Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Early Hotels

The initial accommodation of the 1820 Settlers left much to be desired: rows of tents in the sand dunes where Strand Street is now located, with Algoa Bay’s incessant wind whipping sand into all the exposed orifices. Some might even have been told shameless falsehoods about their future accommodation to lure them to the Cape. But once they stepped off their vessels, they would have to don the mantle of self-motivating, independent pioneers. The unspoken reality is that they would have to turn a pipe dream of a new life into reality. Perhaps they encountered dispiriting moments, but most would batten down the hatches and endure. 

But what the Colony lacked was proper temporary accommodation in the form of hotels especially for visiting colonial officials. 

With their keen enterprising spirit, many would swiftly erect buildings with more than a passing resemblance to hotels. As Port Elizabeth was the entrepot to the Eastern Cape hinterland and later to the Diamond Fields, it rapidly upgraded these Spartan dwelling into respectable establishments.  

This is the story of that evolution. 

Main picture: Scorey’s Hotel being depicted as the large building on the left with the garden of Anne Scorey just below the hotel

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Outspans and Road Inns on the Inter-Town Roads of later 1800s

Like modern day motorists, the waggoneers of yore also required a place to rest, eat and refresh themselves except that their “facilities” were vastly more primitive than today’s Ultra City. 

What facilities, if any,  were provided and where were the outspans and road inns situated?

Main picture:  Outspan House built by JJ Berry in 1862 as an Inn for travellers. It was situated about a mile from the Rawson Bridge, halfway between Zwartkops and Deal Party Estate

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