The Fish Hoek Municipality used names associated with the history of Fish Hoek for the steps leading up from Simonstown Road to Hillside Road and Highway. Starting from Sunnycove Steps, which are very short and used as a shortcut to Sunnycove Station from Hillside Road, and walking towards the Main Road, Mossop Steps are next.
They are named for the Mossop brothers who, in the 1918 sale of plots, bought the cottages, on the site of the Dutch East India Company Watch House, which had been used by Hester de Villiers as holiday accommodation. Dr Ernest Mossop, the medical superintendent of Somerset Hospital, was an amateur archaeologist , who in the 1920s and 30s collected Stone Age tools in the Fish Hoek Valley. He kept careful records of where they were found and made a Cabinet in which to store them. They were presented to the Fish Hoek Municipality and can now be seen at the Fish Hoek Valley Museum.
Hobbs Steps remember the Hobbs family who, having come to Fish Hoek on holiday from Kimberley in 1925, saw a business opportunity, bought plots on Beach Road and built a hotel. The original Windsor Hotel was a single storey building but there were many visitors coming to Fish Hoek and the hotel was often full, so it was not long before another storey was added. When tourists stopped coming to South Africa most of the hotels in Fish Hoek went out of business. The Windsor Hotel was demolished in October 1972 and a block of flats built on the site, however, the name was kept and the flats were called Windsor Lodge. Mrs Hobbs was a prominent member of the Fish Hoek Women’s Association and 1944 became the first woman to be elected to the Fish Hoek Town Council.
Ballyclyme Steps are named after the house built by Tom Mossop next to the steps. His daughter married an architect, a Mr Roberts, and they lived in the house for many years. Why the name? Well, perhaps because it was a “bally climb” to get there!
Pritchard Steps recalls the Pritchards who have been very closely associated with the history of Fish Hoek. Bull Pritchard built his house in 1919, overlooking what later became the Catwalk. He called it Orano after the ship that rescued him, after several hours in the water, when the troop ship Galway Castle was torpedoed and sank during World War 1. Being a surveyor it was he who organised the residents protest against the sale of plots on the beach. He was a very strong swimmer and as his house overlooked the beach he several times saw swimmers in difficulty and went to rescue them. An empty plot next to his house was bought by a family from Kimberley who had a holiday house opposite it on the top side of Simonstown Road. They bought it to stop anyone building on it and spoiling their view and suggested to Bull Pritchard that if he added it into his garden it would solve the problem of keeping it tidy. The Pritchards had two small daughters and for their amusement he put miniature buildings and people into the garden. Passersby stopped to look at it and during the war it was open to the public and money was collected for the war effort by means of a wishing well. Bull was also a founder member of the Kosy Korner Koffie Klub made up of retired gentlemen who met at the Green Parrot Tearoom, and later at the Homestead Hotel, every morning for coffee and conversation, which also got them out of their wives way!
Zoutendyk Steps are called after another family who lived in the village for many years. Mr Zoutendyk was the auctioneer who conducted the first sale in 1918 and subsequent sales. He liked the area so much that, having married a granddaughter of Mr de Villiers, he built a house, on Simonstown Road, and came to live in Fish Hoek. Both he and Bull Pritchard were founder members of the Fish Hoek Sports Club.
Outspan Steps go up to Outspan Road, overlooking the original outspan area used by the farmers from the western end of the valley. A stream flowed down the mountain there and a small dam was built across it to provide a pool from which the oxen could drink. This stream, now underground, floods in very wet weather and water flows down the steps.
De Villiers Steps run up the side of the de Villiers cemetery next to the Dutch Reformed Church and are named for Hester and Izaak de Villiers, the last owners of the Fish Hoek Farm, who with other members of their family are buried there.
If you continue along Kommetjie Road you will notice that behind the houses on the mountain side of the road there is a second row of houses with access to Kommetjie Road via short lanes. The lanes start just after the end of Hillside Road with Burton Lane which runs up beside the house occupied by the Burton family for many years. Mr and Mrs Burton bought several plots in one of the early sales of land, including some in what is now the Main Road business area. They decided to build their house, Ionia, on the corner of de Waal Road and Seventh Avenue, which at that time was almost in the country! They built a tennis court , as did several of the early residents, and such was the enthusiasm for the game amongst the young people of the village that it was not long before the Fish Hoek Tennis Club was formed.
The Burtons were also very active in church affairs. When St Margaret’s Church was built, in 1934, they donated the altar in memory of their parents and brother and in 1941 Mrs Burton donated a table and bookshelves for the hymn books. After the death of Mr Burton, in the 1930s, Mrs Burton and her daughter loline moved to Kommetjie Road where they lived for many years and where Mrs Burton celebrated her one hundredth birthday with a visit from the Mayor and Mayoress.
Rickard Lane can be found alongside 51 Kommetjie Road. Dr and Mrs Rickard and their two children came to Fish Hoek in 1925 and lived at number 47. The residents were very pleased to have a resident doctor and the family was soon absorbed into local life. Dr Rickard was a Justice of the Peace and was soon elected to the Village Management Board whilst his wife was a leading member of several local organisations. Cronwright Lane runs between 63 and 65 Kommetjie Road. Peter Cronwright brought his family to Fish Hoek from Kalk Bay, bringing with them his wife’s small herd of cows. In the 1920s the cows used to wander all over the village and W. T. Cobern, who lived in First Avenue, was probably not the only resident who used to herd them into his garden to crop the grass! Fresh milk being a very salable commodity in the village this was the beginning of Cron Dairies, run for many years by Peter’s son Louis, after whom the lane was named. He was very prominent in local affairs, serving as a Fish Hoek Town Councillor and also as Mayor. His son, Morthland, also a Councillor and Mayor, took over the business and when small dairies were no longer viable closed it and built the Valyland Centre on the land where the dairy had stood. This is still owned by the Cronwright family.
The land beside the Fish Hoek Veterinary Clinic is Ross Lane. Mr Ross, a cartage contractor with a flourishing business in the area, had his stables at the top of it until the arrival of motor delivery vehicles.
Cobern Lane, at the side of the Fish Hoek Home Nursing Centre, is named after W T. Cobern who was a well-known local character in the early days of the village. Having retired from business at the early age of 45 he had plenty of time to keep an eye on how things were being run. If the Ratepayers Association wanted to get a good turn out for their meeting they had only to let people know that Mr Cobern was going to register a complaint and everyone would come to hear him! The Guy Fawkes Day celebration on the beach was his special task and every year he organised a big bonfire of old railway sleepers and a firework display. He was also Father Christmas at the annual Christmas party for the children of the village. His son, Malcolm Cobern was a founder member of the Fish Hoek Valley Historical Association, and wrote a history of the area, The Story of the Fish Hoek Valley.