The Drostdy Building

This is essentially a Cape Dutch building, except it no longer has the facade gable. drostdyfrontThe original Drostdy was a small T-shaped building with a front gable. Between 1812 and 1825 the Drostdy was extensively renovated and enlarged to almost twice its original size.

The present plan of the building, based on an H-plan, is unusual in that the main entrance was not retained in the centre of the transverse wing, but moved to the middle section between the two wings when the building was enlarged.

The Drostdy now looks as it did in 1844 and has a thatched roof which is merely raised in a gentle curve above the front door to allow the inclusion of a dormer window to light the loft.

The Drostdy was built using clay and unbaked brick in earth mortar. In later additions stone, or a mixture of stone and soft-burnt brick, was used. This produced the thick walls, that were then plastered with clay or lime mortar and was regularly whitewashed.

Nearly all the timber used in the construction of the building is yellow-wood. These trees grew abundantly in the indigenous forests in this district and Knysna. This wood is not a durable wood and it had to be protected with several layers of paint. The customary colour at the Cape and throughout the colonial world was dark green.

An interesting feature of the Drostdy is the painted lime-plaster floor in the parlour, made to imitate tiles or marble. The interior walls were painted with a tinted lime wash.

The wine-cellar was the last major addition made to the Drostdy while it was still an official building and is the only section with decorative plaster-work.

The Drostdy was the most important building in the town for many years.