oa South African Journal of Cultural History - The 'anarchy of iron', official attitudes to wood and iron construction in South Africa



Wood and iron construction formed a very visible part of many South African cities in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, As such it forms a significant aspect of our early urban heritage. What this article demonstrates is that although the technique was wide spread and well used, official attitudes. that of civil authorities and government agencies, were ambivalent at best and became increasingly antagonistic towards It in the 19th century, Examples from Natal, a stronghold of the technique, are used to support this, One aspect of this attitude has been the continuous systematic destruction of this building stock and an almost complete lack of recognition of its cultural value.


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