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The Athenaeum is a handsome Victorian villa built towards the end of the 19th century.  The building stands in a modern office park adjacent to the Newlands railway station and the Newlands Cricket Ground (now Sahara Park).  Its turrets, bay windows and verandahs supported on wooden columns make a lasting impression on people.

The name of the building is derived from the Greek Athenaion meaning temple of Athene, the goddess of wisdom.  Modern interpretations are a literary or scientific club, or a public institution for lectures, reading, etc.  The Athenaeum in London was founded in 1824 as an association of men of distinction in literature, art and learning.

The Athenaeum, Newlands, has served the objectives for which it was established, namely :

  • To promote the interests of art, cultural, professional and scientific societies, and to encourage co-operation between them;
  • To afford facilities of all kinds and to acquire and maintain suitable accommodation for scientific and cultural activities; and
  • Generally to promote and encourage the advancement and dissemination of knowledge, and interest in cultural and scientific matters.

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Dedicated to Serving the needs of Scientific and Cultural Societies