Port Elizabeth of Yore: The History of Newton Park

This blog is based upon a brief talk given by Mrs Margaret Harradine at the Newton Park Library on the 16th May 1990.

Main picture: Newton Park in 1947

Baakens River Farm
The whole area comprising Newton Park, Glen Hurd, Mangold Park, Sunridge Park, Fernglen and portions of Fairview and Cotswold were part of the quitrent farm of John Berry, a settler rom Norfolk, who died in 1859. The first record of the farm is from 1818.

In 1826, John Parkin, originally from Devon acquired the farm. He died in 1856 and the land was divided among his family. The lower part of it – the present Newton Park – was let to Robert Newcombe (died 1899). He first called the area Fairview. By 1930, the top part of the farm belonged to C.E. Londt.

Fairview Estate Company & Fairview Hotel
The Fairview Estate Company was established in 1902. This represented the start of residential Newton Park as 100 building lots were offered for sale. The Fairview Hotel was in the middle of the suburb, probably on the strip of land where the Wimpy and Pelo’s were situated being the corner of 3rd Avenue and Cape Road between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

After World War 1 there was a growth spurt and in 1931 the area became part of the municipal area while in 1932 postal services commenced.

In 1861 the Fairview Hotel was granted a liquor licence. IN 1873 it seems to have been operated by a Mr. Reid. In 1874 Johannes Gates applied for a licence but in the following years he was in trouble for not providing the promised quoits and skittles facilities. During 1902 the Hotel was closed down due to the consequences of Martial Law imposed during the Boer War. In July of that year, the Fairview Hotel was burnt down.

Racially restrictive clauses
Commencing in the early 20th century, private township developers included racially-restrictive clauses in their title deeds to prevent ownership of plots by people other than those who met the developers racial criterion for ownership. In most cases ownership nd occupation were confined to whites. ONe example of this was when properties in Newton Park were sold to the Fairview Suburban Estate Comapny. Included was a clause which prohibited ownership or occupation by any “Coolie, Chinaman, Arab, Kaffir or any such Coloured persons”. Other developers indicated that only “fullyblooded Europeans” would be allowed to occupy or purchase property. However a fairly standard form of clause was formulated:

This erf or any portion thereof shall not be transferred, leased or in any other manner assigned or disposed of to any Asiatic, African, Cape Malay, or any other person who is manifestly a ‘Coloured’ person, as also any partnership or company (whether incorporated or otherwise) in which the management or control is directly or indirectly held or vested in any such person. Nor may any such person other than the domestic servant of the registered owner or his tenant reside on this erf or in any other manner occupy the same.

1946 map of Newton Park showing the proposed service lanes

Street names
The original intention was to call the area Fairview, but the Post Office objected as there was a Fairview in Johannesburg. To overcome that objection, it became known as Newton Park.  The name arose from James and George Newton who were both prominent me, one a Councillor, and the other a Director of the Fairview Estate Company. Glen Hurd, Hurd Street and Herbet Hurd Primary School all obtained their names from Herbet Hurd, the Chairman of the Company and also the mayor of Walmer.

Incidentally, the plots offered originally by the Company required a monthly payment of £1 to secure.

Derivation of the names
Sunridge Park was so named by the Londt family.
James MANGOLD was one of the Directors.
COTSWOLD was so name by the Parkin family.

Newton Park Name Changes authorised by Surveyor General

Other Directors whose names were recognised were:

  • Allan A MOWBRAY, owner of Birches
  • J.A. WILLET, a chemist
  • CECIL was one of the Hurds.
  • MALCOLM was a godson.
  • IAN was a grandson.
  • Captain KINNERSLEY was a father-in-law.
  • Frank PERRIDGE was a Town Councillor, also very involved in Prince Alfred’s Guards
  • A daughter was called SHIRLEY.
  • BURT was a City Engineer and Robert TAIT was a Municipal engineer.
  • Jack MACADAM was connected to the Sand River Waterworks. MACADAM Street also marks the course of the water pipes from the Reservoirs into the City
  • WORRACKER was also a Director.

Other streets were named after company shareholders.

  • John ALEXANDER Gordon was a shareholder and local doctor.
  • BRUCE was also a doctor.
  • There was also a DR LUCAS whose son was GERALD.
  • HUDSON was also a shareholder.
  • KING EDWARD Street celebrated the 1902 coronation. The original King Edward Street is now what is called First Avenue / Langenhoven Drive
  • 2nd Avenue was Gordon Street
  • 3rd Avenue was Mortimer Street
  • 4th Avenue was Kemsley Street
  • 5th Avenue was Mathew Street

The date when these street names changed is unknown.

Notes on a lecture presented by Margaret Harradien at the Newton Park Public Library
The section on racially restricted property ownership clauses was taken from South End – As We Knew it by Yusaf Agherdien, Ambrose C. George and Shaheed Hendriks (1997, Kohler Carton and Print, Port Elizabeth)

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