Port Elizabeth of Yore: Destructive Fire at Kayser’s Villa in Park Drive

Amongst Port Elizabeth’s civic minded businessmen, there was a local merchant Charles Frederick Kayser. Like many unfortunate residents, Kayser would also suffer a huge conflagration which would consume his posh house Glen Lynden in Park Drive.

Main picture: Park Drive. Glen Lynden on 26 Dec 1906 after the devastating fire of the previous night

Biographical details    

The Kayser family

The tug named CF Kayser
This tug named in honour of CF Kayser was built by Lobnitz & Co in  Renfrew, Scotand for the Union Government. It arrived on the 30th October 1936 and joined the tug, the John Dock,  in Port Elizabeth. These tugs were supplemented by the harbour launches Rooibank (1926) and the St Croix in 1938. On the 14th January 1943 the Norwegian tanker “Solfonn” went aground on Bird Island. The tugs “C.F. Kayser” and “John Dock” got her off and after emergency work in Port Elizabeth, she went on to Cape Town. In 1978 the tug was sold as scrap.

Tug CF Kayser in Port Elizabeth harbour

Prominent guest
The first moves to obtain better facilities for the magistrates went back to 1928. Finally on the 9th April 1934, the new Law Courts  in Market Street were taken into use. When they were officially opened on 2 July it was by-Gen J.C. Smuts, who stayed with C.F. Kayser in Park Drive.

Newspaper clipping from Butterworth via David Raymer
Port Elizabeth: A Social Chronicle to the end of 1945 by Margaret Harradine (1996, E H Walton (Packaging (Pty) Ltd, Port Elizabeth, on behalf of the Historical Society of Port Elizabeth).

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