Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Octagon Café & the Bathing Pavillion

Octagon Cafe on Humewood beach

Many of the buildings constructed nowadays have little to recommend them. Being merely rectangular blocks, they do not enhance life through their aesthetic appeal. Maybe this is acceptable for industrial buildings but for structures along a beachfront, the bar needs to be set higher. Two buildings of yore met that criterion: the Octagon Café and the Bathing Pavillion. Sadly both are no more.

 Main picture: The Octagon Cafe on the Elizabeth Promenade

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Slipway in Humewood

Port Elizabeth - Slipway on Humewood Beach

Until recently, this landmark of Port Elizabeth’s heritage was a mystery to me. Being called a slipway meant that it must have been used in a maritime capacity sometime in the past. Now finally I have found a whole bunch of photographs showing it being used as a ship repair facility.

Main picture: Humewood 1910 with what appears to be a fishing boat being hauled up for maintenance

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The Sea can be a Dangerous Place as I Learnt

Maitlands sand dune

Being brought up by the sea brought us boundless joy as children. From a very early age we all learned to swim proficiently. As my father was brought up at the coast, he took us to the beach every weekend irrespective of what the weather conditions were like. Due to our competence, we were left unsupervised and unattended on the beach from an early age. Instead of the current generation frequenting the malls, we led an active life.

Even as a competent swimmer I twice almost did not see another day. On both occasions it was a spring tide which was the cause of my near fatal mishaps. Perhaps familiarity breeds contempt as I did not treat the sea with the caution it deserves.

These are the chronicles of those events still seared in my memory.

Main picture: This is a view of the main sand dune at Maitlands River Mouth  Continue reading