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Craig's Tower and Battery
Cape Town district, Western Cape

ROYAL ENGINEERS: Architect
G BRIDGES: Architect
Date:c1795
Client:Military
Type:Military structure
Style:British Fortifications
Status:Demolished

Drawn by BRIDGES (LEWCOCK, 1963: 443).

The British takeover of the Cape in August/September 1795 was well planned and professionally executed. Commissioner Sluijsken's preparations presented no obstacle to the invader when a British force landed in Muizenberg. The military government under General Craig quickly proceeded to install the first professional Ordnance Department at the Cape. Its brief was, amongst other duties to survey, repair and erect such works as were needed "to put the defence of the place on a sound footing" (Western Cape Archives).

A major contribution during the first British Occupation of the Cape (1795 to 1803) was the building of Martello Towers in Simon's Town (still extant), on Milnerton beach (Craig's Tower and Battery) and in Hout Bay the Blockhouse at the East Fort. The towers were modelled on the "Martello Tower" concept of Corsica and adapted to conditions at the Cape. It proved economical and fortified an area quickly and efficiently.

(Extracted from South African History Online, submitted by Lila Komnick)

There is also an extant Martello Tower in Fort Beaufort.


Writings about this entry

Lewcock, Ronald. 1963. Early Nineteenth Century Architecture in South Africa : a study of the interaction of two cultures, 1795-1837. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pg 443