Port Elizabeth of Yore: Captain Moresby of the HMS Menai

Normally when critical civic events occur, it is highly unusual for lower ranking military officers to not only offer their services but also to willingly partake in those activities. In the case of Port Elizabeth, it was the actions of two Captains, one a military officer, Captain Francis Evatt,  and the other a naval officer who expedited the disembarkation of the 1820 Settlers.

This blog will deal with the selfless actions of the latter, Captain Fairfax Moresby of HMS Menai.

Main picture: Captain Sir Fairfax Moresby

Continue reading

Port Elizabeth of Yore: When Developers almost Built on the Donkin Reserve

It was a grieving Sir Rufane Donkin who arrived in Port Elizabeth on the 5th June 1820. Even though he had married Elizabeth Markham in Yorkshire under a traditional organised marriage which was the custom in those times for the social upper classes, remarkably, he had truly fell in love with his beautiful young wife. En route back to Great Britain, he had been diverted to the Cape as temporary Governor.

It was during the laying of the foundation stone of a proposed hotel for Captain Moresby that Donkin proclaimed that the nascent town would be named Elizabeth, after his beloved dead wife. Port Elizabeth had been conceived.

As well as naming the town after his deceased wife, he had other plans to commemorate her: proclaiming of a reserve on which a pyramid would be built as a monument in perpetuity.

Main picture: Pyramid on the Donkin in 1920

Continue reading