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DateOriginal Topic
7th January 2004buildings at Roarkes Drift
By mike grigg
I'm looking at creating a model of Roakes Drift, is there anybody got any plans of buildings for size, and surrounding lands. Any info will help me.
7th January 2004John Young

A good thing to start with is John Chard's map, on this site -

Chard also did some drawings which appear in Norman Holme's book 'The Silver Wreath'.

Hope that helps.

John Y.
7th January 2004Keith Smith

The following extract from Rev. George Smith's account might be useful, since it gives the approximate size of the buildings:

"The dwelling house standing as above described, was over 80 feet in length, the side wall on the left running back nearly 60 feet.

"Forty paces to the left, but with its frontage line of 80 feet running parallel with the extreme back wall of the dwelling house, was another block of buildings, consisting of large store rooms, wagon-house, stable, &c. These buildings extended back 52 feet. Almost parallel with the extreme left wall of this block of buildings, with only a space of ten or twelve feet intervening, a stone wall extended to the edge of the ledge of rocks, forming the right wall of a kraal some 50 feet square, which was divided in half by another similar and parallel wall."
12th January 2004Mike McCabe
The Chard sketch appears in several versions, showing signs of having been copied for him by a draughtsman. There are minor variations (for example) in the sandbag 'lunette', and the short stretch of sandbagging at the inner corner of the "hospital" building. Also, by being printed "long side horizontal" it can create an impression that the two buildings were roughly on an east-west alignment, when their true alignment is something like NNE to SSW, with the Commissariat store being the northermost building. Focusing on the building in isolation can also be slightly misleading, and you might find it useful to seek out a copy of the Laband and Thompson Zulu War Battlefield Guide, whose line drawings give a better idea of how the various Zulu attacks most probably rolled in and developed.
You also need to look very carefully at the sketches that support Chard's February 1880 Report to Queen Victoria (in the Silver wreath). There is very much more detail there than most people realise, especially as you try to work out the 3D shape, size and configuration of the various buildings and walls. For example, in some versions of the Chard sketch, the box wall is drawn to show two rows of boxes, one behind the other. Also, the Lady Butler picture shows some interesting detail, based on interviewing participants. For example, she indicates that the box wall was probably built using boxes of various shapes and sizes, and not just boxes that were all the same size or type.