Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Slipway in Humewood

Until recently, this landmark of Port Elizabeth’s heritage was a mystery to me. Being called a slipway meant that it must have been used in a maritime capacity sometime in the past. Now finally I have found a whole bunch of photographs showing it being used as a ship repair facility.

Main picture: Humewood 1910 with what appears to be a fishing boat being hauled up for maintenance

This slipway was constructed by the Port Elizabeth Harbour Board at the mouth of the Shark River. The intention was to create a ship repair facility for vessels of up to 400 tonnes. Construction commenced in 1899.

Building next the Slipway is not yet been completed as it is still under construction - early 1900's

Building next the Slipway is not yet been completed as it is still under construction – early 1900’s. Note that there are no buildings at all past the Shark River.

Finally on 30 July 1903 it was opened for operations with the steam lighter, the Loch Gair, being drawn up for repairs that day. On 10th August the “James Searle” was also brought onto land and two new iron lighters were being built.

Tug on the Humewood Slipway

Tug on the Humewood Slipway

A boat was steadied between six masonry piers and a cradle was lowered underneath. Steam driven hauling gear then pulled the cradle and boat onto dry land.

Slipway with a boat right at the top next to the shed

Slipway with a boat right at the top next to the shed

The slipway was taken out of use in 1939 and much of the structure has subsequently been removed.

A boat being winched up the slipway

A boat being winched up the slipway

Aerial view of Humewood and the slipwaay

Aerial view of Humewood and the slipway

Some of the shipwrights working at the slipway stayed in the slipway cottages, located where the Beach Manager’s office is situated now.

The original car park with slipway extending into it

The original car park with slipway extending into it

Slipway from the 1930's

Slipway from the 1930’s

A ship is being pulled up onto the slipway in the background

A ship is being pulled up onto the slipway in the background

The Harbour Board Tug Repair Yard Humewood (1910s)

The Harbour Board Tug Repair Yard Humewood (1910s)

Recent photographs

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Related blogs on Port Elizabeth:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Russell Road

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Sand dunes, Inhabitants and Animals

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Horse Memorial

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Target Kloof

The Parsonage House at Number 7 Castle Hill Port Elizabeth

What happened to the Shark River in Port Elizabeth?

A Pictorial History of the Campanile in Port Elizabeth

A Sunday Drive to Schoenmakerskop in 1922

The Three Eras of the Historic Port Elizabeth Harbour

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Railway Station

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Great Flood of 1st September 1968

http:// http://thecasualobserver.co.za/the-friendly-city-port-elizabeth-my-home-town/

Sources:

For this information, I owe a debt of gratitude to Margaret Harradine’s book Port Elizabeth – A Social Chronicle to the end of 1945

Recent photographs: Jonker Fourie


1 Comments

  1. Fascinating stories about PE where I grew up. Now living in the USA I like to browse through your histories and revisit many of the places you write about. My grandfather settled in PE in 1897 and established W. Playdon and Co in North End. The building was later bought by the CNA. He bought much of Jutland Crescent and divided it among his children. Our very large house overlooking Baakens Valley was gutted by fire a few years ago. Like you, our bicycle rides to Humewood and home again were mostly remembered by the climb to get home. I would love to correspond with you if you have the interest. I am trying to chronicle our family’s connection with PE and have a good picture of the factoy building.

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