Mostert’s Mill, the only restored and working windmill in South Africa, was gutted by the raging flames of the Cape Town mountain fire. Picture: Supplied
Mostert’s Mill, the only restored and working windmill in South Africa, was gutted by the raging flames of the Cape Town mountain fire. Picture: Supplied

Priceless collections lost as fire destroys UCT Library and the only working windmill in the country

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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Cape Town - The Cape Town Heritage Trust said it was devastated when it got word of the fire that has engulfed Table Mountain since Sunday morning.

In a statement released on Monday, the Trust said it learnt that the fire had destroyed a large part of the cultural landscape of the Rhodes Estate, the historic Tea Room next to the Rhodes Memorial, several buildings on the main campus at the University of Cape Town – including the Jagger Library, which had an internationally significant collection of historic archival documents and books – as well as the Fuller Hall residence.

From the Trust, Laura Robinson said their offices were “enveloped in smoke” and the sun was almost “invisible”.

Mostert’s Mill, which was the only restored and working windmill in the country, and the historic Cadboll House, which served as accommodation for students, were also destroyed in the fire.

Mostert’s Mill, which was the only restored and working windmill in the country was also destroyed in the fire. Picture: Supplied

“It is not only the historic buildings themselves that have been lost, but their contents and collections; a memory and resource of immense value to all South Africans and indeed the world.

“We do understand that the university community has been safely evacuated and that no lives have been lost, and for this we are truly thankful.

“It is also understood that an urgent meeting will be held to assess the damage to the Jagger Library collection and we look forward to learning more details on the extent and scale of the damage to the collection,” Robinson said.

She said the Trust was ready to assist and offered an opportunity for people to donate towards the restoration of the gutted buildings.

Donations may be made to the Cape Town Heritage Foundation, an arm of the Trust that holds funding in trust for such situations.

The Foundation is a registered public benefit organisation and has Section 18A status, which allows for the issuing of tax certificates of donation.

For further information, please contact office manager Nicolette Nunes on 021 426 2157 or [email protected]

Mostert’s Mill, which was the only restored and working windmill in the country was also destroyed in the fire. Picture: Brian Pharo/Supplied
Mostert’s Mill, which was the only restored and working windmill in the country was also destroyed in the fire. Picture: Brian Pharo/Supplied

African News Agency (ANA)

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