Pump House, corner Prince and Sir George Grey Streets, Oranjezicht.

From the 17th century onwards, water for Cape Town's domestic use was fetched by slaves from public fountains. At the beginning of the 19th century an improved system of water supply was introduced whereby water from the mountain was collected in dams and led from there into a series of wells by means of wooden and iron pipes. On top of the well a pump house would be built and equipped with a swinging pump, also known as a "hurling pump", which was worked manually by slaves. Water then issued from an opening, usually carved as the mouth of a lion. According to local tradition, the pump was introduced by Jan Frederik Hurling, a Swedish colonist who arrived at the Cape in 1743. The pump house in Prince Street, the only remaining example of this system, was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on7 May 1937.

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Last updated : 31-May-2012

This article was produced for South African History Online on 14-Jul-2011