Fonds BC1205 - Denis Verschoyle Papers

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Denis Verschoyle Papers


  • 1652-1997 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

ca. 3000 items

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Biographical history

Denis Verschoyle was born in Dunkineely, County Donegal, Ireland in 1910 and died in 1997 aged 87. He left Ireland, which he deeply loved, during a serious economic depression there and arrived in South Africa in 1932, taking up residence in Elgin on a farm belonging to the Murray family. He soon left Elgin and took up a position as an architectural draughtsman with the company of master builders, McCarthy & Flegg. In 1938 he joined the Town Planning Branch of the City Engineer’s Department, Cape Town. In 1940 he passed the examination for associate membership of the Town Planning Institute, London, winning a prize for the best set of papers. In 1946, he became Associate Member of the Town Planning Institute, South Africa. From 1961 to 1972, he lectured on the history of town planning in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Cape Town, work he found both stimulating and enjoyable. He was a man who had a great love for South Africa and when South Africa became a republic, he chose to become South African instead of remaining Irish. He had a good understanding of Afrikaans and took up Xhosa in his early eighties. He had a passion for truth and accuracy and a keen memory and this helped him greatly in his work, in particular the relationship between past history and present conditions in Cape Town and how these affected planned future developments. Although he officially retired in 1970, he still went on to help on various projects.

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Scope and content

Papers include his important survey of the Upper Table Valley, research material and lecture notes related to the history of urban development in the Cape, as well as in the rest of South Africa.


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No restrictions apply

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Language of material

  • English

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  • English



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  • Shelf: 49a