Lanquedoc Estate, Franschhoek

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Lanquedoc was conceived as a planned village for farm workers. Following the phylloxera
outbreak, Rhodes Fruit Farms bought up farmland in the Dwars River Valley in order to plant fruit
orchards. In 1898 Rhodes, aware of the need to attract and retain labour in the face of
immense demand from the gold and diamond mining industries, commissioned architect Sir
Herbert Baker to design an orderly village for the farm workers. In addition to the English-style
St. Giles Church, established at the head of the settlement, the cottages, a school and a house
for the pastor were built. Each cottage included half a morgen of garden for growing flowers,
vegetables and keeping some livestock. A hundred morgen of commonage was also
provided for grazing of the livestock. The cottages are simple but well proportioned, and
reflect Baker’s Cape Dutch Revival style. While there has been insensitive suburban
development to the south of the historic village, the core remains largely intact.
The core character unit in Lanquedoc is made up of: the “head” of the town – the churches,
pastorie and school, as well as the open forecourt space (although this is unfortunately
currently tarred over as a parking lot); the “spine” of the settlement, Hoof Street, which is lined
with Oak trees and ends in a avenue of established gum trees; the “fabric” – the rhythm of
similar cottages that line the street to either side.
These elements are collectively seen to embody the core townscape character of
Lanquedoc, and should duly be protected, and any new development controlled to ensure
this historic pattern is retained and strengthened.