Port Elizabeth of Yore: Bethelsdorp – PE’s First Organised Settlement

Even though farmers had been living in the area since 1776, the tiny settlement of Bethelsdorp, nestled on a hillside 10km north -west of Port Elizabeth, near the Little Swartkops River, was Port Elizabeth’s first organised settlement. Founded in 1803 by a missionary from the London Missionary Society, Dr Johannes Theodorus  van der Kemp, and assisted by the Rev James Read, the settlement became a catalyst for racial conflict. Bethelsdorp is the site of the oldest London Missionary Society (LMS) station in South Africa and today it forms part of Port Elizabeth.

Main picture:A fanciful view of Bethelsdorp with van der Kemp Kloof in the background

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Outspans and Road Inns on the Inter-Town Roads of later 1800s

Like modern day motorists, the waggoners of yore also required a place to rest, eat and refresh themselves except that their “facilities” were vastly more primitive than today’s Ultra City. 

What facilities, if any,  were provided and where were the outspans and road inns situated?

Main picture:  Outspan House built by JJ Berry in 1862 as an Inn for travellers. It was situated about a mile from the Rawson Bridge, halfway between Zwartkops and Deal Party Estate

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