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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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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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Swimming


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

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Market Square


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

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