Photos: Historic Goodnow Hall to reopen soon

Henry

The historic Goodnow Hall in Wellington may soon be back in use after it was almost destroyed in a fire seven years ago.

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (KSUT) has started the restoration of this hall, and intends to complete it this year.

The Goodnow hall opened its doors in 1886 after the existing spaces of dr. Andrew Murray’s Huguenot Seminary could no longer meet the increasing needs. The architect S Eagle designed this Neo-Renaissance building in American style. It was mainly used for teaching and learning, but music performances and singing competitions also took place here.

“A fire in October 2016 caused significant damage to the hall, including the loss of historic structures and rare musical instruments such as a grand piano,” university spokesperson Lauren Kansley told RNews. Even the Goodnow Museum, which housed important artifacts and archives of the area’s educational history, did not escape the disaster. The damage amounted to several million rand.

Kansley says the restoration of the Goodnow Hall was a time-consuming project, where the historical complexity as well as insurance claims played a big role. “Although the Goodnow Hall is located on the KSUT’s land, all building work and restoration had to be approved by the Council for National Monuments, which was a very long negotiation process. Architects have also added new safety measures regarding the risk of fire.”

The cost of the repairs is mainly covered by the insurance.

Kansley says the current restoration planning aims to restore the Goodnow Hall to its former glory, with a view to establishing a museum.

“Where the previous focus was on the history of education, the aim is now to follow an inclusive approach by including information about all KSUT’s faculties in Wellington.”

It includes the faculty of education, the faculty of applied sciences (agriculture), and the faculty of business and management sciences (tourism and business studies).

She says the renovated Goodnow Hall and the proposed museum also promise to play a central role in the community, where the rich heritage of the past is respected and cherished while new chapters of education and culture are created. “We hope to hold an official opening in 2024 where the students, staff and residents of Wellington can celebrate the reopening of this historic building.”