Port Elizabeth of Yore : Volume 1 – Defying the Odds – Now Available

This volume is now available as follows: Soft cover = R 250, hard cover R475 plus shipment costs to SA destinations at R100. Copies of the book can be collected in Joburg from Dean [082 801 5446], Cape Town from Blaine [074 103 7137] and at Port Elizabeth from Alan [084 981 8491 oe 041 368 1304]. Alternatively email Dean at deanm@orangedotdesigns.co.za.

Banking details:

Bank: Standard Bank Branch: Clearwater Mall Account number: 00 294 451 0 Swift code for overseas payments: SBZAZAJJ Reference: Will be provided before EFT is performed

As Port Elizabeth celebrated its bicentenary in April 2020, this event has to be celebrated for not only was it the birth of a new town, but it was also home to many of our ancestors. This four-volume set of books records those birth pangs and well as the people and events which over the next 150 years made Port Elizabeth what it is today.

Comments on the back cover

Initially Port Elizabeth was only earmarked as a landing place for the British settlers and not as their destination. Yet in the thirty-year period from 1820 to 1850, contrary to expectations it experienced a tremendous growth spurt. So prodigious in fact was its expansion that it even overtook Cape Town in terms of the volume of exports.

This is the story of the people and events that form the basis of this incredible journey.

This book forms part of a four-volume series which takes the reader on the fascinating odyssey from the original inhabitants – the Khoi – through the town’s development into an entrepôt, wool processor and exporter to its pinnacle as the Detroit of South Africa.

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Visit by Sir George Grey in October 1858

Visits by dignitaries to Port Elizabeth were always an occasion for celebration and revelry. So, it was with the whistle-stop visit to Port Elizabeth on the 21st October 1858 when the whole town was invited to attend a welcoming parade.

Many of the issues raised during this visit are still of interest today either due their being topical or their casting a light on distant practices. But at the risk of overstatement, the original verbatim reports are somewhat jarring for the reader today, as the level of sycophancy displayed when the residents address the Governor, is cringeworthy.

Main picture: Painting of Sir George Grey by Daniel Louis Mundy in the 1860s

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Norman Lovemore: Reminiscences about a Life Well-Lived

As his life wound down but before the candle of his life guttered and fizzled out, Norman Lovemore “decided to amuse myself by rambling amongst the many memories which haunt [ed him]”. In 1982 in the twilight of his life, he set out on a new adventure, a journey to record the highways and byways of his interesting life for posterity. The only detours that he made was to knowingly exclude those parts of this journey of which he was ashamed.   

In using Norman Lovemore’s transcribed reminiscences, I have largely retained the original script but have detoured to improve readability and have often converted the first person into the third person. I have also taken the liberty to improve his grammar and vocabulary where required. In all other respects I have been faithful to Norman’s original text.

Main picture: Norman Lovemore as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during WW1

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Christian Science Church in Park Drive

The beauty of the Christian Science Church is to be found in its external appearance; the strong form of the simplified, lofty three arched entrance and well-proportioned lines of the structure make it one of the finest examples of stylised nee-Gothic churches in this region. It possibly reflects overtones of Californian/ Mediterranean architecture.

In 1995, this structure residing at No 110a Park Drive would be no more.

Main picture: Christian Science Church Port Elizabeth (Restorica 1996)

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Park Lodge of Samuel Bain

The first sale of park lands took place on 16 September 1863. The income from the sale of the lots was to be used for the development and maintenance of the park. The first owners to build on these lots were Samuel Bain and William Pattinson. They were regarded as living in the country because their homes were some distance from the town.

This blog and subsequent blogs on houses in this street were supplied by Tennyson Smith Bodill for which I am grateful.

Main picture: This 1907 shows Samuel Bain’s house is on the left of Nazareth House  

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