Port Elizabeth of Yore: St Phillip’s Church on Richmond Hill

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St Philips Church is situated on the corner of St Philip and Callington Street. The church started as a mission church in about 1872 with families, mostly Dutch speaking, who had moved to Port Elizabeth from what is now the Western Cape.

Main picture: A recent photograph of St. Phillip’s Church

The church started in a wool store in Strand Street before moving to the Mechanic’s Institute in Donkin Street when a lack of space took them to the then St Paul’s Boys’ Schoolroom.

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Here they became the responsibility of the Rector of St Paul’s with the ministry starting to prosper under a Mr PR Mollett, a teacher, who later became St Philip’s first Rector.

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An application for land from the Municipal Council was made which was granted under a special Deed of Transfer dated 1883.  This deed vested the property under three Trustees, one of whom was the Mayor of Port Elizabeth and the other two elected by the congregants.

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The foundation stone of the present church was laid in May 1883 with the church being dedicated in 1884.  The church has seen many ups and downs, losing numerous parishioners to other parishes when the Group Areas forced removal of families from Central and South End.  The last Rector was appointed in 1960.  But the church still stands today and still continues doing its work.

The house next door to the church, named “St Philips B & B” was the original St Philips Church rectory before restored and converted to its current state

The house next door to the church, named “St Philip’s B & B” was the original St Philips Church rectory before restored and converted to its current state

Another interesting aspect relating to the history of this church is its rectory. It stands on number 44 St Phillips Road but is now known as St Phillips B&B. Originally this property was Lot Number 204. On 22nd March 1904, this mansion was completed by GM Young for a Mr James Morgan. At some point, it was purchased by the church for use as the Rectory and then presumably it was again sold in the 1960s when the financial circumstances of the church no longer warranted its retention.

St Phillips B&B, previously the Rectory

St Phillip’s B&B, previously the Rectory

In 1890, the Reverend P.R. Mollet was appointed to visit at least twice a month, the convicts in the Convict Station at Schoenmakerskop. For this his remuneration was £ 50 per annum. The position was temporary. However in 1893 he was informed that the main convict station at Schoenmakerskop had been abandoned and the officers and convicts were being relocated to the Municipal Lazaretto near the Shark River in Humewood [Now Happy Valley]. Rev Mollett was expected to discontinue his visits to the main convict station at Schoenmakerskop and to visit the municipal Lazaretto as the temporary main station.

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Sources:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Port_Elizabeth_St_Philips_Church_at_crossroad.JPG

http://www.anglicandiocesepe.org.za/parishes.php?id=20034

http://www.rhsra.co.za/philips_church.html


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