Oefeningshuis - Meeting House
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Built by a committee of directors, formed of Swellendam citizens, with Dr William Robertson, the predikant, as their chairman, for the purpose of instructing people and converting them to Christianity. It was finished in 1838. It was, of course, a church, but regulations forbade its being termed thus. Hence the word Oefeningshuis (in which 'godsdienstoefeningen' were held). It is a rectangular building standing alongside the main street, slightly obliquely (for a long time, there was no clear building line in the street). Its thatch roof is contained between holbol end-gables of an interesting design. Their semicircular caps are part of a full circle, the one at the end with an imitation clock face set in the wall; clearly this was a way of showing unlettered people the time of service - when the two hands of the real clock coincided with those of the plaster clock. The clock is in itself a rarity, being one of a small number imported and sold by F Waldek, a Cape silversmith who worked in the 1830s and '40s. Some of the original windows, with semicircular heads, have been removed. The building is currently  a charity shop for the local hospice.
These notes were last edited on 2021 03 10
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