Krugersdorp Police Station (118 Commissioner St, Krugersdorp, 1739)
The architecture of the Krugersdorp police station can be interpreted as evidence of a growing Boer Nationalism. Due to ideological values associated with the east-west axis, the positioning of the Police Station in the west is a symbol of Boer authority. The western section of Krugersdorp developed after the Jameson Raid as an additional ‘sacred’ region for the Dutch-speaking whites, as an extension of the sacred area around the Paardekraal Monument and the District Township to the west. The police themselves were not only used to suppress crime but also to ensure the preservation of Boer control over an increasingly restless "Uitlander" population.
Current known heritage status
Section 58 (11) of the National Heritage Resource Act, 1999 (Act 55 of 1999) states that all buildings and structures older than 60 years as well as all archaeological, paleontological and meteorite sites should be protected. Under the National Heritage Resources Act (No. 25 of 1999) authorisation must be obtained for any activities that can potentially have an impact on heritage resources.
Possible interested and affected parties
- South African Police Service
- Mogale City Municipality
- The Africa Heritage Society
- The South African Heritage Resources Agency
- The National Heritage Council
Krugersdorp was built on the Witwatersrand at an elevation of 1740 meters above sea level and was a mining centre of importance. It is also the starting-point of a railway line to Zeerust and Mafikeng. Krugersdorp, which was founded in 1887 at the time of the discovery of gold on the Rand, was named after President Kruger (President of the ZAR 1883 - 1902). Krugersdorp started as a violent and ephemeral mining town. It was transformed into a law-abiding “settler town” over the period 1887- 1905. During this time it underwent 5 phases. The mosaic phase was the first. Krugersdorp was a British Mining community. The ruling class at the time was the Dutch-speaking Boer officials. Boers and Britons lived side by side, but did not interact. They tolerated each other but did not embrace one another. Next came the phase of tense social equilibrium, after which Krugersdorp entered into a Boer Republican phase following the Jameson Raid of 1895. It was in this phase that the Krugersdorp Police Station was built as a symbol of Boer authority and out of necessity due to a growing population of unruly citizens.
This phase of ‘tense social harmony’ was once again shattered, this time by the South African War of 1899–1902 that marked the beginning of the Milner Administration of 1902–1905.
Finally, social harmony was again restored in the town between the British and Boer residents, as both populations concentrated increasingly on local rather than national issues while a promising ‘South Africanism’ began to develop in the town. This phase concludes with the onset of the era of the gentler, more conciliatory administration under Selborne that began in 1906 and marked a phase of national reconciliation.
Description of alterations with dates affected
The building is hidden behind a blue palisade fence, with mismatched face brick columns. Space has been provided in front of the building for off-street parking. These elements disrupt the street edge of the building, closing off pedestrian access to the main axis. The building has been included in a larger police precinct, and is currently under renovation for use as office space. A steel spiral staircase has been added, leading to a second-storey loft addition. The timber floors are in the process of being revamped. The eastern façade has an additional staircase with steel railings on either side. Signage has been added crudely to the eastern façade. A gutter system has either been added or just renewed as it looks brand new. The dates of alterations are unclear.
Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces
The building is substantial, 26m in length, and thus successfully projecting Boer Republican power. The plan is courtyard based, with rooms and offices surrounding and accessing the central courtyard. There are two entrances directly into the courtyard. The entire building is raised on a stonework plinth. The street façade is embellished whilst the side and back facades are simple red brick walls.
The building has a pitched roof embellished with an intricate finial. The typical red-brick walls are edged with cut sandstone blocks. There is a sandstone rain cap simply carved above the doorway which is recessed, allowing for a small porch space. The main entrance which leads to the courtyard is accented by a partial arch, constructed from red brick with a sandstone keystone and topped by a sandstone roundel. The arch is flanked by two plaques denoting, in Dutch, the date of completion and the architects' names. The window sills protrude slightly from the rather flat façade. The windows are topped by lintels and seemingly decorative partial arches. The windows themselves are timber single-hung sashes painted white.
Henning, J. 1963. ‘The Evolution, Land Use and Land Use Patterns of Krugersdorp.’ B.A. Honours dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand. Transvaal Public Works department (TPB), TALG 494, Town Engineer's Department, 1938 Blank: Architecture, Apartheid and After, Rotterdam: Nai. 1999 Krugersdorp Town Council. "Krugersdorp 100 jare/years". Krugersdorp: Volks Beperk. 'Die Geskiedenis van Krugersdorp'. Picton-Seymour, D. Victorian Buildings in South Africa, Including Transvaal and Transvaal Republican Styles, Cape Town: A.A Balkema.