cape town tour

Lady Anne Barnard - the Cape's rock star from the 18th century!

Lady Anne Barnard - the Cape's rock star from the 18th century!

Whilst Lady Gaga may have countless millions of hits on YouTube, in her day, Lady Anne Barnard was the 18th century equivalent of a rock star.

This enigmatic lady came to live in Cape Town for just five years in 1797, as the wife of Andrew Barnard, who was 12 years her junior (so it seems she was a cougar too?).  She was the one who got him the job of Colonial Secretary to the Cape of Good Hope (so this was definitely not a case of 'with wife in tow') and proceded to wow the society of the Cape at the time with her impressive artistic skill, sharp and erudite conversation, incisive social commentary (much of which took the form of letters to the British government of the time) and lavish society gatherings.

Several streets are named after her in the city and even a ballroom at the Castle: her journals and writings survive to this day as a remarkable series of historical documents.

On your next visit to the Cape, you can actually stay in this fine lady's former house: now converted into one of Cape Town's finest semi-rural hotels, The Vineyard in Newlands has been hugely extended from its original size but sympathetically so: one can still walk from the triple-fronted Regency frontage through to the splendid terrace overlooking the gardens, which in themselves are a delight.  Best of all, The Vineyard is a fully accredited Fair Trade in Tourism establishment.



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