The suburb of Arcadia was established in 1889 and primarily developed as a residential area. In 1911, the area above Church street was subdivided into 87 erven by land surveyor J.H. Fehrsen. During the 1930’s three medium-high residency buildings were erected in the area in response to the urbanisation of the rural population of Pretoria.
The three historical buildings namely, Clarendon Court, Twentyman Court and Savoy Court have not lost their original character and style. All three buildings were built in the colonial style and enclose a courtyard. Tenants are often surprised to find the beautiful flats, with original wooden floors and fireplaces, in the centre of Arcadia among all the high-rise apartment blocks.
Clarendon Court – 1929 162 Eastwood Street (8 units) Clarendon Court was commissioned to be built in 1929 and would be one of the first high residency buildings above Church street. It is interesting to note that the flats in this area are contrary to the town planning requirements of the time, as high density dwellings and buildings were placed below (south of) Church street. This could also explain the loose grouping of the buildings, giving them a character of clustered mansions, rather than a single block of flats. These type of flats were known as ‘Flats-de-Luxe’ or ‘Mansion flats’ at the time and a ‘companion volume’ to the British style of homes.
The site for Clarendon Court is placed along Eastwood street which ascends Meintjieskop to the north. The length and narrow width of the site is typical of the erven laid out in 1911. The small flats are arranged around a central courtyard with steps to navigate the sloping terrain
Twentyman Court – 1934 730 Church Street (20 units) The flats of, the two-story, Twentyman Court are similarly arranged around a central courtyard. The architecture of this building is typical for buildings designed and constructed in the International style in the 1920 to 1940 period. The financier, a Mr. Strydom, was also responsible for the construction of other medium density housing projects and hotels such as Helena Mansions.
Twentyman court remained unchanged until 1982 when the architectural firm Peter Hattingh & Genote was commissioned to refurbish the building and to enclose almost all the open balconies.
Savoy Court – 1935 249 Eastwood Street (12 units) The owner, HA Newman submitted plans for a ‘new building’ to the City Council of Pretoria on 8 August 1935. The first foundations for the new Savoy Court were cast on 25 August 1935. On 9 December 1935 the Arcadia Ratepayers Association objected to the erection of the nine garage units facing Pretorius Street. It appears this objection was overruled.
Reproduced from an original article in ARRA by Marian Cloete - October 2011
Source (and for more detailed information): http://wiki.up.ac.za