Western Cape Archives & Records
72 Roeland Street, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 466 8100
Email (general correspondence): Archives@pgwc.gov.za
Hours: Monday to Friday 8.00-4.00, except Thursdays 8 am to 7 pm. Closed on public holidays.
Digital photography is NOT permitted.
Users are required to sign the register at the desk in the reception hall which leads to the reading room. Records, both public and non-public, 20 years old or more can be consulted in the reading room. All public records in the Western Cape are transferred to the Archives when twenty years old or older. The repository also collects non-public records with value pertaining to the history of the Western Cape Province and its diverse communities. These public and non-public records are supplemented by collections of maps, photographs, microfilms, books, pamphlets and official publications.
The holdings include the documentary legacies of offices which functioned during the administration of the Dutch East India Company, 1652-1795; the period of the First British Occupation, 1795-1802; the Batavian Republic Period, 1803-1806; the British Colonial Period, 1806-1910 and the Union/Republic Period after 1910. The post-1910 archives are principally those of the Cape Provincial Administration, sub-offices of central government departments in the Cape Province (eg. magistrates’ offices) and offices of local authorities in the Cape Province (eg. municipalities).
Archival groups: Council of Policy, 1651-1795. Court of Justice, 1652-1843. Master of the Supreme Court, Cape Town, 1670-1950. Slave Office, 1789-1845. Colonial Office, 1795-1912. Government House, 1800-1911. Batavian Republic, 1801-1806. Registrar, Supreme Court, Cape Town, 1828-1975. Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1892-1972.
Non-public records include the papers of Sir B D’Urban, 1823-1854 (A519). FS Malan, 1795-1941 (A 583). St George’s Cathedral, 1806-1923 (A1939). Sir Richard Southey, 1834-1899 (A611). Maclear-Mann Papers, 1811-1909 (A 515). Urban Foundation, 1973-1991 (A2562).
The Western Cape Government website page for the Archives is helpful in providing general and up to date information. There are plentiful and well-organised finding aids in an anteroom in the Archives. The only searchable information is that of the National Archives. This has a search facility, but the database is limited, partial and seriously out of date so that even key records are difficult or impossible to find using it. A combination of references in published work, email or telephone contacts with staff and personal visit will be required to establish the relevance of its collections to any particular project.
Last updated: 1 January 2018