Until the 1870s, PE harbour possessed no jetties. By implication, the passengers and cargo had to be transhipped onto tiny surf boats for onward transport to the landing beaches. At the shore, the people were carried ashore on the shoulders of the Mfengus much to the distress of the females. In spite of this clumsy and archaic method of operation, Port Elizabeth rapidly processed more exports than its sister port, Cape Town.
This blog is a verbatim extract from the unpublished notes of Mr. C.G.H. Skead written in 1939
Main picture: Surf boats in Algoa Bay in the 1860s
We have all heard about the strong possibility that San Francisco could experience more devastating earth quakes but how many residents of Port Elizabeth are aware that the city has three ancient fault lines under its surface from which some slight movements can still occur?
Main picture: Fault lines in Target Kloof
Port Elizabeth seems to be blessed with famous McWilliams. Apart from the McWilliams of Rink Street, there was the father and son duo who were both famous architects: William and Herbert McWilliams.
Of the two, Herbert, the son, certainly led a full and varied life, worthy of a biography.
Main picture: Sprogs on the banks of the Swartkops River in 1955 – Herbert McWilliams’ sprog is #15
Probably more criticism, chiefly adverse, has been levelled at this monument than any other in South Africa especially in the initial years. Much of the adverse comments have fortunately, long since abated as it is now considered to be an integral part of the city’s heritage and is totally synonymous with Port Elizabeth.
Main picture: Campanile
The houses in Donkin Street add to the charm of the area bracketed by the Hill Presbyterian church at the top and Nedbank building in Main Street and bounded by the Donkin Reserve in the east.
Main picture: Painting of Donkin Row, as it is called
Some recent discoveries by scientists have debunked various long held theories on exercise. Certainly a new era is awakening in this regard.
As all of these revelations have been uncovered by conventional scientists at traditional universities, their results can be classified as reliable.
Main picture: Conventional exercise regimen
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
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
The major disasters such as the floods of 1867 & 1968 and the great gale of 1902 are outside the remit of this blog. Many of the storms covered in this blog whether wind or rain were of less consequence for most apart, from those personally affected.
Main picture: Thunderstorm viewed from Stanley House Port Elizabeth in 1916
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