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
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
Like all sea routes, Algoa Bay is fraught with hazards. Amongst them is Roman Rocks which is 2.5 kilometres off Humewood Beach. The problem is that it is lies 3m below the surface at low tide, thus being treacherous for foolish or unwary ship’s captains.
Main picture: Buoy off Roman Rock
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
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
Swimming in the 19th century must be understood against the backdrop of the conservative mores of that era. This resulted in a flurry of rules to prevent men and women swimming together. By the end of the century, attitudes towards “mixed swimming” were more relaxed.
This blog chronicles the saga of sea swimming in Port Elizabeth from its first attempt at the breakwater in 1866, the construction of the first swimming pool in Port Elizabeth and finally to swimming at Humewood.
Main picture: Swimming facilities at the harbour breakwater beyond the surf boats
In its final form, the Opera House might have only been opened in December 1892 but Port Elizabeth was not deprived of entertainment as its predecessor, the “New Theatre” operated from 1862.
Main picture: Engraving of the Opera house soon after it was built in 1892
More modern does not necessarily equate with better. In this regard, the Mutual Arcade in Main Street, Port Elizabeth comes to mind. From 1900 to 1958, it graced Main Street to be replaced with an insipid rectangular building.
Main picture: The Mutual Arcade circa 1904 showing shops at ground level in Main Street
From the Donkin, one has spectacular views of not only the harbour but all the way from Summerstrand to the shore at Deal Party. Amongst one of the exquisite views of Port Elizabeth, is that of an old gem, St Augustine’s Cathedral.
From a position of being the focus point of trade in Port Elizabeth in the first fifty years of Port Elizabeth’s existence to its position where it now occupies the lowly position as a parking space for the members of the Metropolitan Council.
Its name change over the years reflected this change. From Market Square to Mayor’s Garden to Vuyisile Mini Square.
Main picture: Ox Wagens filled Market Square all days of the week except Sundays