This is what Pretoria looked like in the 1900s

Stunning old images of Pretoria from late 19th century and early 20th century (1880s – 1900s) have surfaced online – this is how the city looked in its early life.

The images were collected and compiled by former SABC TV news anchor, Friedel Hansen.

While Hansen doesn’t explicitly state the sources of the images (“Literally all over,” he said), many can be found in the digital archive of The European Library,and the National Library of the Netherlands.

Pretoria is one of South Africa’s oldest cities serving as the executive branch of government. The city was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father.

The region became the administrative capital of the whole of South Africa, with Cape Town the legislative capital, which it kept after South Africa gained its independence in 1961.

The city has undergone many changes over the years, and remains one of South Africa’s largest cities – fourth after Joburg, Cape Town and Durban – with a population of just over 2 million people.

Here are some pictures of Pretoria from around 1900, as well as what they look like today.

Union Buildings (1920s)

Union Buildings 1920
Union Buildings 1920
Union Buildings
Union Buildings by Robbie Aspeling

Church Square (1920s)

Chuch Square 1920s
Chuch Square 1920s
Church Square
Church Square today

Church Street (1880s)

Church Street South 1880
Church Street South 1880
Church Street
Church Street

Church Street was changed to four different streets after being broken up in 2007. The streets linked to the square are now Helen Joseph and WF Nkomo streets.

Old Standard Bank Building (1900s)

Old Standard Bank building 1900s
Old Standard Bank building 1900s
Standard Bank building
New Standard Bank building

The old Standard Building was constructed in the 1890s – but it was demolished in the 1950s. The current Standard Bank building was built in the same area in the 1930s, and is a National Heritage site.

Old Arts Building at the University of Pretoria (1890s)

Ou Lettere Building of the University of Pretoria
Ou Lettere Building of the University of Pretoria
Ou Lettere Building today
Ou Lettere Building today

The Old Arts Building at the University of Pretoria was built in 1911, and still stands today as a National Monument.

Paul Kruger Street (1890)

Paul Kruger street 1890
Paul Kruger street 1890
Paul Kruger Street
Paul Kruger Street

Skinner Street (1890)

Skinner Street 1890s
Skinner Street 1890s
Skinner Street (Nana Sita)
Skinner Street (Nana Sita)

Skinner Street was also changed in 2007, to Nana Sita street.

The Oude Raatzaal (1889)

The Raadzaal 1889
The Raadzaal 1889
The Raadzaal today
The Raadzaal today

Pretoria from Meintjieskop (1900)

View of pretoria from Meintjieskop 1900
View of pretoria from Meintjieskop 1900
View of pretoria
View of pretoria

Oude Volkshospitaal (1890)

Volkshospitaal
Volkshospitaal
Volkshospitaal location today
Volkshospitaal location today

The Volkshospitaal in Pretoria was constructed in 1887, but changed purpose after the General Hospital (now known as Steve Biko Hospital) was erected in 1932. The old hospital was first used as a railway hostel, before being demolished to make way for the Defense Headquarters.

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This is what Pretoria looked like in the 1900s