Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Statue of Queen Victoria in Port Elizabeth

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. Parliament voted her the additional title of Empress of India in 1876. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors. 

After Albert’s death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion,  republicanism in the United Kingdom temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.

After commemorating her golden jubilee in 1887, the citizens of Port Elizabeth were resolved to erect a tangible object, not as a political statement but as a demonstration of their loyalty and devotion to the queen. This desire ultimately bore fruit in the form of the statute of a mature Queen Victoria outside the Public Library, welcoming visitors to Port Elizabeth.   

Main picture: This Sicilian marble statue was erected and unveiled in 1903 two years after Queen Victoria’s death.

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Explosives’ Jetty at the Creek

At the risk of overstatement, dynamite was characterised as being extremely volatile in prior centuries. Just like Johannesburg, where the explosives factory was established at Modderfontein which was originally located far outside the municipal boundaries, so it was in the rest of South Africa. 

This blog deals with how Port Elizabeth dealt with this risk or in modern parlance, its Risk Mitigation Strategy, during the 19th century.

Main picture: Overhead ropeway to transport the explosives from the landing stage to the magazines of the various importing companies

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Anglo-Boer War Years

The Ango-Boer War, or as it now known, the South African War, might not have physically ravished the town, yet it did affect Port Elizabeth in so many other ways. The denial of the right to citizenship of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal Republic was the ostensible reason for the declaration of war by Paul Kruger on Britain on the 11th October 1899. 

Main picture: No. 2 Remount Depot

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