Civic group helped to establish Meadowridge library

Winnie Craythorne, Diep River

With reference to the photograph of the Meadowridge library’s 62nd anniversary published on December 8, it may interest your readers to know that the Bergvliet/Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association played a leading role in the establishment and building of the Meadowridge library.

In 1955, under the chairmanship of Mr C F Morkel, the then Bergvliet Civic Association requested the services of a library from the Divisional Council of the Cape, which had jurisdiction of the area. There were a lot of deliberations with suggestions to use a room above Pages and Perms in Hiddingh Road or a house in Bergvliet Road, but finances were not readily available.

Still under the jurisdiction of the Divisional Council of the Cape, Garden Cities commenced the development of Meadowridge in 1954. In 1958 the Meadowridge Shopping Centre was established and Garden Cities allocated two rooms in the centre for a library which the residents funded privately.

In 1955, the Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association was established as required by Garden Cities.

At the Bergvliet Civic Association’s AGM held in October 1957, under the chairmanship of Dr H Freund, it was agreed to approach Garden Cities to enquire whether land for the building of a library could be allocated with the Meadowridge Shopping Centre when constructed. In 1958, the Bergvliet Civic Association was informed that land had been set aside for the building of a library near Firgrove Way.

Also in 1958, discussions took place to amalgamate the two associations, namely, Bergvliet Civic Association and Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association, but although discussions took place and combined meetings were held, it was not until 1969 when they officially amalgamated.

In 1964, John van Niekerk, previously an office bearer of the Bergvliet Civic Association, was elected as a member of the Divisional Council and under his chairmanship of the Divisional Council, the Meadowridge library was built at a cost of R65 000 plus R5000 for fittings and opened in 1970.

In 1971/72, the area was incorporated with the Cape Town Municipality.

A previous chairman of the Bergvliet/Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association, Dr Donald Craythorne, who was a senior City of Cape Town official, informed the association’s executive committee that when Mr Van Niekerk, in his capacity as chairman of the Divisional Council of the Cape, handed the library building to the City of Cape Town, it was provided that the Meadowridge library hall was made available to the association and other local organisations free of charge.

In 1998, when the library was extended, the association raised funds from other users of the hall and members of the association to renovate and provide new cupboards in the kitchen.

The benefits of the Meadowridge library are today enjoyed by many people both within the suburbs and beyond for which grateful thanks is owed to the work and efforts of the people who served on the executive committees of the Bergvliet/Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association since 1955.