Port Elizabeth of Yore: St. John the Baptist Anglican Church

The suburb now known as Walmer; Port Elizabeth was originally a farm known as Welbedacht. It was loaned to a Johannes Potgieter in 1776 and subsequently granted to a Antonie Michael Muller[1] (B c 1770 married Aletta Maria Potgieter c 1782, died 21 January 1843, Uitenhage who was from Holland). On 24 May 1852, a portion of the farm that was granted to Anthonie Michael Muller in 1815, was divided in one morgan erven by his sons into a township called Walmer. The sons got into financial difficulties, and they decided to sell the farm in lots. Whilst it is not definitely known, a Mr D. MacDonald a Government surveyor probably gave the name. The auctioneers responsible for the sale went bankrupt immediately after the sale and the Muller brothers suffered financial loss thereby although some of the money was recovered in subsequent lawsuits. In 1860, the local newspaper the EP Herald reported tigers (leopards) in the Walmer area. In 1899, Walmer became a municipality. Walmer was named after Walmer Castle, the death place of the First Duke of Wellington 1769-1852.He is buried under the dome of St Pauls Cathedral by the side of another famous Englishman Lord Nelson.

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Early Days of Cycling

John Howard, an American cyclist, once quipped: “The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” As an epigram, a wit could have rejoined that “2nd class cycling is better than 1st class walking.” Surprisingly in an era post the advent of bicycles but prior to the arrival of motor vehicles, photos of cyclists are rare; so rare that I only possess two.

If social cycling did not prosper, competitive cycling did with Cycling Clubs soon being formed. From curiosity value in the Penny-Farthing, bicycles evolved into more practical machines.

Main picture: Members of the P.E. Amateur Bicycle Club, which was formed in 1881 and later amalgamated with the Amateur Athletic Club, in front of the Pearson Conservatory in St. Georges Park. A penny-farthing can be seen in the centre. Some of the club’s rides were from the park to Fitch’s at Witteklip which represented a 26 mile ride.

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