Thursday Doors – Fort Schanskop in Pretoria

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

After the Jameson Raid in 1896, Pres Paul Kruger of the “Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek” decided to protect Pretoria by constructing forts in strategic places. Eight forts were to be built initially, but due to a shortage of funds, only four were completed. Germans designed three of the four forts, Schanskop being one.

Fort Schanskop was completed in 1897 and was built in such a way to avert possible attacks on Pretoria from the Johannesburg and Lourenco Marques railway line, as well as from the Johannesburg road. By mounting revolving artillery on the embankment of the fort, attacks from all directions could be warded off. Schanskop was armed with one 155 mm Creusot gun (Long Tom) and two Maxims(Pom-poms) by 1899. The soldiers included one officer and 30 privates from the Transvaal State Artillery.

At the outbreak of the war the soldiers and armament were transferred to the Natal front, leaving the fort undefended.

After the invasion of Pretoria by Gen Roberts, the British occupied the forts on 7 June 1900. The 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers occupied Schanskop.

The above is an extract from The Voortrekker Monument site here: https://vtm.org.za/en/fort-schanskop/

The Long Tom gun features in my book about the Second Anglo Boer War, A Ghost and His Gold.

Picture of the fort form the top of the stairs
I thought this enormous tree was very impressive
Picture of Pretoria from the fort

29 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Fort Schanskop in Pretoria

    1. Hi Priscilla, yes the stone would be local. The Boers had strong links to Germany and a lot of their weapons were German. The Afrikaner people were very innovative and I find their history fascinating.

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    1. Hi Rebecca, thank you, I love history and am always keen to share about it. The one good thing about the pandemic is that I have delved more deeply into what historical sites are available here in South Africa.

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  1. These are always so great Robbie! We have a number of forts in the wild Wild West here in the US that have ben preserved…a unique part of our history! Love your photos!

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    1. Thank you, John. I have read some of your WW posts about the ghost towns with great interest. If you visit a fort, I would love to see those pictures. My ideas on US forts come from The Last of the Mohicans.

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  2. I love the history you include with your doors. I think I’m going to have to get a copy of your new book 😉

    The view of the city from the fort gives a clear indication of how this fort would be valuable in providing protection.

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    1. Hi Dan, that is right. The citizens of the Republic were disappointed that a decision was made not to defend Pretoria during this war and the forts were not used. The reason for the decision is that the leadership did not want their beautiful city damaged. Thinking about the 2nd WW, I can understand that thinking. So many treasures have been destroyed during wars.

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  3. I was just visiting a fort from about the same era in Washington State here in the US. It’s amazing how similar they were in construction. The one here doesn’t have that big beautiful tree though. Great pictures, Robbie.

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  4. Roberta, I enjoyed reading the history of this fort. It looks well maintained. The tree v-shape aligns with the stairs perfectly and its wide shade must be appreciated under the hot sun.

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    1. HI Natalie, it is very hot in Pretoria so shade would definitely be a priority. The Voortrekker Monument is a private foundation and it is beautifully maintained. Thanks for visiting.

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  5. This helps to have a visual of the area. Your pictures are beautiful. I’m going to use this post as one of the links on Story Chat this month. 🙂

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      1. I know, mine have too. It was fun to learn about a time in history I knew nothing about. The photographs helped make the geography clearer. In the book, I liked they way you used the ghosts to tell the story. It was like being right there, but I also enjoyed the tension of the modern day characters, too.

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