Over the past few years, images of and superficial articles on the Erasmus Castle frequently appeared in a wide range of publications concerned with the marketing of Pretoria. The main aim of this study is to identify the gaps in the existing representations and to identify fictitious notions and misconceptions that have been made with regard to this charming and mysterious landmark of Pretoria. The history of the Erasmus Castle site has never been formally documented. A thorough search has revealed that published literature on the house and the site is fairly limited. The repetitive citing of the same uncorroborated information confirms a lack of and a desperate need for a more comprehensive and a more accountable history of the Erasmus Castle and the site it is built on. The existing articles merely sketch the broad historical background of the farm and its buildings, thereby confirming the need for a well documented and detailed, scientific study of the history of this site. The researcher’s aim is to provide in this need. Extensive research on the changing appearance of the house and the gardens was done by Dr. E. Labuschagne (cultural historian), H. Meiring (architect), A. Jansen (restorer and builder) when the house was restored during 1987 -1989. The results of this research are incorporated in the dissertation. The way the restorers approached the challenge of converting the restored interior into a functional office environment (for Armscor’s Corporate Communications Division), is also analysed. The restoration process is also significant in the sense that it directed the current researcher to collections of primary sources that were indispensable in the reconstruction of the cultural history of life in the house and on the surrounding farmland. The researcher also made use of NASA (National Archives of South Africa). Oral evidence was gathered and the researcher could fill in omissions in the history of one of Pretoria’s most famous landmarks. The findings are important for future tourists and academics alike. The Erasmus castle was declared a Historical Monument by the Tshwane Buildings- and Heritage Society (preferably done by SAHRA). The Erasmus Castle is an interesting example of Victorian architecture thus making the need for a well documented history of the Erasmus Castle terrain of the utmost importance for future generations.
Dissertation (MA (Cultural History))--University of Pretoria, 2005.