The Blue Peter is one of the oldest sites in Bloubergstrand, dating back to the late 19th century when George Henry Stevenson - a Cape Town harbour official - and his wife Fanali ran a small shop where the hotel stands today. It later became a tearoom with the typically South African name of 'Springbok Cafe'. It then changed again, this time into a small boarding house.
The origin of the name dates back to 1949, when it was taken over by Tony Blahovski - a former Polish consul in Cape Town - and his socialite South African wife Freda. The couple transformed the former boarding house into one of the Peninsula's finest wining and dining establishments.
To complement their largely seafood-based menu, Tony and Freda chose a nautical theme. They painted the roof blue and hoisted the Blue Peter flag. The well-known Lord Nelson ship's figurehead – named for the naval hero's famous words, “England expects every man this day to do his duty,” inscribed on it – was also put on display.
Little is known regarding 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 blew through the area in 1945, and was subsequently used as a base support for chopping logs at the old Springbok Cafe. It later changed hands for the princely sum of 2 shillings and 6 pence, and was lovingly restored by Mitford Barberton - one of Cape Town's best-known sculptors.
As you look out the dining room's windows onto the folk disporting themselves on the beach it is difficult to imagine that this was once the site of a bitter battle. 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 control of the Cape. The battle may be long forgotten, but the names of some of the protagonists – Major General Sir David Baird, Commodore Home Popham, General Janssens live on, on the village's street signs.
Today the Blue Peter, with its picture postcard view of Table Mountain and Robben Island, is a peaceful paradise for holidaymakers, photographers and lovers of good food and wine.