Table View was the ‘township of the future’

Nine years ago, when we were working on the 21st anniversary edition of Tabletalk, our readers sent in pictures and letters describing their memories of the neighbourhoods we cover.

One of those submissions came from Charmaine Gould, of Circle Road, Table View. Inside the envelope, Ms Gould sent us was an A3 page with copies of three adverts that had run in the Cape Times on March 16, 1946, October 18 1947 and in the Cape Times Weekend Magazine on May 16 1953.

Unfortunately Ms Gould’s envelope only reached us after our 2008 special edition had hit the streets. And then it got buried under a clump of papers and forgotten… that is until we started work on our 30th anniversary edition. So a belated thank-you must go to Ms Gould along with an apology for taking nine years to publish her item.

The old adverts make for very interesting reading. The first one features a serious-looking fellow seated next to an old bakelite telephone next to the words: “Table View is the township of the future.” It urges prospective buyers to to act quickly. “You may miss another opportunity!” it says noting that Table View plots are still being sold at 1942 prices.

And for anyone thinking the word “township” carries the more commonly understood meaning, the advert notes – in bold upper-case print – that “Table View is restricted to Europeans only”. Interested parties are advised to phone the offices of Porterfield Estate Ltd, at the African Life Buildins at 85 St George’s Street, on 2-1267. Phone numbers are a little bit longer these days.

The ad that appeared in October the following year advises that “Now is the time to buy a plot for your future home at Table View Township”.

The plots, it says are approximately one quarter acre in size and are “amidst delightfully healthy surroundings and near a beautiful beach” and about “7.5 miles from the GPO, Cape Town, when the new road is completed”.

The grim-faced man has disappeared from this ad and is replaced by a picture of people building a house.

Porterfield Estate also appears to have moved offices to the Lloyds Building, in Burg Street, and the phone number has changed: 2-4335. The final ad, published six years later in 1953, shows a Norman Rockwell style image of a couple seated on their sofa reading the newspaper while their son plays with his train set. “You’ll be happier with a place to call your home,”says the ad, adding in larger print, “especially when it’s at the Table View township.”

And again Porterfield Estates appears to have moved office, this time to the Royal Insurance Buildings, at 143 Longmarket Street. The 1947 phone number remains but a new one has been added: 3-0666.