Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: The Bathing House at Humewood Beach

Tempis fugit – Time flies. I am unsure whether one would refer to the 50th anniversary of this building’s demolition as its golden anniversary, but I can vividly recall the floods of 1968 and this building even though I never once used the facilities. 

Probably one of the only elegant buildings constructed in Humewood during the turn of the century, it evinced an era of formality in beach attire more akin for modern day formal attire.

Main picture: Humewood Bathing House in the background

Probably for reasons of modesty and decency, a ladies’ bathing house was constructed on this site adjacent to the Shark River soon after the opening of this area. This facility was demolished in 1913 to allow for the construction of the Bathing House.

Area prior to the construction of the Bathing House

With increasing usage of the beach and due to the fact that the only form of transport to the beach was the tram and travelling aboard a public conveyance in a bathing costume was considered indecent, a proper changing facility on the beach front became a necessity.

New tram extension to Humewood

As part of the beach improvement project, both the bathing house and the adjoining promenade as envisaged by the Municipality, was designed by A.S. Butterworth. On the Friday 4th July 1913, the foundation stone of the new bathing house was laid by the Mayoress, Mrs. A.W. Guthrie. The building contractor was Kohler & Sons.  This building was constructed with a reinforced concrete foundation based upon rock.

Humewood Bathing House

This facility was officially opened on Saturday 6th December 1913.

In January 1923, extensions to the Bathing House were completed while a ticket kiosk and a bookshop were added in 1926.

Bathing House after the extensions

After the floods in September 1968, this building was demolished presumably because of damage sustained in the flood.

Floods in 1968

Source

Port Elizabeth: A Social Chronicle to the end of 1945 by Margaret Harradine (2004, Historical Society of Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth)

 

More blogs in the Lost Artefacts series

 

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: The Bathing House at Humewood Beach

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: The Bathing House at Humewood Beach

 

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Union Castle Corner

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Union Castle Corner

 

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: The Cleghorn’s Building

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: The Cleghorn’s Building

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Swartkops Mineral Spa

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Swartkops Mineral Spa

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Octagon Café & the Bathing Pavillion

 

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Octagon Café & the Bathing Pavillion

 

 

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Mutual Arcade

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Mutual Arcade

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Customs House

 

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Customs House

 

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Palmerston, its predecessors and successors

 

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Palmerston, its predecessors and successors

 

 

 

 

 

 


2 Comments

  1. Remember it well. Went there when I was ten, with my grandfather. They used to go for an early morning dip – in dressing gown! Also recall the flood of 68 which caused tree trunks and debris to end up on the shore.
    Great pictures – particularly those trams.
    You provide an incredibly valuable service.

    Reply

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