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St Cyprians Cathedral


UPDATED: 26/11/2019

26 NOVEMBER 1899, Massive hailstorm hits Kimberley.
26 NOVEMBER 1926, De Beers Stadium foundation stone laid, 1926
26 NOVEMBER 1956, Champion boxer Charlie Weir, the ‘Silver Assassin’ born, 1956
26 NOVEMBER 1961, Dedication of the Memorial Tower at St Cyprian’s Cathedral by the Archbishop of Cape Town.



St Cyprians Cathedral

The idea of the Anglicans building a “more worthy parish church” was mooted in 1901, when the former rector Bishop Gaul of Mashonaland, chided the St Cyprian’s congregation for continuing to worship in a “tin shanty”: he was referring to the wood and iron church in Jones Street built in 1879-80.

The foundation stone for the Neo-Gothic church building that would become the Cathedral was laid (by Bishop Gaul) on 5 March 1907 and the completed Nave was dedicated on 13 May 1908. St Cyprian’s Church became a Cathedral when Episcopal Synod approved the formation of the new Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman in October 1911, the first Bishop, Gore Browne, being enthroned in 1912. The foundation stone for the Chancel was laid in 1913, but war intervened and it was completed only in 1926 – as a war memorial. The Lady Chapel was added in memory of Dean Robson in 1936 (when a vestry and a new organ, by J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd, were also built).

The building was brought nearer to completion on 26 November 1961 with the dedication of the memorial bell tower – which was built closely following the original cathedral design (the architect had been Arthur Lindley of the firm of Greatbatch). A watercolour impression of the anticipated Chancel was painted by William M. Timlin, artist and architect, and a partner in Greatbatch & Timlin, who guided some of the later phases of construction. Funds for the building of the tower were given in memory of parishioners who lost their lives in World War II.


St Cyprians Cathedral – Photo by David Morris

Stained glass windows, plaques, furnishings and ornaments have been added by succeeding generations. Complementing earlier twentieth century glass, the Holy Spirit windows in the south transept, of thick scintillating glass set in concrete, are by the Pretoria artist Leo Theron.

(Main photograph: David Morris. The other two photographs depicting the “Tin Shanty” and the Cathedral between 1908 and 1920s (pre-Chancel) are from the McGregor Museum collection.)

26 NOVEMBER 1899, Massive hailstorm hits Kimberley.
26 NOVEMBER 1961, Dedication of the Memorial Tower at St Cyprian’s Cathedral by the Archbishop of Cape Town.


Today in Kimberley's History 26 November Halfway House HotelLegends and myths abound throughout the world and Kimberley is no exception. And most of the time the myths are much more entertaining than the truth. That is certainly the case with the story of how the Halfway House managed to get its drive-in bar liquor licence.

The Legend

Cecil John Rhodes certainly enjoyed a drink or two, and when travelling between the various mines in Kimberley and Beaconsfield owned by his company De Beers, he was in too much of a rush to get off his horse and enter the Half for his customary tipple. To alleviate this problem, as a member of the Cape Legislature, he managed to pass a law allowing patrons to be served on horseback or in their carts outside the hotel without entering the premises.

The Truth

The Halfway House was already serving alcoholic beverages to vehicles by the middle of the 1870s. A toll station – one of seven – was opposite the hotel and people entering or leaving Kimberley would be waiting in long queues in the unbearable heat of summer. As the licensee of The Half had full liquor license privileges he could indeed serve people in their transport outside The Half.

Cecil Rhodes only owned (through De Beers) all the mines in the Kimberley and Beaconsfield region by 1889, and he only became a member of the Cape Assembly in 1880 and Prime Minister in 1890 so the chances of him passing a special law are remote. Remember that by 1875 the Half was already a “drive-in bar” and that the West End Hotel had the same licence and the same drive-in facilities.

It is believed that during the Siege of Kimberley, when many Long Tom shells fell in the vicinity of The Half (as a prime target was Rhodes at the Kimberley Sanatorium over the road), that Rhodes was a regular tippler at The Half when returning from his daily rounds of Kimberley. And he stayed on his horse while doing so.

Today in Kimberley's History 26 November Cecil John Rhodes Horse

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook

By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt


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