As you know, I have been researching my family tree, which necessitated a road trip to Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Pete grew up in Plett so as is customary, needed to go and check out the surf to see if there were any waves worthy of being surfed and on our drive home I asked, as I often do when I see something unknown “What’s that?”
The “What’s that” is Plett’s Old Timber Shed.
“Johann Jacob Jerling obtained a contract to build a timber shed near what is today the ski-boat launching beach, where the huge boles could be stored until it was possible to ship them out. This “Houtschuur” had to be 200 feet long, 22 feet wide and 13 feet high and all the woodwork had to be of yellowwood.
Johann Jacob owed this considerable betterment of his fortunes to the strong demand for timber for a variety of purposes at the Cape, where it was needed for the construction of wharves, bridges, ox wagons, buildings and other essentials. Today the timber shed, twice partially restored in the past 200 years, is a National Monument and among Plettenberg bay’s oldest historical sites.
The walls were made of huge blocks of stone, fitted together without any cement.
The strong but untrained workers used only a simple block-and-tackle to fit the stones into place. The sturdy walls were then covered with a slightly sloping reed roof to keep the timber dry. Unfortunately one clause in Jerling’s contract specified that the timber work must be of yellowwood, timber that is not durable for any length of time, when exposed to the elements. Within only 16 years it was reported by the next official to come this way that the reed roof had fallen in, and that the yellowwood lintels were collapsing, especially on the south side under the koppie. This meant that the structure had soon become a useless building.” – sourced from Hello Plett
I love old derelict buildings like this with a story to tell.