Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Humewood Hotel

The history of this beachfront hotel is shrouded in mystery. Details of its past are sketchy. Unlike other prominent and venerable old hotels in Port Elizabeth, I am unable to produce a complete history of this hotel. Suffice to say that this is an attempt to lay out the facts that are known.

Various establishments over the years bore the word Humewood as part of their name. Some of them are unrelated to one another. This blog serves to set out what these establishments were and their connection if any to the others.

Main picture: The Humewood Beach Hotel was located where the current Garden Court is situated before it was burnt down

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Only Naval Engagement in Algoa Bay

Apart from one naval engagement between British and French warships in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth has been spared the horrors and depredations of war. Compared with other naval engagements such as those in the Pacific Ocean during WW2, this one can justifiably be rated as minor. 

Having said that, during this Napoleonic era with tensions between the maritime dominant nation, Great Britain, and the pretender to the “throne,” France, being white hot, any misstep in the southern oceans placed the British position on the Indian subcontinent in danger.

Main picture:  Fight between the ship of the line, Jupiter and the French frigate, Preneuse Continue reading

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Islands in the Bay

Algoa Bay contains six named islands in two groups of three. These islands are of considerable importance as they are the only islands along a 1,777 km stretch of coastline between Cape Agulhas and Inhaca Island in Mozambique. The combined surface area of these islands is said to be 40 ha ie 99 acres. 

Close inshore, near the new Ngquru harbour development at Coega, on the north-eastern outskirts of Port Elizabeth, is the St Croix group, consisting of a main island of that name and two lesser islets, Jahleel Island just off the Ngquru breakwater and Brenton Island on the seaward side. The second group consists of Bird, Seal and Stag Islands. All six islands and their adjacent waters are declared nature reserves and form part of the Addo Elephant National Park. The islands are closed to the public.

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Is Trump’s Presidency Doomed?

Initially it was Trump’s bombastic, egotistical style which appalled me and raised my hackles. Later it was Trump’s inability to distinguish fact from fiction which sealed his fate in my eyes. Finally Trump will justifiably be crucified by later generations as his style of leadership has irredeemably cheapened that nation’s political discourse.

Has the cumulative effect of Trump’s blundering finally cast his Presidency as doomed? Signs of a backlash abound but will this Teflon coated man survive through sheer bloody mindedness?

Main picture: A smirking Donald Trump

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The Circle of Running Life

Perhaps I can be accused of having a starry-eyed love affair with road running, the mistress in my life. It is not dissimilar from the love of a soul mate, the love of one’s very being, that passion which evolves over the years until one attains that pinnacle of that love. In the case of road running, this peak is the Around the World Challenge [RTW Challenge].

Why is this so?

Main picture: Eleven of the thirteen finishers of the Around the World Challenge as at June 2017. Back row: Des Robbins, Paul Selby, Dean McCleland, Peter Darroll. Middle row: Lesley Vermeulen, Ric Marini, Sue Darroll, Frik di Preez. Front row: Kosie van Vuuren, Neels Vermeulen

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Earliest Motor Vehicles

It is probably no consolation for Port Elizabeth to claim that it was the first town in South Africa through which a motor vehicle was shipped. It is only Pretoria that can rightfully make the more prestigious claim that it was first town in which the first car was driven in South Africa. This occurred in 1897 at Berea Park. 

Nevertheless, Port Elizabeth would not be far behind.

Main picture: Mr William Adcock, Mayor of Walmer, in his 1896 Benz Velo with his passenger Mr Charles Lovemore

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