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Martin Melck House (Old Lutheran Parsonage)
Cape Town, Western Cape

Anton ANREITH: Architect

Style:Cape Dutch
Street:96 Strand Street


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33°55'08.93" S 18°25'10.67" E

Proclaimed a National Monument in 1936, devolved to a Cape Provincial Heritage Resource in 1999.

This is one of a unique group of eighteenth century buildings, the others being Lutheran Church and Sexton's House which stand in Strand Street, three blocks up and across the street from Koopmans de Wet House. They owe their attraction to the fact that these buildings were designed as an architectural entity to meet the needs of the Lutheran Church. They are also of outstanding historical importance because they symbolise the long drawn-out struggle of the Lutherans for the right to practise their religion.

Martin Melck House is the only surviving example of an 18th century townhouse complete with a dakkamer, its roof-top windows once looked out to the sea.

The house remained in use as a parsonage until 1891, after which it had a checkered career. For many years it was a boarding house, but today, beautifully restored, its ample rooms display the wares of an interior decorating firm. The old house has been little altered, and within the U-shaped plan is a secluded walled garden, peaceful save for the chiming of the church clock.

Lady Florence Phillips was instrumental in having the building restored.

The building accommodated the Gold of Africa Museum from c2009 – c2016. The collection was moved to the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria in 2019.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

Books that reference Martin Melck House (Old Lutheran Parsonage)

De Bosdari, C. 1953. Cape Dutch Houses and Farms, their architecture and history. Cape Town / Amsterdam: AA Balkema. pg 47, ill no 16, 17
Fairbridge, Dorothea. 1922. Historic houses of South Africa. London: Oxford University Press. pg 22 ill
Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pg 47-48
Greig, Doreen. 1971. A Guide to Architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pg 90
Hartdegen, Paddy. 1988. Our building heritage : an illustrated history. South Africa: Ryll's Pub. Co. on behalf of the National Development Fund for the Building Industry. pg 34
Hatfield, Denis. 1967. Some South African monuments. Cape Town: Purnell. pg 34-36
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 11, 14
Oberholster, JJ. 1972. The historical monuments of South Africa. Cape Town: Rembrandt Van Rijn Foundation for Culture at the request of the National Monuments Council. pg 29
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pg 26
Rennie, John for CPIA. 1978. The Buildings of Central Cape Town 1978. Volume Two : Catalogue. Cape Town: Cape Provincial Institute of Architects. pg 12 item 35.4