This article has been written by Rosemary MacGeoghan in response to my request for an article on the life & times of the McCleland family at Schoenmakerskop.
Main picture: Schoenmakerskop on 10th December 1922 after the opening of Marine Drive outside Daisy’s Tea Room called THE HUT TEAROOM
Harry William McCleland and Elizabeth Daisy Beckley were married at St Alban’s Church, Draaifontein in 1904.
They farmed at Melon in the Gamtoos Valley until 1906 until they lost all their possessions in the floods of that year.
Petrus and Christina Moolman took the family in until they moved to “Die Hoek” where they built up their dairy herd, only to lose their herd to the Rinderpest in 1913/1914.
Harry, now once again insolvent, must have been a very broken man. All that he could think of was to take his wife and young children to Schoenmakerskop, a settlement he knew very well having grown up in Walmer, where his father Captain Francis McCleland farmed on the corner of what was is now 10th Avenue and Main Road.
Harry at first hired a cottage alongside the original entrance to the Priory in Buffelsfontein Road until a cottage became available at Schoenmakerskop. Within a year, the couple moved to Schoenies and Harry joined up as the First World War had already started. He was stationed in South West Africa and later in East Africa and it was here that he contracted Black Water Fever. Daisy must have been devastated. In spite of what she had already been through, she did not allow this to get her down. She did not look back. She then hired a larger house at Schoenies and opened a tea room in 1916/1917.
When Harry left his family at Schoenies [to go to war], he left an African man, Johannes, and two cows with them, Johannes would roast the coffee beans for Daisy in an iron pot over a fire in the back yard. He would also keep an eye on the cakes which were baking in the oven. He looked after the vegetable garden especially the beetroot and ground nuts [peanuts] which thrived in that soil.
Down the coast from Schoenies was a very active “fishing village” at which is now known as Sardinia Bay (approximately a 30 minute walk from Schoenies). When the telephone service came to Schoenies in the early 1920s, the fishermen on their way into PE with their wagon loaded with fish would sometimes stop at the tearoom and ask the family to please ring “Port tree, Port two” to send out another wagon as they were having a good run of fish. Just recently we found out that the telephone number No 4342 belonged to Oelofse Fisheries way back in the 1920s.
When Harry McCleland contracted Black Water Fever in East Africa, he was sent to Addington Hospital in Durban and later to Wynberg Military Hospital in Cape Town. In 1919 he left Cape Town for home by ship. As the ship approached the waters around Sardinia Bay and Schoenmakerskop, Harry was on deck and to his amazement, there were the fishing boats out of Sardinia Bay. He shouted to them, drawing their attention and was able to throw his pith helmet to them. He asked them to take it to Mrs. Mac at the tearoom. When the ship arrived in Algoa Bay, his wife Daisy was already there to greet him.
When Harry left his family in PE (what is now Buffelsfontein Road), he registered Kathleen at the recently opened Mount Pleasant School on 7th April 1914 and according to the School Register she left at the end of Sub B on 15th December 1915. Kathleen and her brother, Cliff, attended boarding school in Alexandria. Kathleen stayed in the Girls Boarding School ( a building that was still standing in 1980) where every evening after supper the Dutch Minister would read from the Bible and then there would be prayers with the girls. Of course it was all in High Dutch.
At the end of 1920, Kathleen had to leave the school to come home and help in the home. Harry never fully recovered from Black Water Fever and experienced extreme pains at times. He never worked again. He died in 1925.
Bryce attended the Walmer Primary School (4th Avenue and Fordyce Road). Each Sport’s Day, Bryce would arrive home with the cup that he had won, tied to his bicycle. Many a time Bryce would stay with his sister Kathleen in Walmer, but more often than not, he would cycle to school from Schoenies.
The Gluckman family were regular visitors to the tearoom and it was Mr Gluckman who advised Daisy to buy a Trader’s Licence to purchase her groceries. It was also Mr Gluckman who lent her £ 50 to purchase the tearoom in 1918. Early in 1922, there appeared in the EP Herald, a Municipal tender asking for someone to provide tea and cake to whoever took part in the opening of the Marine Drive.
Daisy McCleland’s tender of £ 50 was accepted. On Saturday 10th December 1922, 150 cars assembled in front of the City Hall [Market Square] before leaving on a trip around the new Marine Drive. Tea and cake was served to all who came and Daisy made a handsome profit.
In the early 1930s, Mrs McCleland was approached by a member of the Richardson family with a view to purchasing her property – Daisy owned the plots in either side of the tea room – to erect a hotel and tea garden. Needless to say, Daisy was not interested in the offer to purchase. Mrs McCleland was then told that soon they would be opening at Sea View and, most likely, her business would suffer as they would also be serving “tea and cake.”
Needless to say, the “Hut Tea Room” as Daisy’s Tea Room was called, flourished with its home baked cakes and the Seaview tearoom with its bought out cakes fizzled out.