Beaufort West, Old Town Hall
Format Extent12 colour photographs
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Photographs and information on the Old Town Hall museum in Beaufort West and its bells: The OLD TOWN HALL of Beaufort West is currently a museum that contains material about the early days of the town. However, on top of the building is a sizable turret that houses bells. From the outside it is hardly possible to get a view of the bells. However, once in the turret one discovers three very neatly made bells from French origin. The three bells have the same shape and moulding wires but only the largest bell carries instructive decorations. And this bell has a very pretty appearance. In between two decorative bands is the inscription that offers information on the founder. It reads EUGÈNE BAUDOUIN À MARSEILLE 1866. The Baudouin foundry was established in 1430 in the Saint-Pierre quarter of the French city of Marseille. The company was best known for its clock making. Bells from the company can be found in different cities, mostly in southern France. The three bells in the tower here have been forged in another location, Cours Gouffé, where the company moved in 1833. The company stopped operations around 1914. Below the waist is a set of three moulding wires followed on the largest bell by a decorative band. A few more moulding wires above the knee and on the lip finish the decorations on all three bells. The canons of the three bells are somewhat unique in that they have four heads of masculine figures. Unfortunately, the heads have been painted over and over again to show any details. It remains an interesting question how this building got these French bells. Not only are French bells rather uncommon in the Western Cape, but having a neat set of three indicates that these bells have been ordered for this building. We also noticed a French Royal coat of arms in the church hall of the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk which is situated next to the old town hall. Both items suggest that there might have been close connections between the town of Beaufort West and France.
- Beaufort West