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Governor's Kop Tower
Makhanda (Grahamstown) district, Eastern Cape

ROYAL ENGINEERS: Architect

Date:1844
Status:Extant

(Proclaimed: 17-04-1939)

The first attempt made by the British Government in South Africa to form a regular system of telegraphic communication, was that proposed on the Eastern frontier in 1837 by the present (1859) Major-General Griffith George Lewis and partly carried out during the Governorship of Sir George Napier and Sir Peregrine Maitland until the war of the Axe of 1846-1847, which also brought about their end.

Lewis' idea was to take Grahamstown as the central point and then to establish two lines of semaphores - one, northwards to Fort Beaufort (and from there to the Tarka Post, but never begun) and the other eastward to Fort Peddie, with an auxiliary line to Bathurst. Governor's Kop, fifteen kilometres east of Grahamstown, on the present farm Governor's Kop, as the most prominent and loftiest eminence, visible from all directions, was to be the key position in the arrangement and within easy reach of the headquarter tower at Fort Selwyn. In Hall's estimation there could not have been a better choice for a commanding key position than Governor's Kop, because of its characteristic, extensive and visual portrayal of the Eastern frontier, around headquarters. This was also the reason why Andries Stockenstrom, to acquaint John Graham with the Grahamstown surrounding country, took him to Governor's Kop from where the Eastern Frontier, so to speak, geographically and militarily unfolded before their eyes, a panoramic view that could give him a better geographic idea of where to plan the military posts - an aerial view, so to speak (but not quite), of Grahamstown and environs.

The Signal Tower was listed by the Commission for the Preservation of Natural and Historical Monuments, Relics and Antiques, as Monument No 40.

2012 - Apparently this building has been converted into a house. (William MARTINSON)

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.


Writings about this entry

Coetzee, Colin. 1995. Forts of the Eastern Cape : Securing a frontier 1799 - 1878. Grahamstown: Colin G Coetzee. pg 361