Port Elizabeth of Yore: Bushy Park

Hunt at Bushy Park

The area known as Bushy Park is today inextricably linked to the Lovemore clan. Yet it might not always have been so. In fact Henry Lovemore was not the initial owner of this land but Lt Cornelius Bolton Alcock and it was known as Klaas Kraal. Even Cornelius was not the initial applicant for this land.

 This blog is the story of those early days of Bushy Park. 

Main picture:  Hunting at Bushy Park

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Paddle Steamer Phoenix

Phoenix paddle steamer

The paddle steamer Phoenix had more than one connection with Port Elizabeth, apart from operating between Cape Town and Algoa Bay, but the other associations are more tenuous. However, it is perhaps for the nebulous reason that the name Phoenix will forever be remembered in Port Elizabeth albeit for the wrong reason.

Main picture: The paddle steamer Phoenix

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: A Port City without a Harbour

Landing of the 1820 British settlers at Algoa bay

Needless to say, but when the 1820 Settlers arrived at Port Elizabeth, there was nothing awaiting them and that included a harbour. In fact, the sum total of the population of Port Elizabeth in 1819 was 35 souls, mainly men. Yet despite exponential growth in population and port activities, Port Elizabeth never possessed a proper harbour for the first 110 years of its existence.

How did the town handle the veritable flood of imports and exports until the first permanent  jetty was constructed in 1870 and the first quay in the 1930s?

 Main picture: Settlers landing in unstable flat bottomed boats

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Polio: A Crippling Affliction now Largely Forgotten

A polio patient in an iron lung in 1938

As my father contracted polio, or poliomyelitis as it formally known, at a young age, it is one of the crippling diseases of which the McCleland family is well aware. Before the advent of vaccines in the 1940s, this scourge could not be prevented and the treatments bordered upon the barbaric. About 10% of the victims ultimately succumbed to it. Fortunately, my father’s malady was less severe as it only affected one foot. Nevertheless, one leg was shorter than the other which precluded normal sporting and other activities.  

This is the chronicle of that devastating disease, now largely forgotten.

Main picture: A polio patient in an iron lung in 1938

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The Future is E-Government

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Maybe governments employ computers to process and record transactions and store data but by a large measure, the mindset is still 19th century. At best, their current practices are still in the mid 20th century mode. What will it take to bring it in line with Best Practice?

 Pictures: All of them are photographs of Port Elizabeth 100 years ago. The main picture was taken outside the Edward Hotel in Belmont Terrace

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Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Octagon Café & the Bathing Pavillion

Octagon Cafe on Humewood beach

Many of the buildings constructed nowadays have little to recommend them. Being merely rectangular blocks, they do not enhance life through their aesthetic appeal. Maybe this is acceptable for industrial buildings but for structures along a beachfront, the bar needs to be set higher. Two buildings of yore met that criterion: the Octagon Café and the Bathing Pavillion. Sadly both are no more.

 Main picture: The Octagon Cafe on the Elizabeth Promenade

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Donkin Lighthouse

Signal Ball at Donkin Lighthouse in 1860s

Being in such close proximity to one another, I have often considered this lighthouse and the adjacent pyramid as being contemporary structures. Nothing could be further from the truth. This blog, largely based on the 1986 thesis by Jon Inggs, provides the historical detail from the conceptualisation to the erection of the Donkin Lighthouse.

Main picture: Signal Ball at Donkin Lighthouse in 1860s

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