Port Elizabeth of Yore: Fire Damage to the P.E. Advertiser in 1913

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On the 9th March 1867, a new newspaper was to see the light of day. Known as the Port Elizabeth Advertiser, it was edited by William Edwards, a printer and bookbinder by profession. It was a free paper, published twice weekly, full of advertisements and items of local interest.

This blog covers the history of this newspaper and its almost fatal fire in 1913.

Main picture: Fire engulfing the offices of the P.E. Advertiser

The first offices of the P.E. Advertiser in 1867 in Main Street. Interestingly, Main Street was initially known albeit unofficially as as High Street before it was given its official name.

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After an inauspicious start, the newspaper almost ceased publication in 1913 when it suffered a fire.

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Fire at the P.E. Advertiser in 1913

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Translation: Port Elizabeth, fire through the Printers of P.E. Advertisers, South Africa

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Fortunately, the newspaper did recover from this disaster.

Later offices of theP.E. Advertiser in Main Street on the corner of the Donkin

Later offices of the P.E. Advertiser in Main Street on the corner of the Donkin

The one significant campaign that the P.E. Advertiser gave its support to arose in 1936. Even though the construction of the Campanile had been completed in 1922, there had been insufficient funds to acquire bells. It was not that fund raising had ceased in the intervening years but due to the fact that only £850 had been available for the purpose of installing bells.

Old Mutual Arcade with Remington Typewriters and the PE Advertiser

Old Mutual Arcade with Remington Typewriters and the PE Advertiser

This was the year, however, when all the British Empire was celebrating the Silver Jubilee of King George V and the installation of the desired carillon seemed a fitting expression of gratitude for the sovereign’s memorable reign.

The citizens of Port Elizabeth rallied to the occasion with the same persevering spirit exhibited by the early Settlers they were honouring.

In May 1948, the newspaper’s name was amended to the Daily Advertiser. Finally in February 1950, the paper merged with the Saturday Post to become the Evening Post.

Sources:

Port Elizabeth in Bygone Days by JJ Redgrave

Port Elizabeth: A Social Chronicle to the end of 1945 by Margaret Harradine

 

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