in the process for city expansion.
Before 1914 South Africa depended mainly upon overseas countries for most of the manufactured articles in daily use.
 
THE V&A WATERFRONT
In November 1988, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (Pty) Ltd (“V&AW”) was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary by Transnet Ltd to redevelop the historic docklands around Victoria and Alfred Basins as a mixed-use area with a focus on retail, tourism and residential development, with the continued operation of a working harbour.
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Last updated : 19-Apr-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 19-Apr-2017