Zandvlei Trust

Vitorian Life at the Cape 1870 1900 by Catherine Knox

From the notes of
Paddy Killick (supplied by Dave and Cynthia Privett).

Muizenberg's universal popularity as a seaside resort was explained with the warmest approval by the author of  the Cape town Guide 1897.
The beaches are alive with gaily dressed ladies and romping children- balmy even when other suburbs are damp and chill. It is situated on the downs of False bay with its extensive beach, safe at all times for bathing, with unique geographical situation with its balmy breezes laden with the life giving ozone of the South Pacific (sic) and with its scenery the most beautiful of the coastline. It has well deserved the appellation of the "Cape Rivera".
The water at this wonderful spot was warmer than at Woodstock. There were bathing houses at intervals along the extensive beach but most were for the use of residents at the houses, boarding houses and hotels that abounded here. For the convenience of strangers 2 bathing screens had been erected in the water, one for women and one for men.
Bathing dresses presented a challenge to women who were modest and fashion
conscious at the same time. the most satisfactory models consisted of a commodious, short sleeved overdress and a paid of pantaloons reaching to mid calf. Grey serge or flannel were the best fabrics - they were not revealing even when wet. the Rutherford sisters made their own bathing dresses out of old blankets for a holiday in Kalk Bay. The correlation between the weight of these garments and the frequency with which inexperienced female bathers drowned was not commonly pointed out.


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