From the outset, Park
Drive was envisaged as having large erven so as to accommodate “villa sites”. Many of the initial homes could be classified
as mansions owned by the haute monde but the succeeding generations
could either no longer afford such luxurious accommodation or they cashed in
In the manner, the
original inhabitants of Sundridge strode the same path: from manor house to
Main picture: The
original Sundridge mansion
The greatness of a nation and its moral
progress can be judged by the way that its animals are treated.
Apparently, this quote has been falsely
attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.
Nevertheless, it remains a great quote.
What is not in dispute is the following broadly similar quote from 1905
that was engraved in perpetuity (we hope) on the Horse Memorial in Port
Main picture: The ineffably humble inscription on the Horse Memorial
Not all vessels lost in
Algoa Bay up till 1847 were as a result of high winds and rough seas. HMS
Thunderbolt was one of those exceptions. This is the saga of that catastrophe
and how this treacherous reef off Cape Recife obtained its name.
Main picture: HMS Thunderbolt en route to beaching at the mouth of
the Baakens River
Memorial has been a feature of Port Elizabeth since the 11th February
1905 yet very few people are aware of the story of why the citizens
deemed it necessary to erect it.
This blog sets this to rights as told by Tennyson S. Bodill
Main picture: The Horse Remount Depot in North End during the Boer War catered for over 30 000 horses
Knockfierna (Hill of Fairies or Truth) was originally built in 1899 as an opulent grand Victorian Mansion by John Daverin, from Ireland, who was a successful Wool Merchant. John and his wife, Clothilda, brought up their seven children in the grand style befitting this era. It was then owned by Harry James Harraway and then Raymond Whitworth Hutchinson before becoming St. George’s Preparatory School.
This is the story of this mansion and its first three owners as told by Tennyson S. Bodill.
Main picture: Knockfierna circa 1900
Among many of unique
aspects of Port Elizabeth, is the fact that the location of many schools has
varied over the years as many have been relocated. One such school which
followed this trend was the Grey Junior School.
The first home of the Grey Junior School at the corner of Belmont Terrace and
natural feature of Port Elizabeth since time immemorial was a band of drift sands
stretching from Gulchways near Schoenmakerskop across the bush to Algoa Bay
between Shark River and Bird Road.
protect the town, in the 1870s it was decided to prevent the sands’ possible
movement over the town by planting bushes and trees over the sand dunes. This process
took 30 years. Apart from remnants of these dunes, none of this natural feature
remains except the sandy soil. The consequences of tampering with nature always
results in unintended consequences. In a separate blog I have addressed those
negative effects on the ecological system.
blog has been based upon an excellent article by Ivor Markman which was
published in the Herald on Monday 20th July 2009
Main picture: Mule train used to deposit refuse on the drift sands
Many of the visitors to Port Elizabeth in its formative years paint a deeply unflattering picture of the hamlet as being dull and dreary or more depressingly as “a parcel of miserable huts huddled together on the seashore”. By the 1860s that situation was being cast aside by numerous events amongst which was the opening of St. George’s Park and the erection of the majestic Town Hall.
This blog is based almost
exclusively upon an unpublished article by Tennyson S. Bodill on this event
entitled Narrative of the Park on the Hill.
Main picture: The Pearson Conservatory in 1888
Ford had a long association with Port Elizabeth until its relocation to Mamelodi, Pretoria after Ford’s disinvestment from South Africa during 1985. From its humble origins in its first factory located in an ex-woolstore in Grahamstown Road in November 1923, it was subsequently relocated to Harrower Road and then to Neave Township.
This was the first factory of Ford Motor Company in Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth approaches 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.
1 entitled Defying the Odds will be released later this year with the
other three volumes following at six-month intervals.
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