Port Elizabeth of Yore: Fischer’s Jewellers

One of the very earliest photos of the newly opened Fischer & Co building in Main Street circa 1914

Not only does Fischer’s Jewellers embody the essence of Port Elizabeth but also for many of its citizens, especially in prior generations, Fischer’s was their preferred choice for jewellery. Also, the building is one of the remaining structure built in the Art Nouveau style.

Apart from this obvious connection, my grandmother had another, more obtuse connection, to this iconic store. 

Main picture: One of the very earliest photos of the newly opened Fischer & Co building in Main Street circa 1914

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Main Street in the Tram Era

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Sixty one years after the landing of the 1820 Settlers, the tramway network was established on 14th May 1881. As the initial trams were all horse drawn, no routes up the hill could be established. Instead the line followed the route of Main Street and its various extensions to North End. From 16th June 1897, it was converted to electrical power which allowed the routes to be extended up White’s and Russell Road. 

The tramway network was finally closed down on 17th December 1948. 

Main picture: My favourite picture of this era showing a horse drawn tram at the terminus where the incoming and outgoing lines merged

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Main Street before the Era of Trams

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Pictures of Main Street dating from the era reveal an array of buildings which would not be any different from those of the set of a Western movie. Furthermore few if any of these buildings still stand apart from the building at the southern end of this road: the City Hall. 

In most cases, the dates of the photographs are unknown. 

Main picture:  Main Street prior to trams

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