Port Elizabeth of Yore: John Centlivres Chase & Early PE

John Centlivres Chase

Often spoken of as “the father of the Eastern Cape,” friend and son-in-law of Frederik Korsten, one of Baillie’s Party aboard the Chapman, M.L.A, John Centlivres Chase was one of the prominent and influential settlers of the infant town. 

Despite setting foot initially at Port Elizabeth, Chase’s odyssey would not commence there, but its terminus and swansong would be. 

Main picture: John Centlivres Chase

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Early Port Elizabeth by Lawrence Green

Baakens Valley in 1860s

Lawrence Green’s book Harbours of Memory sketches what the port cities of South Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s were like. It provides a vivid depiction of life in those days. This blog covers excerpts of his musings and prognostications on early Port Elizabeth’s harbour and shipping activities, its different communities, its highways and byways and the characters that inhabit it. 

Main pictures: Baakens Valley in the 1860s

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Reminiscences of the Early Days

Park Drive#01

These are excerpts from the notes of Mr. C.G.H. Skead on the early days in Port Elizabeth written in 1939. They provide a personal view of the various activities and the development of shipping at that time. As he was born in 1871, these reminiscences probably relate to the period 1890 to the 1920s. 

Main picture: Park Drive when it was considered to be “outside the Bay”

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Early Days of the Harbour and Shipping

Harbour entrance with its sentinel, the Campanile

These are excerpts from the notes of Mr. C.G.H. Skead on the early days in Port Elizabeth written in 1939. They provide a personal view of the various activities at the harbour and the development of shipping at that time.

These recollections take one back to a bygone era when life was simpler. Imagine still being able to swim on a splendid beach at the foot of Fleming Street. 

Main picture: North Jetty with the Station in the background

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Harbour Operations before Jetties

Landing through the surf in 1866

Until the 1870s, PE harbour possessed no jetties. By implication, the passengers and cargo had to be transhipped onto tiny surf boats for onward transport to the landing beaches. At the shore, the people were carried ashore on the shoulders of the Mfengus much to the distress of the females. In spite of this clumsy and archaic method of operation, Port Elizabeth rapidly processed more exports than its sister port, Cape Town.

 This blog is a verbatim extract from the unpublished notes of Mr. C.G.H. Skead written in 1939

Main picture: Surf boats in Algoa Bay in the 1860s

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