Stanford Grapevine - Your Stanford Tourism Newsletter
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Celebrating Heritage Month in the heritage village of Stanford
This month (September 2020) was National Heritage month, and lucky for us, Stanford is a village, steeped in history. The charming cottages of Cape Victorian and Edwardian architecture are protected by law, resulting in Stanford’s status as one of South Africa’s best-preserved villages.
Before the arrival of the Dutch colonists the area was inhabited by the Khoe San people who grazed livestock in this area. No information exists about the first person being given the grazing rights to the Kleyne Riviers Valley (note the ‘ij’ changing to ‘y’ in the spelling), but we do know it was given to a Michiel Vlotman in 1758.  The rights then passed to Jeremias Auret.  In 1783 he abandoned the farm and the grazing rights were transferred to Christoffel Brand. In 1738 a farmhouse was built by Johannes Brand. The original farmhouse still stands on Church Street – The Kleine Riviers Valey House, lovingly restored by John and Irene. The farm become very productive under the ownership of Samuel Parlby and later, Captain Robert Stanford. New crops were introduced, a wheat mill was built and crops were shipped to the Breede River and Cape Town. The farm was changed into a village in 1855 when 200 plots were allocated. By 1940 the town had grown to become a very important central place town serving the surrounding area of the Overberg as it had two churches, two schools, a hotel, six shops, a butcher, petrol station, magistrate’s court and police station with holding cells (also on Church Street and still existing).
When Hermanus was still Hermanuspietersfontein and everyone pulled up their noses at this lowly fishermen's village, Stanford was the place to be.  During the 1920s and 1930s it was the economic hub of the area – and with it came the wealth that built many of the lovely old houses that grace Stanford's core area today.  If you needed a tailor, milliner, bank or blacksmith, it was to Stanford you went.  And one weekend every third month the market square was transformed into a social gathering as the farmers from the area came in their ox wagons for ‘nagmaal’ at the NG Church, camping on what we call today, the Village Green. With the closure of the mill and the expansion of the fishing village of Hermanus, Stanford’s importance decreased. The population numbers declined and the number of services decreased, and Stanford became a tranquil riverside village now home to many young families.
Thanks to the Stanford Conservation Trust, Stanford’s architectural heritage and village ambience were protected from the development boom in the 1990s by declaring the original Stanford village a conservation area under the then National Monuments Act (now known as a heritage area under the new Act).  The 1990s saw a change in the fortune of Stanford as more people saw the benefits for living and retiring to small country towns. This was strengthened with the revival of the agricultural sector in the wine industry, craft beer industry and general tourism. The central place function of providing goods and services to the surrounding agricultural community was changed to catering to the retirement market, young families, the full time and weekender permanent residents and the local and international tourists. The Conservation Trust and its protected heritage status has helped Stanford maintain the character of an old town while allowing for new developments and growth.
Information source: ‘Stanford Conservation’, ‘Stanford Stories II’ by SJ du Toit and ‘Portrait of a Village’ by A. Mouton
During September, the Stanford Tourism Office ran a few fun heritage campaigns, one being a writing competition calling for written entries about what design and architecture means to you! We received a few lovely entries and our winner was Lucille Kriegler, aged 70, who won a personal tour of Stanford Village with resident architect Maureen Wolters after she submitted her beautiful handwritten entry below.
We also hosted a treasure hunt for both heritage and tourism attraction spots in and around the village in search of Stanford (hand painted and) branded picture frames for selfie shots. Ruwayda Phillips and Leighton Swartland were the lucky winners of a visit for 4 to Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary right here in Stanford. Congratulations to them. They had so much fun!
When next visiting Stanford, don’t forget to pick up the ‘Historical Stanford on foot’ pamphlet from the Stanford Tourism Office (for only R10) and take a little stroll down memory lane as it guides you through stories of Stanford’s people and places from a time long gone.
To discover more of Stanford’s Secrets, pop into the Tourism Office in Queen Victoria Street, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram

For weekly updates, make sure you sign up for the free What’s On compiled by Stanford Tourism every Thursday right here.
That’s all for now, folks. And remember, if anyone asks where you got your news, tell them you heard it through the Grapevine!

Stanford Tourism and Business
028 341 0340

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Read our e-mag, Stay & Explore, and find out more about our wonderful village. From family-fun to the Conservation Efforts flourishing in and around the village.
For weekly updates, make sure you sign up for the free What’s on compiled by Stanford Tourism every Thursday right here. That’s all for now, folks. And remember, if anyone asks where you got your news, tell them you heard it through the Grapevine!

Stanford Tourism and Business
028 341 0340


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