Port Elizabeth of Yore: Building’s name reflects change

Most buildings bear the same name throughout their life. This assumes that its name is not that of the tenant. In South Africa’s case, there is another reason for name change: politics. In this process, many buildings since 1994 have been renamed to reflect the new political order. In the case of this building, it has had to suffer the indignity of two names, each one to reflect this change.

In this process the Colonial Mutual Life [CML] building was renamed Pleinhuis and ultimately Noninzi Luzipho. In the case of the sale by CML in 1980 of this four storey Art Deco style building on the corner of Baakens Street and Whites Road evoked concerns regarding “insensitive changes.”

Main picture: The CML Building per La Femme 28 Aug 1996

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Port Elizabeth of Today: Threats Confronting the Swartkops River and Estuary

.In the Swartkops River and its estuary, Port Elizabeth possesses a priceless environmental jewel. Will it ultimately follow the dismal well-trodden path taken by the mouth of the Papenkuils River known as Smelly Creek. By the early 1960’s it was taking its last gasp The destruction of the habitant chocked the water flow and the ingress of industrial chemicals killed the reeds and other vegetation. Ultimately the few resilient flamingos doffed their caps and bade their millennia old sanctuary adieu. And not a tear was shed.

Too easily the same steep and slippery slope could ineluctably overwhelm nature’s defences in the Swartkops Valley.

To eliminate the threats and mitigate others, this is what the plan of action should encompass.

Main picture: The Swartkops Estuary

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Scandalous Female Cyclist of the 1890s

Outdated sexual mores impede the development of humankind in multiple ways. In a previous blog I have already dealt with all the rules and regulations preventing males and females from sharing a swim. These rules were only dispensed with on the opening of King’s Beach in the early 1900s. Unbelievably female cyclists were frowned upon for cycling, let alone for being accompanied by men. Unlike their swimming counterparts, these restrictions were normative rather than rules and regulations based.

This is the story of a female who defied those norms.

Main picture: The Brown family cycling at the Van Staadens River

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Motor Industry in the 1920s

In the space of a century, not only have the vehicles vastly improved but the modus operandi of the industry too. In this blog we will follow the work experiences of Rupert Charles Mouat during this influential period in the development of this industry which would become pivotal to rescuing Port Elizabeth from insignificance as the Transvaal grew by leaps and bounds  

Main picture: 1926 – General Motor’s first factory in Darling Street

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Loton Tipper Families of P.E.

Like all families in which multiple generations share the same names, confusion reigns but doubly so when two are equally well known. So it was with the Loton Tippers of Port Elizabeth. The father was a merchant operating in Main Street whereas his son, also Loton Tipper junior was renowned as an athlete and as an administrator. Now probably only known for a steep road in Amsterdamhoek called Tipper’s Creek.

This blog is largely derived from an article entitled The Two Loton Tippers of Port Elizabeth by Margaret Harradine. Perhaps due to being related, even if distantly to the Tippers, her insight into the family is profound.

Main picture:  Weekend and holiday cottages along the Swartkops River more than a century ago

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: When Beach Holidays meant Camping even at Humewood

Prior to the 1940s, holidays at the coast for those of modest means would automatically imply a camping holiday. It was the rare exception that a family’s coastal holiday would be in an hotel of which there was a dearth. By today’s standard’s the majority of these hotels would not even be rated as today’s One Star accommodation.

For the average family, it was either a canvas sail over one’s head or nothing at all.

Main picture: Camping at Humewood in 1910

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Architectural Style of the Grey High School

In South Africa and especially within Port Elizabeth, the picture of Grey High School is evocative of high academic standards and sporting prowess. The dream of every parent in Port Eliabeth is that their child would step inside the portals of this iconic school. All except one. The parents of my brother, Blaine, who was awarded a bursary to Grey due to his academic achievements at Hubert Hurd Primary School, but my parents rejected the offer. So, he never graced the portals of the school.

Main picture: Grey High School

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