Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Floods of November 1867

Port Elizabeth periodically experiences floods. Amongst the most devastating was the flood of 20th & 21st November 1867.  Perhaps its effect was exacerbated by the fact that the roads were not tarred and as the flood waters gushed down the natural water courses, formally kloofs or streams, causing mayhem. 

Main picture: Rudolph Street, South End after the floods of November 1867

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The Great Flood in Port Elizabeth on 1st September 1968

Unlike adults, at the age of 15, one is never affected by the weather. Even if it was raining, we would go swimming in the sea. Whether it was night or a howling gale force wind was blowing, we would be swimming. No matter how atrocious the weather conditions were or what the time of day was, it was time to swim.

There was only one exception to this rule: the water temperature. If the sea water was freezing cold we would not swim but that would not prevent us from wading in the water and even “catching” a few waves. Nothing seemed to deter us or maybe we just never noticed what the weather was like.

Main picture: This “river” which runs through Happy Valley is normally no more than a trickle and would normally be classified as a placid stream.

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