Port Elizabeth of Yore: Main Street in the Tram Era

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Sixty one years after the landing of the 1820 Settlers, the tramway network was established on 14th May 1881. As the initial trams were all horse drawn, no routes up the hill could be established. Instead the line followed the route of Main Street and its various extensions to North End. From 16th June 1897, it was converted to electrical power which allowed the routes to be extended up White’s and Russell Road. 

The tramway network was finally closed down on 17th December 1948. 

Main picture: My favourite picture of this era showing a horse drawn tram at the terminus where the incoming and outgoing lines merged

The era of the horse drawn tram

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Main Street in 1901

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Main Street in 1903

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A muddy Main Street in 1885 showing a horse drawn tram

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Last horse drawn tram in 1897

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Horse drawn trams at the terminus

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Main Street

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Postcard: “We are anchored off Port Elizabeth at the moment & I have been ashore to look around.” George

 

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The era of the electrical powered trams

Actual photo from 1900 with St Mary's tower on the right

Actual photo from 1900 with St Mary’s tower on the right

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An electric tram in Main Street Port Elizabeth. Note the advert for Pyott’s biscuits on the right

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An electric tram in Main Street opposite the Main Library and St Mary’s Church

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Main Street: It must be rush hour because three electric trams are visible. Cuthbert’s Shoe Shop rises above the other shops

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Tram lines clearly visible

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An electric tram advertising Bovril

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Main Street looking north circa 1910

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