Stanford is a peaceful little country village, situated along the banks of the Klein River, overlooked by the shaded slopes of the Akkedisberg Mountains, only twenty-four kilometers from Hermanus.
Stanford is a village known for its rich history, in the true South African tradition, but with evident British influence, dates back to 1729 when a farmer from Caledon discovered the land and made application and received a grazing permit to graze his cattle and sheep on the land. Over the years the grazing permit changed hands several times until Robert Stanford bought the land in 1838, when he retired from the British Army on half pay.
Robert Stanford supplied the Cape with fresh meat, fruit and vegetables from his farms and built a large mill for milling wheat. In 1849 he became the victim of anti-convict agitation protesting against the British Government’s decision to settle convicts in the Cape. He was in full agreement with the protest, but because he was still on half pay as an officer of the British Army he was left no choice but to provide the convict ship, Neptune, the army and the government with supplies from Stanford’s Bay, by sea to Cape Town.
Due to this colonists and banks refused to have dealings with Robert Stanford, his labourers were chased off the farm, his children expelled from school and his dying child refused medical help. He went to England to seek assistance from the British Government and received £5 000 and a knighthood. On Sir Robert’s return to the Cape he found that documents had been fabricated and the farm sold on auction, against his wishes to Philippus de Bruyn. Philippus was subdividing the farm into erven for a new town. Legend has that Sir Robert paid De Bruyn £50 to have the town named Stanford.
In 1952 the population numbered 820, whereas in 1995 there were 1800 people resident, not including owners of holiday homes. At present there are approximately 3000 residents.
Standford historic walk is a two block stroll around the central core of the village of Stanford and will take you past many old and interesting buildings. Note the interesting architecture of buildings like the Dutch Reformed Mission Church, Dutch Reformed Church and the Full Gospel Church. The first school, the first post office, the first police station, Bachelor’s Hope, Duminy’s Shop & Home, Stanford House and the Old Graveyard are among other places with interesting historical architecture to visit. The core of the village was declared a conservation area in about 1997.
New Junk Shop contains mostly items that previously were junk, now collectables: vintage toys, juke boxes, glass, mirrors, lights, brassware, Victorian bathroom fittings and antique furniture, porcelain jewellery and more.
De Kleine Rivers Valey House is one of the oldest houses in the Overberg, (1785) and home to Lady Anne’s Coffee Shop and Sir Robert’s Home of Arts and Crafts, Antiques, Collectables and Stained Glass.
Dowies the House Shop highlights the unique fusion of afro euro chic in modern interior decorating. Visitors will enjoy the experience in finding a really special gift.
Visit the Klein River Cheese Shop and Diary, where cheesemakers produce mouthwatering cheeses for your enjoyment. The only makers of the finest Gruyère cheese in South Africa.
Visit the Birkenhead Micro-brewery and restaurant and learn how their beer is made and treat yourself to tasting. Tours are every hour, on the hour, from 11h00 to 15h00 daily.