Port Elizabeth of Yore: Trinder Square

Trinder Square 1867

As a young child I had an aversion to trees; most trees but not the Wild Fig tree. There was something enchanting even mystical about their giant protruding roots. Perhaps this affinity arose due to playing in Trinder Square with its veritable forest of wild fig trees. This arose due to my cousins staying in Pearson Avenue which is no more than a block away.

Main picture: Trinder Square in 1867 

 Originally what was to become Trinder Square was a wide open vlei. In the early days of Fort Frederick, the Garrison Company’s garden lay on the western side of it. Later as it was a natural drainage point, the vlei provided water for animals during the early and mid 1800’s when many of the farmers coming to do business at Market Square brought their animals here to drink. In addition the local black population used the water for domestic purposes.

Trinder Square#02

Trinder Square after the vlei was filled in

During February 1883, the vlei between Western Road and Bird Street was drained and in June a wall with iron railings made by Joseph Lewis, was built around it. Periodically by removing clay from it to construct roads in the vicinity, it was deepened.

Trinder 2

After its beautification, it became known as the “Trinder Reserve”, the name was derived from the name of two semi-detached houses on the corner of Alfred Street and Western Road called the “Trinder Villas.”  In one of these lived Mr H.W. Pearson M.L.A. lived for many years. He was married the widow of William Trinder Smith, Trinder being a surname in the Smith family.

Even though the unsightly vlei was eventually filled in, the original name was retained.

Trinder 1

In its new iteration, Trinder Square was grassed with green lawns and the impressive Wild Fig trees were planted.

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In its most recent phase, Trinder Square has recently been upgraded making it part of Route 67. Mosaic covered benches has been built to represent the exposed roots of the old Wild Fig trees that still grow around the park while play equipment has been installed in the south-east corner of the park. It is a popular spot where youngsters from the surrounding flats come to play soccer.

Trinder Square#03

 

Trinder Square with the PE Club in the background#02

Trinder Square with the PE Club in the background

Port Elizabeth Club from Trinder Square Garden. c. 1901-2

Port Elizabeth Club from Trinder Square Garden. c. 1901-2

Port Elizabeth Club 1884. Trinder reservoir in foreground now walled in. Typical gas-lamp of the period

Port Elizabeth Club 1884. Trinder reservoir in foreground now walled in. Typical gas-lamp of the period

Recent photographs

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A Trindersaur framed by a section of wrought-iron fence

A Trindersaur framed by a section of wrought-iron fence

Another wild fig dwarfs the PE Club building across the road and keeps vigil over a treasured part of old PE Club

Another wild fig dwarfs the PE Club building across the road and keeps vigil over a treasured part of old PE Club

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One of the four gated entrances to the square

One of the four gated entrances to the square

Wild Fig Tree in Trinder Square

Wild Fig Tree in Trinder Square

Sources:

Books:

Port Elizabeth in Bygone Days by JJ Redgrave

Hills covered with Cottages by Margaret Harradine

Port Elizabeth – a Social Chronicle to the end of 1945 by Margaret Harradine

Port Elizabeth – A Visual History by Kin Bentley

Related articles:

Interesting Old Buildings in Central Port Elizabeth

The Shameful Destruction of Port Elizabeth’s German Club in 1915

Port Elizabeth of Yore – Cora Terrace

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Grand Hotel

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Whaling in Algoa Bay

Port Elizabeth of Yore: White’s Road

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Slipway in Humewood

Port Elizabeth of Yore: King’s Beach

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 Sunday Drive to Schoenmakerskop in 1922

The Three Eras of the Historic Port Elizabeth Harbour

The Historical Port Elizabeth Railway Station

The Great Flood in Port Elizabeth on 1st September 1968

The Friendly City – Port Elizabeth – My Home Town

 


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