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With the “Steenenbrug” as the traditional entrance to Stellenbosch, Bosman’s Crossing today represents an urban renewal project for the revitalisation of the historic gateway to the town. The site has been in use for over a hundred years, mainly for industrial purposes, facilitating a quarry, brick works, a tannery, a jam factory and numerous distilleries.

The rich industrial heritage of the Bosman’s Crossing site stems from initially quarrying the yellowish Papegaaiberg clay for moulding bricks and for use as building mortar in the mid 18th century. In 1798 a tannery and bark mill was established as the first “industrial” operation at Bosman’s Crossing. From the late 1800s the site also housed a jam factory.

The distillation of brandy came to Bosman’s Crossing in 1875 with the establishment of the Collison Distillery. In 1880 Daniel Bosman, from whom Bosman’s Crossing got its identity, distilled sugar into spirits at the site in large amounts. The Santhagen’s Distillery followed in the early 1900s and at the same time William Charles Winshaw, seen as the farther of modern winery in SA, rented the tannery buildings to produce wine from raisins after tanning operations failed.

Bosman’s Crossing became the KWV’s Stellenbosch headquarters shortly after its inception in 1918. Once KWV stopped production in 1995, it subdivided the site into twelve smaller sites and rezoned them for light industrial.  Only half of the sites were ever sold.

The buildings housing these industries were conventionally constructed with low cost bricks, simple roofs and in many cases not even plastered. This presented an ideal architectural opportunity to create an urban renewal ambience to ultimately blend the “old” with the “new” - an industrial look with predominantly brick, concrete and elements of steel.

The Bosman’s Crossing architecture is scenically enhanced by Papegaaiberg, part of the world-renown Cape Floral Kingdom and earmarked to become a biosphere to protect the endemic plant and animal species of the Renosterveld.
 

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