Port Elizabeth of Yore: Park Lodge of Samuel Bain

The first sale of park lands took place on 16 September 1863. The income from the sale of the lots was to be used for the development and maintenance of the St. George’s Park. The first owners to build on these lots were Samuel Bain and William Pattinson. They were regarded as “living in the country” because their homes were some distance from the town.

This blog and subsequent blogs on houses in this street were supplied by Tennyson Smith Bodill for which I am grateful.

Main picture: This 1907 shows Samuel Bain’s house is on the left of Nazareth House  

For a long time, the only large dwelling on the corner of Park Lane and Dickens Street, was one built by Samuel Bain on the site of which Nazareth House now stands. The land was part of the Park Drive lands and was called Park House.

Samuel Bain was born in England in April 1818. He came to Port Elizabeth and started manufacturing soda water, ginger ale and ginger beer in 1850.

He built his fine home, which he called Park Lodge, in 1875 and sold it before he returned to England, where he died in 1915, aged 97. He was Mayor of Port Elizabeth in 1878 and in ’79. When he advertised it for sale, it was described as being in a “healthy area, with an uninterrupted view of the sea and the surrounding country

Park Lodge is on the left

It had a verandah, front and back, with ornamental ironwork and mosaic paving in the entrance hall. There were seven bedrooms, underground water tanks, a paddock, coach house and stabling for four horses.

The mansion was bought by James Rumsey, who had been the proprietor of the Palmerston Hotel in Jetty Street since 1872 and had retired.

The home was then bought by six nuns from Hammersmith, London, and the foundation stones of the alterations and additions for the Nazareth House were laid in 1892. Such additions were to comprise boys’ and girls’ dormitories and school classrooms, refectories, work and bathrooms, and a chapel to be built in a Free Renaissance style. George William Smith was the architect, and the contractors were E.W. Gough and Kohler & Ponsonby.


The Architecture of Park Drive: An Assessment by Tennyson Smith Bodill

Leave a Comment.