Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Postal Service – Part 3

By the 1840s, the Postal Services had evolved into a largely efficient and regular service with its own offices and fulltime employees. With their clients’ expectations raised, customer service was a priority. In the newspapers, residents lambasted the Post Office for all lapses much to the Colonial Government’s chagrin. 

The next innovation for this essential service would be the introduction of stamps, an essential link in the chain to ensure that all revenue was correctly and comprehensively accounted for. 

Main picture: The second dedicated Post Office building is on the right, opposite the Town Hall and next to the original Phoenix Hotel

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Postal Service – Part 2 – Formalisation Phase

The continuing tale of the establishment of the postal services in Port Elizabeth from its inception in Cape Town until its extension to Uitenhage and by implication to Algoa Bay before 1820.  

This part deals with the postal service from the appointment of the hamlet’s second Postmaster, George Ubsdell in 1828 until the resignation of the Postmistress, Mrs Biggar, the third Postmaster after William Dunn and George Ubsdell.

 Main picture: The first dedicated Post Office in Port Elizabeth in the building with the picket fence  Continue reading

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Postal Service – Part 1

Before the advent of the internet, the telephone and the telegraph, the state of the art method of communication was the Postal Service. The speed of this service was a function of the speed of the ship, the horse and the cart. History is replete with examples of orders issued being overtaken by events. Take the example of commands from England. They could take five months to reach the Cape. 

Main picture: A Post Cart crossing the drift at the bottom of Van Staden’s Pass

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