The methodology is mainly that of a cultural historical approach, which, being part of the humanities, connects closely to several related disciplines. This means that the cultural integrity of a building/structure was considered in its entirety: the architectural, stylistic, historical, social and aesthetic integrity have been considered where possible.

In the present heritage survey, the following process was applied in the grading process:

  • All the buildings within the boundaries of the core heritage area of the town were surveyed, by block (A – W), by street, and by street number.

Survey Map

  • Grades were allocated, as prescribed by the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act 25 of 1999), considering the cultural integrity of a building/structure by taking into consideration the architectural, stylistic, historical, social and aesthetic integrities.
  • In line with the prescribed Heritage Western Cape template, buildings were photographed, categorised, described and graded, taking the following into consideration: erf number and address; date built; building type; style; architectural period; alterations; use; date of survey; zoning; building name; general evaluation; description; social history; and history. Often more factors than those on the template were considered, for instance streetscape, heritage area and townscape. The most important factors in considering the gradings, were the style of an individual building (considered in the context of the manifestation of styles in the town as a whole), the date built (or literally the age of the building) and the history in terms of the role that the building has played in the development of the town and community. Intangible factors are relevant because, for example, many buildings in Stellenbosch played a role in the early history of education in South Africa. The aesthetical significance of a building was usually not the dominant factor in considerations of grading (aesthetical value is a subjective aspect of culture; history was usually considered more significant). All the sites (five in total) recommended as grade I are part of an integrated landscape and fabric of history of the town. Though they are considered as individual sites (because of ownership, placement and boundaries) they are also key aspects of the social, cultural and historical landscape of the oldest town middedorp in South Africa. This combination of buildings and spaces within its natural setting are rare and unique, in its own right, and gains further significance through the history of the town and specifically also through the association with the number of scientists, artists, writers, and intellectuals of a wide spectrum of community that lived and worked in these spaces.
  • Based on previous discussions and agreements on key terms such as significance, the buildings were graded separately by Burden and Fransen. When the individual gradings were completed, they compared their gradings, discussed discrepancies and eventually negotiated an assessment that satisfied both.
  • Upon completion, the survey was presented at a public meeting and a public participation process was followed. The team received more than 200 written recommendations. The buildings were listed in a heritage resources map, which shows the areas surveyed and the building sites and areas designated as heritage resources,
    complemented with further electronic mapping and pictures and embedded in the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation website.