The iconic Rondebosch Fountain has returned to Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs. Construction workers have installed a new replica of the original fountain on the corner of Belmont and Main Road, five years after it was destroyed, and dogs are already lapping from the fresh water.
The restoration of the Rondebosch Fountain was undertaken by Heritage Castings, who have led the effort to reconstruct and resurrect the original fountain that was manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. foundry in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1800s.
The original fountain had incredible detail and featured Victorian castings. This was no easy feat to create, as cast iron is an extremely heavy metal. Back then, only human effort and early aged tools were available.
It arrived in South Africa in 1891, and was donated to the people of Rondebosch by George Pigot Moodie to be used as a watering facility for draught horses. The lamp of the fountain was one of the first electric street lights in the area. The landmark was extremely significant and on April 10, 1964 it was declared a national monument.
The Rondebosch Fountain before it was wrecked in a traffic accident
Unfortunately, the historic Rondebosch landmark was damaged beyond repair when a driver smashed into the fountain in the early hours of August 25, 2015.
In 2017, Heritage Castings began the process of replicating the iconic Rondebosch feature. The foundry patternmaker, Steve Wood, spent 2 000 hours hand making and carving all the different pieces with the individual designs.
The restoration of the Fountain is in cast aluminium rather than cast iron as it is more durable and does not rust. Very little to no maintenance will be needed in the coming years.
Heritage Castings recently shared images showing construction workers prepping the ground to install the fountain. Their hopes were for the fountain to have flowing water for passing dogs to sip on and for the lantern to provide some light in the evenings. The fountain may be one of three of the same/similar design that exist in the country, with another in Cape Town’s Mowbray suburb, and a third in Cradock in the Eastern Cape. It is said that the one in Mowbray is in need of some care and hopefully Heritage Castings will take up the task of restoring it to its original condition.
The new fountain was donated to the City by the Simon van der Stel Foundation and Heritage Castings. The new fountain is as close to the specifications of the original as possible, but different in some small details. It is in its original colours and its details are as crisp as the day the original was bolted together when it arrived at the Cape Town docks from Scotland.
“I am so excited to see this iconic landmark back to its former state. The fountain has great historical value and was cherished by the Rondebosch residents. The replication and accession process took longer than we would have hoped as there were legal requirements that the City had to adhere to,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.
“The restoration of this fountain would not have been possible without the generous donations from Max Teichmann of Heritage Castings and the Simon van der Stel Foundation. The foundation gave a monetary contribution while Max Teichmann donated his time and materials towards this labour of love. The City is indebted to these donors. The fountain is now in its original position for the first time in many years,” said Councillor Badroodien.