Snowflake Gebou - Potchefstroom

 

Die Horsfall Milling Co. is in bedryf gebring in 1921 deur die stigter, mnr. William Hinchliff Horsfall. As meulingenieur het hy die kennis van sy assosiasie met Turner Mills in Engeland na Potchefstroom gebring. Na die stigting van nuwe meulens in Suid-Afrika by Springfield, Winburg en Aliwal-Noord het hy die groot industriële lewensaar vir die omgewing ook hier in Potchefstroom kom oprig. In samewerking met mnr. Horsfall het mnr. Sam Mottram die stoomaangedrewe meule in Potchefstroom bestuur. Dit was in werking tot en met sy dood op 75-jarige leeftyd in Februarie 1939.

Met die uitsondering van die torings, was die Horsfall-gebou die hoogste gebou in Potchefstroom. Dit was inderdaad die eerste groot nywerheid in die omgewing en die voorloper van Potchindustria, soos die artikel in die Potchefstroom Herald van 9 September 1994 verduidelik.

Maalaktiwiteite in die gebou is in sy geheel gestaak nadat die South African Milling Company, die nuwe eienaars, ʼn groter meule in Klerksdorp opgerig het. Voortaan het die meule slegs gedien as ʼn afsetpunt en pakhuis van die maatskappy. Die South African Milling Company is later oorgeneem deur Premier Milling, wat alle voedselprodukte, insluitend hul vlagskipproduk, die meel genaamd Snowflake, weer vanaf Vereeniging gebring het om uit die “Snowflake”-gebou met sy twee groot pakhuispersele versprei te word, tot en met 1996.

Die gebou is in 1997 gekoop deur die huidige eienaar, Albert Bothma, ʼn sakeman en bierbrouer. Kort voor lank het hy ʼn industriële bierbrouery, distilleerdery en ʼn verpakkingsaanleg opgerig en sy maatskappy, The Bourbon Street Brewing Company, se produkte suksesvol na vier provinsies vanaf die Snowflake-gebou begin versprei.

Na drie jaar het misdaad egter hierdie suksesvolle besigheid tot stilstand gedwing, nadat sy afleweringsvloot van twintig verspreidingsvoertuie 80 keer gekaap was. Die Snowflake-gebou het die gruwelgebeure ook nie vrygespring nie, en slegs in 2003 het daar sewe gewapende rooftogte op die perseel plaasgevind. Met geen ondersteuning van die polisie, kompetisiekommissie of enige regeringsinstansie nie, was Albert Bothma raadop en genoodsaak om alle aktiwiteite in die gebou te staak.

Hoewel hy getraumatiseerd en ontnugterd was, dien hy nietemin steeds ʼn aansoek in om spesiale toestemming by die Potchefstroomse Stadsraad te verkry ten einde die industriële gebou aan te wend vir kommersiële gebruik, gesinsontspanning en opvoedkundige doeleindes. Na 10 jaar is hierdie aansoek steeds in proses, vanweë voetslepery deur Spoornet en die Stadsraad; en die ontwikkeling om hierdie fassinerende landmerkgebou in Potchefstroom tot sy reg te laat kom, kan derhalwe steeds nie begin nie.

Sedert 1998 vind kunsuitstallings en privaatfunksies van tyd tot tyd in die gebou plaas en oor die afgelope 15 jaar het die Snowflake-gebou homself gevestig as die bakermat van kontemporêre kunste tydens die Aardklop Nasionale Kunstefees. Sedert 2012 word ʼn suksesvolle Snowflake Market ook elke tweede maand in die opwindende industriële gebou gehou.

Snowflake Building - Potchefstroom

 

The Horsfall Milling Co. was started in 1921 by the founder, Mr William Hinchliff Horsfall. As a milling engineer, he brought the knowledge of his association with Turner Mills in England with him to Potchefstroom. After the establishment of new mills in South Africa – in Springfield, Winburg and Aliwal North – he also brought this major industrial artery to the Potchefstroom area. Along with Mr Horsfall, Mr Sam Mottram managed the steam-powered mill in Potchefstroom. It remained in operation until his death in February 1939 at the age of 75.

With the exception of the towers, the Horsfall Building was the tallest building in Potchefstroom. It was indeed the first major industry in the area and it was the forerunner of Potchindustria, as explained in an article in the Potchefstroom Herald of 9 September 1994.

Milling activities in the building were stopped completely after the South African Milling Company, the new owners, built a larger mill in Klerksdorp. From then on, the mill only served as an outlet and warehouse for the company. The South African Milling Company was later acquired by Premier Milling, who brought all their food products, including their flagship brand, the wheat flour called Snowflake, from Vereeniging to the "Snowflake" building with its two large warehouses for distribution, until 1996.

Recent Developments

The building was acquired by its current owner, Albert Bothma, a businessman and brewer, in 1997. He soon established an industrial brewery, distillery and a packaging plant, and started to successfully distribute the products of his company, The Bourbon Street Brewing Company, from the Snowflake Building to four provinces.

After three years, however, crime put an end to this successful business, after the delivery fleet of twenty distribution vehicles was hijacked 80 times. The Snowflake Building did not escape the dreadful events either, and in 2003 alone there were seven armed robberies on the premises. With no support from the police, the competition commission or any government institution, Albert Bothma reached a point where despair compelled him to stop all activities in the building.

Although traumatised and disillusioned, he nevertheless lodged an application to obtain special permission from the Potchefstroom City Council to use the industrial building for commercial purposes, family recreation and educational purposes. After 10 years, this application is still in process because of foot-dragging by Spoornet and the City Council; and the development to do justice to this fascinating landmark building in Potchefstroom therefore still cannot start.

Since 1998 art exhibitions and private functions have from time to time taken place in the building and the Snowflake Building established itself over the past 15 years as the home of contemporary art at the Aardklop National Arts Festival. Since 2012 - 2015 a successful Life Market was also hosted every two months in this exciting industrial building. Have a look on the Snowflake Mark page for more information about the new market.

Corner of 106 Wolmarans- & Piet Bosman Streets

Potchefstroom

Tel: 082 850 1200

Email: martie@snowflakevenue.com

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