South African International Exhibition
BIE-classUnrecognized exposition
NameSouth African International Exhibition
CountryCape Colony
CityCape Town, Cape Colony
Coordinates33°55′42″S 18°25′07″E / 33.9282485°S 18.41851°E / -33.9282485; 18.41851
Opening15 February 1877
Closure17 November 1877

The South African International Exhibition held in Cape Town, Cape Colony was a world's fair held in 1877[1] which opened on 15 February[2][3] by Henry Bartle Frere.


The exhibition was held in the grounds of the Lodge de Goede Hoop which was being used for the Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope[4] in a building erected for the exhibition.[5] The building was built of wood, iron, and glass which measured 184 x 78 feet; 56 feet high; and cost £10,027.[citation needed]


During 1876 Signor Cagli had canvassed American and European industries to exhibit “manufactures of all kinds”[4] which were to be grouped in 10 classes: "alimentation", chemicals (perfume, medicine and surgical equipment), furniture, fabric and jewellery, transport, hardware, machinery, agriculture, science and education, and miscellany.[5]

Exhibitors included Wertheim safes;[6] Taylor's sewing machines, who won a medal;[7] Sheffield based Samuel Marshall who showed hooks, hay knives, scythes and sheep shears[8] and linen manufacturers Rylands & Sons who won a prize (and another a year later at the Paris exhibition).[9]

There were 395 exhibitors from 14 nations:


After the exhibition, the main building was used as an assembly hall and a theatre, known as the Exhibition Theatre. In the afternoon of 21 February 1892, carpenters and scenery painters were preparing for a new play when a fire broke out about 3:30, near the theatre entrance. In less than one hour, the entire building was destroyed along with the adjoining Masonic Lodge and Native Affairs Office.[10]


  1. ^ Pelle, Findling, ed. (2008). "Appendix D:Fairs Not Included". Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 424. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9.
  2. ^ "Cape Colony: South African International Exhibition, Cape Town". Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Event View - Calendar – Iziko Museums". Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Lodge de Goede Hoop and the Cape House of Assembly | Grand Lodge of South Africa - Southern Division". Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b Chemical News, Manufacturing chemists, 20 October 1776, p. 169
  6. ^ "Biography of the founder - Wertheim". Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  7. ^ "WILLIAM TAYLOR SEWING MACHINE, SEWALOT". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Exhibitions Study Guide v1-0 PDF.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Rylands & Sons Ltd | Science Museum Group Collection". Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  10. ^ The 1892 South African and International Exhibition, Kimberley. Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum, South African and International Exhibition. [Kimberley]: McGregor Museum. 1992. ISBN 0-620-17087-5. OCLC 34046200.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)