Port Elizabeth of Yore: The First Source of Water

As David Raymer points out in his excellent book on the water supply to Port Elizabeth entitled, “Streams of Life,”Until 1880 the greatest problem [that] the settlement of Port Elizabeth faced was the question of a dependable and adequate supply of fresh water for the residents.”

This blog covers the first attempt to address this conundrum.

Main picture: One of the original wells in Port Elizabeth

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Market Square used as a Market

For the first forty-five years of Port Elizabeth’s existence, Market Square was the focal point of trade in farmers’ produce in Port Elizabeth.  During 1865, the Municipality relocated the Market close to the Law Courts’ Building, but subsequent civic pressure forced them to relent. This was temporary respite as it ultimately had to be permanently relocated elsewhere. 

This blog covers the period to 1865 when the Market was held in Market Square. 

Main picture: Market Square and Castle Hill circa 1860 painted by Mrs J Clark. The free-standing house was the original dedicated Post Office

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Quo Vadis: The Future of Main Street

Architecturally Main Street has arguably evolved through four stages in its 200-year history. At the risk of offending the sensibilities of certain of the residents, put in the starkest terms, these stages reflect both the demographics and the economic status of the town. But this venerable street now faces the prospect of terminal decline. It is my strongly held opinion that unless alternative uses are found for the area, whatever architectural merit remains of this area, and this includes Central PE generally, will be irreparably lost forever.

That begs the questions of how and what.

This blog merely serves to raise the warning flag and offer some ideas of what may be done. In its starkest terms, a more comprehensive integrated long-term plan is required to address this issue.

Main picture: Main Street during the transition from the initial plain double storey structures with shops on the ground floor and living accommodation on the first floor to more elegant structures complimenting the graceful Town Hall.

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A.J. Montgomery: Part 10 – Life after the 10th Hussars

After enlisting in the 10th Hussars and undergoing training, war erupted being the two Boer Republics and the British. The 10th Hussars were immediately mobilised and shipped to the Cape Colony. After spending the whole war on active service without respite, Arthur John Montgomery requested a discharge from the Army. This was not to endure. The monotony of civilian life swiftly disabused Arthur of that notion. Soon he had re-enlisted but this time with the Cape Mounted Rifles in the Cape Colony. 

AJ’s narrative has been edited for readability and grammar, but it still largely remains the voice of the author narrating his impressions, concerns and fears while providing vivid images of war. 

Main picture: Photograph of A.J. Montgomery in his later years   Continue reading

A.J. Montgomery: Part 1 – Enlistment and Training with the 10th Hussars

A member of the 10th Hussars and a survivor of the sinking of the SS Ismore near Paternoster, Arthur John Montgomery recounts his part in the successful routing of the Boer forces in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In this episode, Arthur Montgomery recalls his enlistment and training with the 10th Hussars in Ireland and England. When war was declared against the Boer Republics, the 10th Hussars were shipped to the Cape Colony where Arthur experiences the whole gamut of warfare. Initially it was conventional in that large opposing forces would clash but after the Boers’ defeat at Diamond Hill outside Pretoria, the war devolved into guerrilla hit-and-run type actions.

AJ’s original narrative has been edited for readability and grammar, sometimes substantially, but it still remains largely the voice of the author narrating his impressions, concerns and fears while providing vivid images of war. 

Main picture: Painting of A.J. Montgomery of the 10th Hussars 

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A.J. Montgomery: Part 9 – Through the Cape Colony hunting the Cape Rebels

A member of the 10th Hussars and a survivor of the sinking of the SS Ismore near Paternoster, Arthur John Montgomery recounts his part in the successful routing of the Boer forces in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In this episode Arthur Montgomery recalls his part in hunting down the Boer rebels in the Cape Colony including the stunning capture of Commandant Scheepers

AJ’s narrative has been edited for readability and grammar, but it still largely remains the voice of the author narrating his impressions, concerns and fears while providing vivid images of war.

 Main picture: Painting of A.J. Montgomery of the 10th Hussars 

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A.J. Montgomery: Part 8 – Mounted Infantry Actions in the Eastern Transvaal

A member of the 10th Hussars and a survivor of the sinking of the SS Ismore near Paternoster, Arthur John Montgomery recounts his part in the successful routing of the Boer forces in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In this episode Arthur Montgomery recalls his part in the mounted operations against the Boers subsequent to the victory at Diamond Hill north east of Pretoria in the Transvaal.

AJ’s narrative has been edited for readability and grammar, but it still largely remains the voice of the author narrating his impressions, concerns and fears while providing vivid images of war.

Main picture: Painting of A.J. Montgomery of the 10th Hussars 

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A.J. Montgomery: Part 7 – From the Vaal to the Battle of Diamond Hill

A member of the 10th Hussars and a survivor of the sinking of the SS Ismore near Paternoster, Arthur John Montgomery recounts his part in the successful routing of the Boer forces in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In this episode Arthur Montgomery recalls his part in the attack on Diamond Hill north east of Pretoria in the Transvaal.

AJ’s narrative has been edited for readability and grammar, but it still largely remains the voice of the author narrating his impressions, concerns and fears while providing vivid images of war.

Main picture: Painting of A.J. Montgomery of the 10th Hussars  Continue reading

A.J. Montgomery: Part 6 – Skirmishes through the Free State to the Vaal

A member of the 10th Hussars and a survivor of the sinking of the SS Ismore near Paternoster, Arthur John Montgomery recounts his part in the successful routing of the Boer forces in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In this episode Arthur Montgomery recalls his part in the various skirmishes after the defeat at Sanna’s Post 16 miles outside Bloemfontein, all the way to the Vaal, thereby occupying the Free State. 

AJ’s narrative has been edited for readability and grammar, but it still largely remains the voice of the author narrating his impressions, concerns and fears while providing vivid pictures of war across the dry, dusty and wind-swept plains of the Free State

 Main picture: Painting of A.J. Montgomery of the 10th Hussars

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A.J. Montgomery: Part 5 – The Deadly Ambush at Sanna’s Post

A member of the 10th Hussars and a survivor of the sinking of the SS Ismore near Paternoster, Arthur John Montgomery recounts his part in the successful routing of the Boer forces in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. In this episode Arthur Montgomery recalls his part in the attack on Sanna’s Post 16 miles outside Bloemfontein. Instead of success, the ambush by the Boers claimed countless lives and an ignominious retreat.

AJ’s narrative has been edited for readability and grammar, but it still largely remains the voice of the author narrating his impressions, concerns and fears while providing vivid pictures of war with Imperial Forces being decimated by Boers in front of the waterworks at Sanna’s Post.

Main picture: Painting of A.J. Montgomery of the 10th Hussars

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