The Western Cape Provincial Archives and Records Service

The Western Cape Provincial Archives keep old photographs of and documents about Cape Town, among many other historic items. Photo of Cape Town taken in 1950s courtesy Gavin Orr

The Western Cape Provincial Archives and Records Service, which aims to “foster a national identity and the protection of rights”, is located at 72 Roeland Street in Cape Town.

According to the Provincial Archives and Records Service of the Western Cape Act, public records in the Western Cape are transferred to the Cape Town Archives Repository when they are 20 years or older.

The repository also collects non-public records with enduring value pertaining to the history of Cape Town and the Western Cape and its diverse communities.

These public and non-public records, which date back to 1651, are supplemented by collections of maps, photographs, microfilms, books, pamphlets and official publications.

Records cover documentation relating to institutions including school boards, government offices, provincial hospitals, municipalities and councils.

Photographic collections include a general section and various specific portfolios, such as the Elliott and Ravenscroft collections.

Access to the archives is free. Visitors sign a register at the front desk in the reception hall, which leads on to the reading room, where archives can be viewed.

The archives are open from Mondays to Fridays from 08h00-16h00. On Thursdays the archives are open from 08h00-19h00.

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