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The History of Foresters Arms

Early Foresters Arms

The history of Foresters Arms began in 1852 – a long time ago!

A gentleman by the name of James Maynard owned a section of land called Papenboom , which was situated in what we currently know as Newlands. Mr Maynard was in dire financial straits and in order to repay his debts, he sectioned off his land into 200 lots and raffled them off at £25.10 sterling per lot. ‘The Cottage’ was one of the grand prizes, and this was the original building that would be recognized as the Foresters Arms of today.

A Mr David Williams bought large portions of these tickets and ‘won’ considerable amounts of land including ‘The Cottage’, which became known as the Foresters Arms. The plots 129, 130 and 167 that make up the area of Foresters Arms today were officially transferred to Mr Williams on the 28th August 1852.

During these early years, David Williams was a well known timber-man and forester, who utilized the Newlands (Papenboom) forest to pursue his business and trade. His business was thriving and he employed a number of men who would willingly exhaust themselves to better his business.

David Williams was a philanthropic man who believed that his men should be rewarded with comfortable conditions and a place to relax after a long and hard day’s work. He would often encourage them to come to ‘The Cottage’ (Foresters Arms) to enjoy a beer from one of the local breweries. ‘The Cottage’, or Foresters Arms as it had become known, was used in the early days, as a local office for him and his foremen and also as a place of recreation and rest for his workers.

By the time David Williams passed away in the 1870’s, his estate was insolvent and was sold off portion by portion.

(click photos to enlarge)

On 28th September 1881, the plots of land containing Foresters Arms were sold to Simon Londt. He converted the rooms used as offices into rooms and opened Forries as an Inn. It was one of the first Tavern/Inns open to the public. The early patrons of Foresters Arms Inn were travelers making their way from Cape Town to Simonstown in their horse-drawn carts.
The trip often involved a night stop and Newlands was an ideal half-way house. The other loyal patrons who frequented Foresters Arms pub were the foresters who worked in the adjacent Newlands forest and who would still enjoy a beer after a long day’s work, especially on Fridays, where evenings could become quite unruly.

Between the years 1840 and 1884, four breweries were established in the Papenboom (Newlands) area. All of these breweries used the water from the famous, and still flowing, Newlands Spring, which was considered the finest quality water for the finest quality beer in the Cape.

The first brewery, established in 1840, was established by Jacob Letterstedt and was the Mariendahl Brewery, and connected to the Jospehine Mill, which used the Newlands Spring water to make its beer.

The second brewery, established 1866, was the Cloete’s Brewery, also known as the Newlands Brewery, and was registered to Daniel Cloete. Daniel Cloete was the grandson of David Williams, and used a portion of his inheritance from his father, to start his brewery. This brewery was situated directly opposite the Foresters Arms as we know it today.

The third brewery was Cannon Breweries, started by in 1874, by Dr Jonas Michael Hiddingh. He also bought various public houses and canteens to ensure the success of his beer to counter competition from his opposition.

The fourth brewery was the introduction of the Anders Ohlsson brewery business, considered to be the father of modern day brewing in South Africa. Anders Ohlsson bought the Anneberg Mill from David Ireland and converted the Mill into the Anneberg Brewery.


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