Old Gaol, corner of Jordaan and Ueckermann Str, Heidelberg

From ABLEWiki
Jump to: navigation, search


GISKEY (Input giskey if applicable)
Condition poor
Date of origin Built in 1888

Previous names ‘Heidelberg Gevangenis Transvaal’

Place C/o. Jordaan and Ueckermann meets

Street 57 Jordaan Street

Town Heidelberg
Magisterial district Heidelberg
Province Gauteng
Country South Africa

GPS coordinates 26°29’47.0”S 28°21’11.2”E
Planning authority name Heidelberg Municipality

Architect/Firm S. Wierda, State Architect

Project architect/Designer S Wierda

Commissioning owner Department of Public Works, ZAR

Current owner Heidelberg City Council

Current occupant Suikerbosrand Moths (Memorable Order of Tin Hats)

Previous uses Hospital, Home for the underprivileged, Jail-until 1963, after that Jail only for Woman

until 1973

Current use Suikerbosrand Moths (Memorable Order of Tin Hats) Shellhole

Classification/Typology Wilhelmiens Jail
Loading map...



The Old Jail is one of the buildings in Heidelberg that was built in the 1800’s which all communicate the origins of this town and how Architecture and culture was in this period. Some of these are the Klipkerk (Church), the concentration camp cemetery, the Transport Museum and the Suikerbosrand Diepkloof Farm. It is also the spot where, on On 23 June 1902, Veldkornet Salmon Van As was executed. More details on this are discussed in ‘Possible interested and affected parties’. It is now being used by the Suikerbosrand Moths as their Shellhole. More information on this can be found on their website: www.moth.org.za.

Current known heritage status

The building is subject to Section 34 of the NHRA (25 of 1999) as the building is older than 60 years.

Possible interested and affected parties

People who have been affected by the loss of their family member or friend (sometimes temporary and other times permanently). The People who have known the people working as doctors in the hospital or taking care of the underprivileged. The People who have known the people treated or taken care of in that period and also the current users who still regularly commemorate the execution of Van as.

Veldkornet Salmon Van As was executed by firing squad against the back wall of the jail (indicated on image in a white frame on the wall) on the grounds of murdering a British Captain Ronlad Miers on 25 September 1901. The British arrested Van As, he was judged unfairly for he could not speak English and could not defend himself. The British Captain approached Van As on his horse holding a white flag, when close enough he took out his rifle. Van As killed Ronlad in the act of self-defence. When executed Van As refused to be blindfolded. After Van As was executed the British admitted the trial was unfair and offered his family a large amount of money to apologise which they rejected with these words: ‘it won’t bring back our dead son’. Today the bullet holes from that execution can still be seen on the wall of the building. The Moths have built a monument of more recently quarried stone commemorating Van As and also the people of uniform who lost their lives fulfilling their duties. There are many stories unknown for bullet marks are found on other spots on the prison walls without any reference of what happened.

The Pretoria Institute for Architecture.

Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria.

Tshwane Building Heritage Association.


The jail was built in 1888 and first served as a hospital and home for the underprivileged. The building was then used as a Jail for both woman and men until 1963. Up to 1973 it was used for only woman because the men were transferred to the new prison built in that same year.

Description of alterations with dates affected

Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces

Sandstone, mortar, timber and steel construction. A simple layout with high windows (lintels often seen at the bottom of window), some covered with a round steel mesh, other closed with both vertical steel bars and diamond steel mesh. Timber doors, sloped corrugated iron roof at front facade with timber facia. The building is fenced off with space around the building providing for parking. 

Landscape: The surrounding area as seen on the aerial photo contains walls of sandstone (possibly from the surrounding landscape) and mortar, used to plant and grow vegetables in for the prisoners (on Western side of building opposite fence) and a pit to retrieve water (located at North-Western corner opposite fence). Foundations of the horse stables and an office space for someone to look after the stables are found in the corner opposite the North-Eastern corner of the building. The stables were built in the Prison but after complaints from the prisoners having difficulty sleeping they were moved to where the foundations are today.


Google/Maps (2012) Heidelberg Gauteng. [online] Available at: http://maps.google.co.za/maps?hl=en&q=how+to+reference+google+maps+harvard+method&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=647&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl [Accessed: 2012/05/22].

M.O.T.H (n.d.) Shellholes. [online] Available at: http://www.moth.org.za/shellholes2.htm [Accessed: 2012/05/22].<o:p></o:p>

Musings of a curious individual (2012) Return to Heidelberg. [online] Available at: http://gravehunter-drw.blogspot.com/2012/05/return-to-heidelberg.html [Accessed: 2012/05/22].<o:p></o:p>

My Destination (2012) Old Heidelberg Jail. [online] Available at: http://www.travel.igotafrica.com/travel/info/en_US/country_id/1/country_name/south+africa/province_id/42/province_name/gauteng/city_id/1368/city_name/sedibeng/suburb_id/2326/suburb_name/heidelberg/parent_id/338/title/historical+buildings.html [Accessed: 2012/05/22].<o:p></o:p>

SA Places (2012) Heidelberg Gauteng. [online] Available at: http://www.places.co.za/html/heidelberg_g.html [Accessed: 2012/05/22].



Interview with Jackie van Rensburg, Paymaster

Interview with Shorty de Beer, Head on Moths at Suikerbosrand.

Interview with J.J Strydom, contact for Suikerbosrand.


Northern facade back
Southern facade front

Stable and office
Vegetable garden ruins

Water pit


Emma Brecher, Henning, Nicholas

Personal tools