The Campanile was erected to commemorate the landing of the 1820 Settlers and is situated at the entrance to the railway station and docks in Strand Street, the spot where it is said the settlers landed in Port Elizabeth. The architects were Jones & McWilliams with construction starting in 1920 and it was completed in 1922.
The Campanile Memorial has a climb of 204 steps that takes one to the Observation Room, offering a magnificent view of the harbour and surroundings, more than 52m above the city. The Campanile contains the largest carillon of bells in the country in addition to its chiming clock. When it’s song time, the tower tops ring out with a carillon of 23 bells, conjuring nostalgic cries of history.
For the purposes of this blog, I have divided the this history into three arbitrary periods viz The Beginning: 1922 to 1932, the Charl Malan Quay 1933 to 1999 and the Modern Period 2000 to 2016.
The Beginning: 1922 to 1932
The year 1923 and the Campanile is getting christened with a Royal Audience. H R H Prince Arthur of Connaught returned to Port Elizabeth on this day to open the tower officially. The tower had been erected at a final cost of £5 940, but there was as yet no clock and no bells for the proposed carillon, and efforts were set afoot to raise funds for that purpose. Eventually, a clock specially manufactured by Joyce of Whitechurch, England, was installed by a local firm of clock and watchmakers, J Joseph and Sons, and was set going at 12 noon on 28 April 1925. This clock, which strikes the Westminister chimes, has four large dials and the movement is driven by means of a pendulum and drive-weight which is wound every Friday. The strike mechanism, manufactured by that fine old English firm of clockmakers and bellfounders, Gillett and Johnston Limited of Croydon, Surrey, was installed during 1936 when the bells were hung.
The Charl Malan Quay: 1933 to 1999
The Modern Period: 2000 to 2016
Wikipedia: History of the Campanile
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