Robert Pinchin should be remembered for his contribution to the development of Port Elizabeth and the water supply in particular. In 1862 he wrote a treatise advocating the Van Stadens Water Scheme. It was only after more than a decade of prevarication that the Town Council acted upon his recommendation. Moreover he was involved in engineering in all its manifestaions. Ironically what he is remembered for is his ascent of the Cockscomb peak in April 1870.
Main picture: Baakens Street. 1862. The house centre right is on the land granted on 1 Oct 1821 to D.A.C.G. John Craig. At the end of 1826 he sold the land with a stone house. The house became the property of Capt. John Burton, then his widow Mary, who married Thomas Henry Martyn. Mary Ann Burton then married Robert Pinchin, and after her death he and their daughter lived here with his mother-in-law – hence Pinchin Lane. It was sold to Mangold Bros. in July 1879 for their foundry, and they demolished it in 1882 for stores.
The precursor to the establishment of the museum, was the founding in April 1856 of the Athenaeum Society whose purpose was “to promote the interests of science and literature.” The journey from this humble beginning to its present home at Bayworld, Humewood, is indicative of a society’s striving for knowledge and a sense of wonderment.
Main picture: Museum in the Wool Market
Now considered an anachronism, but in the 19th century, the market was a millennia old method of connecting buyers and seller without the intermediation of shops. It occupied a pivotal place in the towns of yore, culturally and economically, normally being located at the centre of the town. So it was in the case of Port Elizabeth.
Main picture: Market Square with bullock carts
For me and possibly other Port Elizabethians, the road up Cooper’s Kloof, commonly known as Albany Road, does not have the same prominence or cachet of either Russell or White’s Road. Nevertheless, it does serve as a vital arterial road carrying traffic both to Cape Road and through to Walmer via Target Kloof.
Main picture: Albany Road in 1865