Port Elizabeth of Yore:  The Political and Social Situation 150 Years Ago

This blog is largely based upon a lecture presented by W.E. Vardy on the 24th November 1913 at St. Cuthbert’s. Vardy’s lecture encompassed the whole ambit of life in Port Elizabeth from Church Life to the Commercial environment prevailing during that developmental era. However this blog only deals with these two aspects: the political and social

The political environment for this period can be characterised as apathetic at best.  Instead what loomed large in the residents’ minds was an entrepreneurial mindset which subconsciously espoused a pro-business ethic.  Ironically, it was John Paterson who transcended that divide and utilised his mouthpiece, the EP Herald, to place in sharp focus the need for a municipality.

By ignoring the political dimension, in all likelihood Port Elizabeth forfeited the opportunity to more rigorously advance its demand for a fully-fledged harbour.

Main picture: The oldest photograph of Port Elizabeth

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