Port Elizabeth of Yore: Dreyfus’ Revolutionary Credit Policy

A prominant business in Market Square in the late 1800s located in front of St. Mary’s Church on the site where the UBS Building would be built in the early 1930s was a one storey building with the name prominently displayed as L. Dreyfuss Merchant.  

What was so unusual about its business practices that made it successful?

Main picture: L. Dreyfuss’ shop in front of St. Mary’s Church

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Diamond Fever grips the Town

In the mistaken belief that diamonds were scattered on the ground waiting to be picked up, the discovery of diamonds in 1870 caused an exodus to the Diamond Fields in search of their fortune. In many cases Port Elizabeth, being the nearest port, would be the starting point for many fortune hunters travelling north, by wagon or even on foot, covering the 420 miles to De Beers’ New Rush. Soon a dose of reality would set in and many would retrace their footsteps back to Port Elizabeth.

What is little known is that it was not a one way street. Enrepreneurs in Port Elizabeth grabbed the opportunity with both hands and organised the first South African diamond auctions in the town being yet another first for the town.

Main picture: Diamond mining at Kimberley

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