If you were able to put the genie back in the bottle, what changes to the historic Port Elizabeth should not have been made or what should have been done differently.
Main picture: St Mary’s Church’s frontage in Main Street with the elegant building behind hidden from view by the UBS Building
It is not ostensibly a case of lack of funds nor was it a case of wilful neglect, but by the 1840s, despite Port Elizabeth’s harbour exceeding Cape Town for exports, it still operated directly from the beaches. The so-called landing beaches stretched along the beach from Jetty Street to the mouth of the Baakens River.
The loading and unloading vessels at anchor in the Bay has been dealt with in a prior blog. Instead this article, deals with the management of the vessels in the Bay.
Main picture: Vessels at anchor in Algoa Bay
The 1848 edition of the Eastern Province Directory and Almanac includes an article entitled “Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth” by J.C. Chase. Portion of this article is reproduced below.
Main picture: Paddle Steamer Phoenix
By the 1840s, the Postal Services had evolved into a largely efficient and regular service with its own offices and fulltime employees. With their clients’ expectations raised, customer service was a priority. In the newspapers, residents lambasted the Post Office for all lapses much to the Colonial Government’s chagrin.
The next innovation for this essential service would be the introduction of stamps, an essential link in the chain to ensure that all revenue was correctly and comprehensively accounted for.
Main picture: The second dedicated Post Office building is on the right, opposite the Town Hall and next to the original Phoenix Hotel
The continuing tale of the establishment of the postal services in Port Elizabeth from its inception in Cape Town until its extension to Uitenhage and by implication to Algoa Bay before 1820.
This part deals with the postal service from the appointment of the hamlet’s second Postmaster, George Ubsdell in 1828 until the resignation of the Postmistress, Mrs Biggar, the third Postmaster after William Dunn and George Ubsdell.
Main picture: The first dedicated Post Office in Port Elizabeth in the building with the picket fence Continue reading
Before the advent of the internet, the telephone and the telegraph, the state of the art method of communication was the Postal Service. The speed of this service was a function of the speed of the ship, the horse and the cart. History is replete with examples of orders issued being overtaken by events. Take the example of commands from England. They could take five months to reach the Cape.
Main picture: A Post Cart crossing the drift at the bottom of Van Staden’s Pass
This hotel has been through a number of iterations over the years and is no more as it has been converted into offices.
Main picture: The Algoa House prior to its conversion into the Algoa House Hotel
Most residents have probably heard of Sharwood’s or even filled up at one of their garages but what most would not be aware of was that Alec Sharwood was both an entrepreneur and an innovator. Prior to Sharwood introducing a fuel pump at his first garage, vehicles were laboriously refuelled by decanting petrol from a drum.
Sharwood’s was to change all of that.
Main picture: A great moment in Port Elizabeth’s motoring history as a Whippet motor car on a round-the-Union publicity drive calls at the City’s most modern filling station during the late 1920s. In the white coat, shaking hands with the driver, is Alec Sharwood.
In 1891, William Alcock displayed his penchant for photography by attending the inaugural meeting of the Port Elizabeth Photographic Society on the 27th July held in the Algoa House Hotel in Western Road. Alcock was appointed its first Chairman.
This is an eclectic collection of photographs taken by William Alcock.
Main picture: July 1902. The first motor car to successfully negotiate Van Stadens Pass – a 4.5 hp Benz owned by W. Alcock
Also known as the Linden or Linton Reservoir, this lake is an oasis in the centre of the residential and industrial suburb and North End. Averaging a depth of three metres, at its deepest it measures four metres. Its verdant grassy banks invite visitors to partake in one of the activities such as boating, fishing and water-skiing.
Main picture: North End Lake