The Blue Peter Hotel as it looks today
The Galatea Figurehead - This delightful sailing ship figurehead stands proudly at the entrance to 'Justins', the private ladies bar which is a cosy cabin reserved for residents.
The Blue Peter is one of the oldest sites in Bloubergstrand, going back to the late 19th century when George Henry Stevenson, a harbour official in Cape Town and his wife Fanali, lived and ran a small shop where the hotel stands today.
Later it became a tearoom with a typically South African name "Springbok Cafe", then a small boarding house.
The name "Blue Peter" dates to 1949 when it was taken over by a former Polish consul in Cape Town, Tony Blahovski, and his socialite South African wife Freda as a restaurant. Specialising in seafood (much of it garnered from the rocks and sea a stone's throwaway) the couple established one of the finest dining and wining establishments in the Peninsula.
To complement their excellent cuisine they created a nautical ambience. The roof was painted blue, the Blue Peter hoisted and the well-known "Lord Nelson" ship's figurehead - so named because of the naval hero's famous words, "England expects every man this day to do his duty", inscribed on it, put on display.
The towering figure which now dominates the hotel's entrance is, however, not the original. This was donated by the present owners to the South African National Maritime Museum who, as a gesture of appreciation, replaced it with a copy made in its workshop.
Little is known of the origin of the figurehead, except that it is believed to have once adorned the bow of the British brig Galatea.
It was found on the beach close to the hotel after a horrendous gale in 1945 and used as a base support for chopping logs at the old Springbok Cafe. It later changed hands for the princely sum of 2s.6d. and was lovingly restored by Mitford Barberton, one of Cape Town's best known sculptors.
Looking out of the windows watching folk disporting themselves on the beach it is difficult to imagine that this was once the site of a bitter battle. Part of the power between Napoleon's forces and the British, the Battle of Blaauwberg, fought in January 1806 marked the end of the ongoing conflict between France's allies, the Dutch, and the British for mastery of the Cape.
A fleet of 63 ships landed more than 6000 men who proved their superiority over the Batavian cannon in the Blaauwberg Mountains. In the march on Cape Town, the "devilskin skirts" of the Highland Brigade routed the Batavian force, putting them to flight and marking the end of Dutch rule at the Cape.
Names of some of the protagonists - Major General Sir David Baird, Commodore Home Popham, General Janssens live on, on village street signs.
Today the Blue Peter with its picture postcard view of Table Mountain and Robben Island is a peaceful paradise for photographers and lovers of good food and wine. Sit back, relax - and enjoy!