Harbour Road in Hermanus from yesteryear…

K 03 Early HermanusThe old people called it Du Toit Street in earlier times as all the Du Toits were living there. Pioneer Danie and Sannie du Toit and their sons Jan, Danie and Japie were the first to settle there. Some of the grandchildren later also lived in Du Toit Street.

This was in the 1860s and on into the early 1900s—with Japie still living there in 1920. It is uncertain when the street was renamed Harbour Road.

.Today one still finds some of the original buildings of more than a century old—these have been preserved and are still used. The difference is that all the cottages and homes are now used as business premises.

JJ du Toit:  A son and a grandson of Danie and Sannie, Jan and Jannie du Toit started the business JJ du Toit in 1935 on the premises that is now Warrington Place. JJ du Toit was a general store, selling from groceries to washing machines. It was also the main supplier of building material in Hermanus and surrounds for many years. In those days, Hermanus had no industrial area with builders’ suppliers and industrial businesses. Jannie du Toit was a jovial and helpful businessman. He built his home in Dirkie Uys Street. When he and his wife moved to Huis Lettie Theron, their home was sold to the Hermanus animal hospital.

When Jannie du Toit’s son Tertius sadly died at a young age in 1983, the business of JJ du Toit slowly disappeared from the scene. Tertius’ wife Betty continued in a small portion of the shop (today the Surf Shop) with a gift shop, which was also closed after a while.

hemingwaysThe main shop at 4 Harbour Road became Hemmingway’s Bookshop and The Mad Hatter where bric a brac is sold. 

The Surf Shop on that corner was the Ladies Department of the old shop. It also stocked haberdashery and wool. The passage, which now leads into Warrington Place, was used for trucks and delivery vehicles loading building supplies.

The glass department was situated in the far corner where Annie se Kombuis is now, and along the passage at Ally Shoes, Mr Geldenhuys had his office and the timber depot


Warrington Place:  The new owner of the JJ du Toit premises, Nico Marincowitz, developed Warrington Place. He chose the name as the seaside portion of the premises belonged to James Warrington, founder/pioneer of Hermanuspietersfontein. Warrington Place became a thriving little village and was later followed by several others in Hermanus—Astoria Village, Market Village, Oudehof, Eastcliff Village etcetera.

Warrington's Place 2015 Photos below

Warringtons   Warringtons2015

In Warrington’s of 2002, you find Ally Shoes in the same shop where Boutique Ardara traded for a number of years.  Hermanus Printers, Trends Hair Salon, the offices of solicitors Burgers & Van Noordwyk, and Southern Right Financiers all form part of the hub in the arcade. On the Harbour Road corner of Warrington Place is the Surf Shop and in the far corner of the arcade, the popular Annie se Kombuis caters for traditional South African meals. Anita Theron started this delightful restaurant in March 2001. The previous restaurant, Warrington’s was also a place where people loved to meet and enjoy good food.

On the one side of the arcade entrance and next to Grant’s Pharmacy was Whale Rock Hardware until recently. That building was once the home of Boeta de Kock, father of Jessie, Lilly and Hanna. The Book Cottage, in 10 Harbour Road, is an active and popular place to find books. It was once the home of Danie du Toit. His grandson Niel du Toit was born in this cottage when at that time his parents lived with his grandparents. In later years, the cottage became a doctors’ surgery where Drs Lipschitz, Daneel and Cohn, and later Dr Roelofze consulted. Under the same roof as number 10, at nos. 8 and 6, the two art galleries Essence and Gallery 10 respectively offer a fine selection of art works.

Japie du Toit was Jan’s brother. His old home, next to The Book Cottage, has two businesses—Classic CD, trading in a variety of music, and Harbour Gold, a goldsmith and jewellers.

aubergeAuberge Burgundy was a single storeyed house named Watenwyl and was the home of Charles Gonin. Later his daughter Frances Gonin retired to this house. She lived there until she died. She took a keen interest in town affairs and was mayor of Hermanus in 1980–81. After Frances’ death, the property was sold and a prestigious guesthouse, Burgundy Auberge, was built on the site.

Number 22 Harbour Road is known as Harbour House and dates back to the early years of the previous century.

lemm storesLemm’s Corner - On the mountain side of Harbour Road is Lemm’s corner where crafters sell their wares over weekends, and during holidays and festivals. In the old days, a beautiful old Victorian double storeyed building stood on the corner of Main and Harbour Roads. Oblowitz had a shop there and owned the first bioscope in Hermanus on the adjacent plot. Lipschitz was a later shopkeeper and Lemonsky who named his shop Lemm’s Stores, succeeded him. Lemm’s Corner is a reminder of his old shop.

The Fishermen’s Village of the Old Harbour Museum encompasses some of the Harbour Road places. Lemm’s Corner with its old world white wall is a colourful and buzzing place. The Gallery and the Cottage Florist are housed in Johnnie Stemmet’s old bakery. Stemmet also built Stemmet’s Private Hotel, which became The Esplanade. For many years, Sylvia Smith used the gallery where she exhibited and worked in her studio. She has since moved to a new gallery in Hemel–en–Aarde Village. Jessie de Kock started the Cottage Florist, next to the gallery and she continued to be the florist for many years. The Fisherman’s Restaurant was the erstwhile home of fisherman Pieter Groenewald.

Next door to the Fisherman’s Village is the library (where originally Lewies Poppies Swart and his family lived). The library was built after much strife and unhappiness between the municipality and the ratepayers. The late Mr Sloman left the site for a library, but the Ratepayers’ Association did not see the site fit for a library. Now, after less than four decades, there is talk of moving the library to a bigger place.

K 05 Early Hermanus

On the seaside end of Harbour road is another very old cottage built by John Louis (known as Sweed Wessels) in the 1870s. He had a boat building and boat repair business in this old cottage. In the garden, Sweed planted a cypress tree. In 1928, Miss Ethel Rubery bought the cottage and established the Cypress Tree Tea Garden. Many years later, it became The Burgundy. When Tim Hamilton–Russell owned it, The Burgundy was safeguarded by being declared a national monument.


Info:  Esme; Sj du Toit, Village by the Sea and Old Harbour Museum

Photos:  De Wet's Photo Museum

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