The precursor to the establishment of the museum, was the founding in April 1856 of the Athenaeum Society whose purpose was “to promote the interests of science and literature.” The journey from this humble beginning to its present home at Bayworld, Humewood, is indicative of a society’s striving for knowledge and a sense of wonderment.
Main picture: Museum in the Wool Market
Central to the story of Collegiate Girls School was one of change, growth and progress. The school never emerged at its current shape, fully formed. Instead it was a process of renewal. To underscore this, was the first giant leap from a small school in a large house at No. 15 Western Road to bespoke buildings in Bird Street.
It will serve us well to reflect that what is now viewed as a bold audacious step might equally have been a misstep. That required perspicacity and foresight and not 20/20 hindsight.
Let us again join the school on its next profound step.
Main picture: The first Collegiate School in Bird Street surrounding by a white trellis fence in 1878
Until fairly recently the concept of a gentlemen’s club was in vogue and all the rage. Businessmen felt the need for pleasant relaxation playing snooker and billiards after a day at the office. Only the finest whiskeys would slake their thirst. So as not to be distracted, the admission policies usually excluded females, blacks, Jews and the chattering classes. Even Bohemian types were probably excluded.
In 1866, Port Elizabeth joined the ranks of towns which catered for the needs of this select group of individuals.
Main picture: The original Port Elizabeth Club building circa 1880s