In 1809 Andre Albertus Bruins applied to Lord Charles Somerset for land near Simon’s Town for his fishing business. It is possible that at this time Bruins was already occupying the land he wanted and which was suitable for his needs. This was not unusual for the time – finding out the suitability and then applying for legal status. In 1823 Somerset, the Cape Governor, granted him legal title of 177 square roods 112 square feet. At this time the land fronted the sea with a small beach convenient for his fishing business. A clause in the grant stated that no public wine house could be kept! Bruins died in 1837 and his son with the same names as his father, occupied Klein Vishoek.
In their day the Bruins family were large landowners in Vissershoek (present Fish Hoek and Clovelly). Reading the conditions
that came with the application for the grant was interesting. Individuals were to be allowed to catch fish and the beach was to remain open to the public. The government was entitled to dig for iron stone, the grantee’s ox kraal was to be open to passing travellers, water sources suitable for human consumption was to be kept in good condition. Certain of the water sources were to be kept aside for domestic animals and nearby land was to be used for grazing animals.
The Bruins family members continued the fishing business until near the end of the 1890’s. They sold fresh fish, salted fish to local people as well as to customers as far as Fransch Hoek and Wellington for cash or as a barter for fresh vegetables. Ships too were customers but in 1896 the Bruins era came to an end when Klein Vishoek, plus fishing rights was bought for 500 pounds by Dirk van Breda from the widow Mrs Jacoba Bruins.
Time brings change. The railway line to Simon’s Town cut the house from the sea. During the 1930s until sometime in the 1940s it stood empty. In 1959 the Marine Oil Refineries bought it and the fishing rights. Six years later it was once more sold to a Doctor Oberholzer. Some time later, it was said, that the thatched roof of the house was set alight by a passing steam train. Next a Mr & Mrs Chaplin bought the house and restored it but in 1982 the South African Navy became the new owners. By the way this property is next door to the lower North Battery.