Social History Centre

Museums in or near Cape Town Central, City Bowl in Cape Town, South Africa.

Western Cape Tourist AttractionsSocial History Centre

Where? Spin Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000

Overnight? Stay in Cape Town Central, in Western Cape

You'll find The Social History Resource Centre in the National Mutual Building overlooking Church Square, on Parliament Street and Spin Street, a block down from Adderley Street and St George's Cathedral.

It's a beautiful old building, one of numerous historical buildings on the square. Others include The Groot Kerk (south east of the square), the former Slave Lodge (now the Old Supreme Court) on its southern side, and a 1920 statue of the parliamentarian Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, or Oom Jan as he's more commonly known, directly in front of the Social History Centre.

The statue acknowledges Hofmeyr's involvement in the recognition of Dutch as a language equal to English in the 1910 Constitution.

The Social History Centre today houses a series of social history collections and archives that include indigenous cultural material from southern Africa, artefacts from the Cape's colonial period (including maritime and historical archaeology), collections of world ceramics, furniture, coins and textiles.

It is not, however, a museum visited by the general public but rather an archive and depository open only to scholars and researchers. It is, essentially, a reference library.

This said, Church Square is worth a visit if only to see the building from the outside. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker and Francis Masey in 1905, the government of 1989 bought the house for the collections of what was the South African Cultural History Museum.

By the early 1990s the house had fallen into serious disrepair, and it wasn't until 2006 that the Minister of Arts and Culture provided the funding for a renovation programme. The building you see today is the result of this renovation.

Church Square is one of the city's great public spaces, reclaimed from its former function as a car park.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Cape Town Central

The Protea On Adderley

Self Catering

The Protea On Adderley

The Protea on Addeley is a self catering studio holiday apartment in Cape Town city centre. The studio has easy access to ... more

Tudor Hotel

Hotel / Bed & Breakfast

Tudor Hotel

Tudor Hotel is a 30 room Bed and Breakfast Hotel situated in the heart of Cape Town's majestic city center, next to ... more

Canterbury Square 3

Self Catering

Canterbury Square 3

Located in Zonnebloem, Canterbury Square 3 is a lovely and bright townhouse found within a secure residential complex ... more


Please let us know if anything on this page is outdated or contains inaccuracies. Click here to send us feedback if this is your attraction.

©Unauthorised use of the
photos is strictly prohibited. has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German. © 1999-2018. All Rights Reserved. Find and book hotels and accommodation in South Africa. Sitemap