Several examples of the Victorian fashion of cast-iron (or carved wooden) lattice trellis work can be seen in Grahamstown.

This ornate ironwork is charmingly known as Broekie Lace because it resembles the lace edgings on women’s underwear (broekies = panties).  Introduced by the English settlers, these trims were applied to the eaves of corrugated iron veranda roofs, which were often supported on slender cast-iron columns and cast-iron brackets.

Cast-iron railings made an attractive addition to homes and gardens.

18 thoughts on “BROEKIE LACE

    • I plan to take more photographs once we can really get out and about with ease for there are a variety of patterns, some of which are carved in wood.


    • I notice a return to fine details like this in the refurbishing of some older houses, although the modern versions are very often moulded from materials other than cast-iron. They do lend an air of elegance to a veranda.

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  1. I was a student in Grahamstown many years ago and I never tired of walking past those lovely old houses with their verandas adorned with broekie lace iron work. Definitely the very best houses have verandas.


    • When we built our house in Pietermaritzburg, I was disappointed not to have a veranda – until I realised how much extra it would cost to build! Our farmhouse in the Lowveld had a veranda around three sides of it which cooled the house in the most wonderful manner during the hot summers.

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      • Those old farmhouses with the verandas on three sides were just perfect. We have pretend verandas at our house – two decks adjoining the house that are partially roofed. I love that feeling of being neither quite inside nor outside. Initially we did not put up roofing, but then we did so as to be able to sit outside even during summer rains. There is no broekie lace though – not even that pretend plastic broekie lace …

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