Fort Schanskop (Pretoria)
Overview of Fort Schanskop
After the Jameson Raid in 1896, President Paul Kruger of the "Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek" decided that something must be done to protect Pretoria against possible attacks. Fort Schanskop is one of the four forts constructed during 1897.
Fort Schanskop was completed in 1897, and built in such a way to protect against attacks from the Johannesburg and Lourenco Marques railway line, and the Johannesburg road. Shaped like a pentagon, Fort Schanskop had canons placed on rotating platforms on the embankments, allowing the fort to defend against attacks from all directions. Fort Schanskop was armed with one 155mm Creusot Gun (Long Tom), and two Maxims (Pom-poms) in 1899. There were 30 privates and one officer on base at the fort.
- 1897 - Fort Schanskop completed and ready to defend
- After the outbreak of the war, the soldiers and armament were moved to the Natal fort, leaving Fort Schanskop undefended.
- The British occupied the fort on 7 June 1900, after the invasion of Pretoria by Gen Roberts
- In 1922, Fort Schanskop was returned to the Union Government, and used for signaling and reconnaissance purposes only
- Fort Schanskop was declared a historical monument in 1938
- A military museum was established in Pretoria 1962, including Fort Klapperkop and Fort Schanskop
- Due to budget cuts, the museum was handed back to the state in 1994
- During June 2000, the Voortrekker Monument and Nature Reserve successfully purchased Fort Schanskop. Extensive renovations was done to extend and renovate the fort.
After taking over Fort Schanskop in 2000, the photographic displays on various aspects of the Anglo Boer War was compiled, for the theme period of 1899 - 1914.
The display contains photographs on the role of horses in the war in the Stal exhibition. The Officieren exhibit contains photographs and information on the history of the State Artillery. Proviand contains an overview of the course of the war. Portraits of Boer generals, on loan from the SA Army College, as well as short biographical sketches, can be seen in the Manschappen display.
The rest of the rooms contains displays of the arms and ammunition, the history of Fort Schanskop, as well as medical conditions in and around the fort and war. An archeological display also provides visitors with a glimpse into the life at Fort Schanskop 100 years ago.
Review of Fort Schanskop
Our visit to Fort Schanskop was another mildly interesting hour or two. Situated in the same general vicinity as the Voortrekker Monument, it is convenient and easy to visit the fort after walking around at the Voortrekker Monument.
Greeting you at the entrance to Fort Schanskop is a memorial with several name plates, and some family members we recognized! What a pleasure:)
Although the exhibitions in the rooms are informative, it is done in a plain and simple manner, which may seem quite boring to some people, and easily lose their attention. The Fort Schanskop shop is terrible. Rather bring your own water and chips!
Fort Schanskop is not worth a day trip, and I would not drive out specifically to see the fort alone. If you wish to visit here, I would definitely recommend that you combine it with a visit to the Voortrekker Monument, as that will fill up your day nicely.