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 email@example.com.
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
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
On the various Facebook sites related to Port Elizabeth, it is always stated that this well-known hotel from the latter half of the 19th century was situated on the corner of Russell Road yet none of the photographs of that corner actually show this hotel where it is alleged to be located.
After gnawing at him, and with his unpaid job on the line, the Technical Editor made a breakthrough at 4am this morning 18th April 2021. Unlike Archimedes’ Eureka moment, he was not lying in a bath of hot water, Blaine was lying in a hot bed. Neither did he break curfew and run naked through the streets of Plumstead disturbing everyone (and we are not talking about him shouting “EUREKA!” either. It could also have been called a lightbulb moment, but given the vagaries of Eskom, this is a rare event nowadays.
Moreover, why did this misunderstanding arise?
Main picture: Steinmann’s Commercial Hotel
What can be learned from examining a map in detail? Plenty. But in this case not so much. Being a military map, it does not include all the non-military buildings. This does have an advantage as it eliminates all the clutter. Hence it provides an overall perspective
Main picture: The complete 1837 military map of Port Elizabeth as drawn by the Royal Engineers
During the first British occupation of the Cape, the puny settlement at Algoa Bay found itself threatened by raiding Xhosa & khoikhoi warriors. For defence, the British soldiers constructed an extemporised fortification known as Star Fort on the Ferreira River [today’s Papenkuils River]. This inexpensive fort dug in the shape of a star around Thomas Ferreira’s house, would act as the settlement’s first fortification.
With the imminent threat to the settlement, comprising mainly mud huts around the mouth of the Baakens River, a more substantial redoubt was required. To meet this exigency, shortly thereafter a blockhouse was constructed by the Royal Engineers at the drift across the Baakens Lagoon, now sadly no more. This would be Port Elizabeth’s second fortification but did ever serve a useful purpose or was it ill-designed and located for the task at hand?
Main picture: 1803 Gesigt van Fort Frederick en Algoa Baai, Willem Bartolome Eduard Paravicini Di Cappelli, H103
As the Trek Boere moved ever eastward during the 1700s, the eastern boundary of the Cape Colony was itself relocated to the next large river. Initially in the 1700s the area surrounding the future town of Port Elizabeth was simply known as Algoa Bay which fell under the large district known as Graaff Reinet. In early 1800s, this district was bifurcated with the southern portion being called Uitenhage after the town established in 1804.
Surprisingly even though Uitenhage was the seventh district to be established, within three decades after being populated by the Trek Boere, it had achieved a sizable heft in certain aspects.
This surprising situation is illustrated various tables shown in Theal’s Records of the Cape Colony.
Main picture: Districts of the Cape Colony in 1806
This blog shines the spotlight on one of the original teachers at Alexander Road High School. It is a transcription from an article entitled OBITUARY: MISS LAUREEN ALMA CHILCOTT 1914-2007 by Peter Chilcott, her nephew.
Miss Chilcott taught at Alex from 1955 until her retirement in 1973.
Main picture: Miss Chilcott
The name Londt does not resonate with the overwhelming majority of today’s residents of Port Elizabeth yet the word “Edworks” might do so. Unlike other entrepreneurs whose names are used as the name of the business, this never happened in this case. In short order, after a chance encounter, William Edward Londt and Frank Parker , were instrumental in establishing a major footwear manufacturing facility in Port Elizabeth.
While none might have heard of William Edward Londt, at least some must have heard of his other legacy; the St John’s Stella Londt Retirement Centre, in Sunridge Park.
Main picture: Edworks factory
Behind every successful company established in Port Elizabeth was an innovative entrepreneur. In the case of Mangold Engineering, it was James Christian Mangold. James would establish Mangold Brothers which would rapidly become the largest engineering company in Port Elizabeth.
Main picture: Mangold Engineering in Horton Street in 1966
In a recent blog I queried whether it was wise to award a contract to Karpowership to supply 1220MW of gas turbine power at 3 sites around South Africa. This objection was based purely on the costs that seemed to have been accepted by Eskom which I believe is overpriced by 50%. Setting that objection aside, I am fully in favour of a land-based turbine solution.
Main picture: Five of Ankerlig’s 148MW open cycle gas turbines
Eskom is on the verge of signing a 20-year deal for Karpowership to provide 1220MW of ship-based power for 20 years at 3 locations around South Africa. The contract does not include the land side costs of connecting to the grid i.e., switchgear, transformers and distribution lines. It also probably does not include the wharfage costs payable to Portnet.
Main picture: Gas turbine