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May 10, 2013

Five things you didn’t know about Adderley Street

Discover five amazing things you didn't know about Cape Town's impressive Adderley Street. Photo courtesy of DanieVDM

Adderley Street has always been the high street of Cape Town. For many it’s the site of nostalgic childhood memories, having been taken to see the annual Christmas lights.

Today this main artery of the city buzzes with activity. Cape Town’s central train station, bus terminals and the entrance to the Golden Acre shopping centre, numerous shops, banks, hotels and offices are located on Adderley – along with a jamboree of informal traders and a seasonal night market.

It is also famed as the road where you will find the flower seller’s market, which is an experience akin to the trading floor on Wall Street as sellers jostle for business. Statues and fountains form a central aisle in the lower part of the street.

Here are a few lesser-known things about Adderley Street ...

  • Once named the Heerengracht (which is still the name of the lower portion of the street, on the Foreshore), it evolved as a connecting road between the city and the docks, into a residential street and finally a commercial (with some residential) street today. In 1850, the road name was changed to Adderley Street after the British parliamentarian Charles Bowyer Adderley, who successfully resisted British plans to turn the Cape into a penal colony
  • Cape Town shares this story with Port Elizabeth. PE also has a road named Adderley Street, for the same reason
  • The flower sellers have a long history on Adderley Street, dating back more than a century. They often traded "undiscovered" wild flowers and fynbos that had not yet been analysed by botanists and academics, and it was only after World War II that a permit system was introduced to protect vulnerable species
  • Many of the buildings on Adderley Street feature original architecture from the 19th century. Historical places of interest include the Iziko Slave Lodge Museum, the oldest church in SA, the Groote Kerk, and the Company’s Garden
  • The City of Cape Town is developing the city’s bicycle infrastructure and Adderley Street is one of a growing number of safe cycling routes within the city centre


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