Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Swartkops Mineral Spa

Swartkops Mineral Baths after the developments in 1939

Today taking a cure at a mineral spa is definitely out of vogue. The belief in the curative properties of the various minerals was widely extolled. Even Erwin Rommel, at the height of WW2, spent time at a spa. Perhaps it was the relaxation that was the cure and not the minerals. Nevertheless, the supposed healing properties were invoked by all and sundry.  

Even Port Elizabethians adopted this cure, now a distant memory 

Main picture:  Swartkops Mineral Baths after the developments in 1936  Continue reading

Port Elizabeth’s Driftsands and Dune Fields: Nature’s Equilibrium Disturbed

Map showing the dune field systems in 1890. Summerstrand & Humewood were just one big sand dune

Interfering with Mother Nature might not produce a Newtonian response i.e. an action is followed by an equal and opposite reaction. Rather it generates sometimes arbitrary unintended consequences but responses nevertheless. In the case of Port Elizabeth, there has been interference with nature on a vast scale in the southeast area relating to the driftsands and the dune fields. 

The ultimate consequence of these ill-conceived projects to redirect nature will result in the denuding of all the main beaches in Port Elizabeth, stripping Port Elizabeth of a potential tourist asset. 

Main picture: Map showing the dune field systems in 1890. Summerstrand & Humewood were just one big sand dune

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Floods of November 1867

South End - View of Rudolph Street after the flood in November 1867

Port Elizabeth periodically experiences floods. Amongst the most devastating was the flood of 20th & 21st November 1867.  Perhaps its effect was exacerbated by the fact that the roads were not tarred and as the flood waters gushed down the natural water courses, formally kloofs or streams, it caused mayhem. 

Main picture: Rudolph Street, South End after the floods of November 1867

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Birth of South End

Port Elizabeth from South End in 1930

South End has experienced a tumultuous past. From devastating floods in 1867 to the destruction of a culturally diverse community through Forced Removals in the 1960s, South End has experienced it all. 

The focus of this blog is the initial beginnings when the Baakens River isolated South End from Port Elizabeth and its subsequent transformation from a huge farm into a residential area. 

Main picture: Port Elizabeth from an agrarian South End in 1830

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Disreputable Side in the Early Days

The sea wall from the jetty

Viewed through the sanguine eyes of nostalgia, Port Elizabeth in its formative years is naively viewed as idyllic. This is not necessarily true. Apart from the usual domestic spats, in many ways, Port Elizabeth reflected a “frontier town” with all its travails. 

This blog exposes the seamy, sleazy underbelly of that era. 

Main picture: The sea wall from the north jetty in 1885. Beyond it was the Strand Street, the den of iniquity

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