ABLEWIKI:Old Nederlandsche bank
The west facade of Church square is a very important landmark in Pretoria not only is it part of the oldest buildings in South Africa but were designed by some of the top architects of their time (Oggendblad, 1981).
Current known heritage status
The Old Nederlandsche Bank was declared a National Monument in 1980 (Oggendblad, 1981).
Known interested and affected parties
Provincial Heritage Resources Agency-Gauteng
Tshwane Tourism Centre
Department of Architecture, EBIT, University of Pretoria
On 23 March 1888 the Nederlandsche Bank was started in the Netherlands and they opened a branch in Pretoria. In 1898 there was already four branches in the Republic. In 1896 Willem de Zwaan designed the Old Nederlandsche Bank that is still currently standing. De Zwaan came from the Netherlands, he was 50 years long an architect in Pretoria and died in September 1948 on the age of 82.
On 2 December 1897 the bank opened their doors for business. At the time the bank was finished it was the third bank on the square and before 1900 there was already 7 different banks around the squares. On 9 January 1951 the government bought the property and are still the owners of it. The Nederlandsche Bank en Credietvereeniging occupied the ground floor until 1953 and the first floor was occupied by the Zuid-Afrikaansche Fabriken Voor Ontplofbare Stoffen (South African Explosives Factory). A fire destroyed the top floor of the building in 1914 and was restored in 1988. Around 1975-1977 the South African Association of Arts used the building for their headquarters and temporary exhibition space, this ensured that Church Square came was filled with art lovers (Museum Memo, 1988:18)(De Beer, 1977)(Meiring, 1977:38)(Pretoria News, 1975) The West Facade of church square was declared a National Monument in 1980.(Oggendblad, 1981) The reconstruction meant removing the sandstone, make replica’s and replace it in the exact same place, due to the fact that South Africa did not have a stonemason, Tom Clark from the United Kingdom had to come and do the work (Museum Memo, 1988:19). Clark marked every damaged stone with a number, took a picture and enlarge them and gave it to the workers to work from (Museum Memo, 1988:19). They covered the sandstone on the top with a thin lead layer, not visible from the street, to protect it against weathering.
Nedbank did buisiness in the building until 1953. (Sunset African Tours, s.n.)
In June 1993 a commemorative tablet was erected in the bank with 64 names of Pretorian schools who fought throughout the seventies and eighties to save the West facade of Church Square, this was also the final act to prove that the West Facade (Nederlandsche Bank, Law Chambers and Cafe Riche) is a National Monument. (Rekord-Moot, 1993:3)
The Tshwane Tourism Information Centre started to use the building in 1999/2000 financial year. They are renting the building form the Provincial Government- Public works. (Sithole, 2010) In 2005/06 partitioning was putted in to create a tourism one stop centre. The offices on the first floor is occupied by the local economic development, business library.(Sithole, 2010)
Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces
Flemish Renaissance style. The facade of the building is sandstone and the side walls are red bricks. The joints between the bricks is a tuck joint. The building has crow-stepped gables, which are typical to architecture in Holland. Another big influence was the late 19th century industrial (Allen,1971:56). The cast-iron balustrades and gates were manufactured in Delft in the Netherlands.
Beeld. 1979. Alles draai altyd om Kerkplein. In Beeld on 17 August 1979. Archives. Department of Architecture. University of Pretoria.
Beeld. 1980. Nederlandsche Bank. In Beeld on 11 August 1980. Archives. Department of Architecture. University of Pretoria.
De Beer, D. 1975. Banking will never be the same. Pretoria News of 1 May 1975. City Council Public Library. Pretoria.
De Beer, D. 1977. The beautiful gates which will take some undoing. Pretoria News of 31 March 1977. City Council Public Library. Pretoria.
Meiring, H. 1977. Die Nederlandse Bankgebou, Pretoria. Boukunste van Suid Afrika. Human & Rousseau Uitgewers. Pretoria.
Muntoria. 1931. Kerkplein 10 Oktober 1953. Munitoria Foto Argief. Archives. Department of Architecture. University of Pretoria.
Muntoria. 1953. Kerkplein. Munitoria Foto Argief. Archives. Department of Architecture. University of Pretoria.
Museum Memo. 1988. Sandsteen Rekonstruksie aan die ou Nederlandse Bankgebou. Vol 16 no 1. 03/1988. City Council Public Library. Pretoria.
Oggendblad. 1981. Hoofposkantoor gerestoureer. Oggendblad of Woensdag 28 Januarie 1981. City Council Public Library. Pretoria.
Oggendblad. 1929. Staircase of Nederlandsche Bank. In Oggendblad on 29 May 1929 p 10. Archives. Department of Architecture. University of Pretoria.
Rekord-Moot. 1993. Wesfassade nou vir altyd gered. Rekord-Moot of Vrydag 11 Junie, 1993. City Council Public Library. Pretoria.
Sithole, J. 2010. Tshwane Tourism Information Centre. Interview on 26 August 2010.