I’m fascinated by old buildings and decorative architecture. I may not be an architect or a designer but I’ve grown up with a dad that has spent 40 years redeveloping his property in a prime position on the slopes of Table Mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town.
Between my dads passion for photography, design and redesigning their property and my love of all things creative and DIY I have always had an appreciation for architecture and good design.
Cape Town has a mixture of architecture that keeps you guessing but now and then you spot one of Cape Town’s National Monuments and heritage sites, the Muizenberg Train Station.
The beautiful old train station was built in 1912 to 1913 and opened in June 1913 making it 108 years old this month. It’s seen better days. Most of the Edwardian brickwork and sandstone arches have survived the test of time with its wooden clock tower having been restored. But the clock is is still stuck on one time.
The main ground floor of the station is still a fully functional train station open to the public that use the rail line travelling to the city each day.
The platforms have deteriorated exposed to the sea air and the ocean on its doorstep, but the views over surfers corner and Muizenberg beach can’t be beaten. This corner is iconic and the exact spot where folk would catch the train to the beach or to “tea”.
My grandfather and my uncles would go spear fishing off the rocks all along the coast. This little stretch from Muizenberg to St James is called the historic mile and it’s a favourite among locals.
Today our family are still regulars along this coastline and especially at this beach. I learnt to surf in these waters and my kids have learnt to appreciate a good hot chocolate and walk the old mile with me often.
But it’s this building that always continues to catch my eye. It’s solid presence with its rusty hand rails are hard to ignore. I guess some could argue for more to be done to keep it in shining shape but there’s also something beautiful about the salt rusted railings. It’s a reminder that nothing lasts forever, that nature is powerful and that there are some things that we have no control over.
A friend recently started his business from the building next door and he is bringing new life to the block with SUP abs surf board rentals, surf lessons and an epic Surf Shop called Xpression on the Beach. This small move across the railway has brought new life to the subway with boards being tracked back and forth all day.
Our city is working hard in the various City Improvement Districts, but I reckon some smart business people could do the job much quicker than local municipalities if they have the vision to see what is and what could be.
The change in Muizenberg has already been amazing as old buildings have been restored and given a new lease on life. This old gal remains in her place. Standing firm as a reminder of days gone by and the thoroughfare of feet since 1913.
I hope you enjoyed this little exploration of the train station and Muizenberg with me.