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Iziko Social History
After two and a half years of extensive
building and renovation work, the National Mutual Building on Church
Square has been transformed into the Iziko Social History Centre.
The building houses the reserve collections and library of the
Social History Collections Department of Iziko Museums of Cape Town.
The building programme, funded by the Department of Public Works,
comprised the demolition of a three-storey building on Plein Street,
and replacement with a new multi-level structure, comprising
state-of-the-art accessible collections, storage areas, and
specialised laboratories, which are all linked to the older,
historic section of the building which faces onto Church Square. The
older part was refurbished, with most original surfaces and fittings
preserved and retained, such as the decorative copper doors facing
onto the Square. Staff of the Social History Collections Department
will relocated to the new building during the latter months of 2008,
with the collections moving in the months thereafter.
Social History Collections Library fills a prime
position in the renovated building, in the old banking hall behind the
central entrance, on the ground floor. In their Heritage Impact
Assessment Report, Stephan Townsend and Ashley Lillie described the
banking hall or main reception space as the most significant feature
of the interior of the old building. The area has an impressive domed
skylight and highly decorative ceiling. It was created by architects
John Perry & WJ Delbridge during the early 1930s, when alterations and
extensions took place to the original, much smaller building, which
was designed by Herbert Baker and Francis Masey early in the 20th
The library at the renovated Iziko Social History Resource Centre
will continue to act as a art collections library, welcoming members of the
public and students to consult its books and magazines on a multitude
of subjects. Added features will be an area for special book
collections and an audio-visual facility.
Tel.: +27 (0)21 461 3375.