Areas and Places

Iconic V&A Waterfront Clock Tower receives much needed TLC

The Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront has, at last, received its makeover in time to see in 2019.
The Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront has, at last, received its makeover in time to see in 2019.

The gathering call for the V&A Waterfront’s Clock Tower to refurbished has been heard. Building refurbishment company, Indawo has completed the much-needed redecoration of one of Cape Town’s most important historic buildings. 

The Clock Tower was completed in 1883 and it was the original harbour signal station and port captain’s office.  Escaping a narrow demolition in 1975, the site received a makeover in 1976 after which it was declared a national monument in 1978. A further restoration of the Clock Tower was done in the late 1990s.

According to Geoffrey Jäck, Indawo’s managing director, the precinct is a busy one with local and international tourists visiting the V&A Waterfront. The Waterfront is a working harbour too, which adds to the pressure placed on the external structures in and around the area. Redecoration at a tourist attraction also adds to the challenges that face refurbishment companies with safety at the forefront of importance for workers and visitors; scaffolding was the safest means of access to the higher levels of the tower.

The project involved the complete redecoration of the tower and restoring it to its original state,” says Jäck. “including the right colour choice to ensure the original aesthetic appeal is maintained. The lead roof sheeting was also replaced. This is roof sheeting that is specifically cut to size and installed. A bird deterrent was also installed. During redecoration, the production team had to contend with high consumer traffic and winds that often is a challenge for painters in areas with continuous consumer traffic.

The external structure was repainted and the wooden staircase (and balcony) refurbished and restored. The new lead roof sheeting has ensured a good as new structure.

Lead roof sheeting has a long lifespan if well maintained. Its flexible properties also allow for it to be a good sealant resulting in a safe waterproofed product. Also used as a covering for gutters, lead can provide an ideal solution to waterproof a roof. Correct installation is critical to ensure this long lifespan is maintained.

At a time when tourism plays a major role in driving South Africa’s economy, the redecoration of the Clock Tower as an historical landmark will, once again, become a must-see on the travel agendas of many tourists. Maintaining the country’s historical infrastructure is critical to our future economic growth.

Jäck says that maintenance of historical infrastructure is vital to preserving our heritage and driving the economy through our tourist hotspots. Regular maintenance on heritage buildings will preserve their aesthetic appeal for centuries to come.