The Cape Town Club – a popular networking venue for local business people – has returned, after an absence of almost two decades, to its original home in Queen Victoria Street.
The Cape Town Club sold its landmark building at 18 Queen Victoria Street in the late nineties to Russian investors, and moved ‘up the road’ to new premises at Leinster Hall (behind the Mount Nelson Hotel).
Cape Town Club GM Eugene van der Westhuizen said Leinster Hall had served the club well, but conceded the location did not suit all members – especially those based in the city centre and the legal fraternity situated around the law courts in central Cape Town. Consequently membership numbers dwindled…
Van der Westhuizen, however, notes that the move back to the clubs original premises has already seen a fillip to membership numbers. “We are, especially, seeing many more younger members coming through.”
The move back to 18 Victoria Street was overseen by well-known local attorneys Guthrie & Ruhston, and involved selling the Leinster Hall building to the same Russian investors that bought the original Cape Town Club building. Then the Cape Town Clun had to arrange a long lease on their old premises from the Russian investors, who had in the interim been using 18 Queen Victoria Street mainly as an office.
Van der Westhuizen said the Queen Victoria Street building had not changed much since the club vacated the premises in the late nineties. “It was really a matter of bringing back our old paintings, pictures, fittings and furnishings…and it’s pretty much as members will remember it from the late nineties.”
Van der Westhuizen said there were plans to add new features to the club – most notably a wine bar and whiskey tasting rooms to complement the cigar lounge.
The Cape Town Club has a long history in the city, having been founded as the City Club in 1877 and the Queen Victoria Street building finished in 1898 at a cost of 22 000 pounds (with financing from Cecil John Rhodes.)
The Civil Service Club – founded almost twenty years earlier – merged with the City Club to form the City and Civil Service Club in 1976.
Later when the Heere Sewentien Club joined forces the club changed its name to the Cape Town Club.