Port Elizabeth of Yore: Origin of the name of Heugh Road

On Sunday afternoons in the McCleland’s household we performed our familial duty by visiting the family’s matriarch, Elizabeth Daisy McCleland. She lived with her daughter, Thelma, at 99 Albert Street . One of the roads down which we drove bore a unique but odd name: Heugh. What puzzled me over the years was the origin of the word Heugh. Even though it sounded to be Germanic in origin, it clearly was not Afrikaans.

And so the mystery would remain unsolved for another 60 odd years, until, in the midst of my research into Port Elizabeth’s history, I have tracked it down. It is the derived from a successful merchant of Danish origins, Johannes Pieter Heugh.

Main picture: Castle Hill showing Prospect House formerly Stanley House

Pieter (or Petrus) Johannes Heugh (1782 – 1858) was born in Drakenstein in the hills near Paarl on the south western edge of the Karoo on the 24th April 1782 and married Catherina Cornelia nee Fischer. By occupation he was a merchant and probably aware of greater opportunities in the Eastern Cape, relocated to Uitenhage at the end of 1819 where he opened an office.  At some stage he went into partnership with another successful merchant, William Fleming whose son, also called William, was to marry my great aunt, Adelaide in 1858. He would become one of the early and most successful merchants of the Eastern Province

Rev Francis McCleland and William Fleming (Senior)
William Fleming (senior), Heugh’s partner in the company, Heugh & Fleming, despite living in Uitenhage at that stage, was a close associate of my great-great grandfather, the Rev. Francis McCleland.  The two men shared religious interests; William was on the Vestry Committee for some time, and both men were active participants in the British and Foreign Bible Society. They were also both on the committee of the Branch Savings Bank and on the Public Library Committee.

In the 1840’s, which was the time of the closest association between William Fleming and Francis McCleland, their children Adelaide McCleland and William Fleming (junior) were still at school. William (junior) was one of the ten children of William Fleming (senior) and his wife, Frances Charlotte Fleming nee Andrews. He was born at Uitenhage in August 1833. Some time during William’s childhood his parents moved to Port Elizabeth where he received part of his education. He exhibited, even in his schooldays, the outstanding qualities that were to be seen in his subsequent career. He attended the Government Free School at Port Elizabeth and in 1846 received the first-class prizes in Grammar and Geography. The Reverend Francis McCleland would probably have found pleasure in Adelaide’s decision to marry William Fleming (Junior) as he was the son of a close associate.

Heugh’s Prospect House
As Heugh & Fleming was a successful business, they decided to establish branches. Exactly where these branches were opened is unknown but of two locations there is certitude. This extract on the Southey Party indicates that by 1824 at the latest, a branch had been established in Graham’s Town.

On arriving in Algoa Bay, George Southey’s party was initially settled at Round Hill on a branch of the Cowie River between Bathurst and Graham’s Town. In 1824 Richard Southey went to Graham’s Town and worked for a time in the office of the merchants Heugh and Fleming

As the growth of the Port Elizabeth market was torrid, they must surely have opened a branch in PE shortly afterwards. Ultimately Heugh relocated to Port Elizabeth is about 1840 but this required suitable accommodation. To meet his requirement, he selected Prospect House situated on Prospect Hill. The house occupied a prominent position overlooking Algoa Bay and most of the streets of Port Elizabeth below.  It was built in 1843 and had three reception rooms and eight bedrooms, a coach house and stabling for eight horses. As well there were outhouses for cows and poultry, A garden had been carefully laid out and was well maintained.   


Subsequent to PJ Heugh’s death on the 1st July 1858, Prospect House was advertised for sale by auction in August 1859. A notice in the Eastern Province Herald of August 8, repeated in the four subsequent issues, publicised the proposed sale of “the fine large Family Residence at present in occupation of J.M. Levick, Esq., situated on Prospect Hill”. The article noted that the house, one of two on the site, was part of the estate of the late P. J. Heugh and that Holland & Company were the auctioneers.

The adjacent house was built to almost the same design and size by Heugh’s son-in-law, Caesar Andrews (1806-1879), who married JP’s daughter, Maria Johanna Heugh in 1836, soon after Andrews returned from service on the staff of Sir Harry Smith during the Sixth Frontier War. He set up as a merchant in Port Elizabeth but became insolvent in the 1850s and moved out, having had to sell his house. He remained in Port Elizabeth and died there on 17 March 1879.

Pieter Heugh owned several other properties in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, mostly connected with branches of his merchant business. When he died on 1 July 1858 his widow, Catherina Cornelia born Fischer, continued to live in the house until her death on 14 December 1788(?) at the age of 86. After probate had been given, the trustees began selling off the various properties; the business ones were disposed of first, followed by the residential.

Charles Lovemore and Prospect House
After spending his whole life at Bushy Park, an accident may well have precipitated Charles Lovemore’s decision to retire from active farming and transfer his place of residence from Bushy Park to Port Elizabeth.

According to Bernhard Johnson in the book, The Lovemore Story, on 28 March 1878 the Eastern Province Herald included a brief report stating that Charles Lovemore had suffered a cart accident near Graaff Reinet. According to Mrs. Allen, her father had been making a routine visit to the farm Doorskuilen, and on the return journey decided to call on his friends the Parkes brothers at Graaff Reinet. On the way the post cart in which he was travelling was upset. Charles Lovemore was thrown out and a leg was broken just above the ankle. Some time elapsed before he reached hospital and had the bone set compelling him to remain as a patient in Graaff Reinet for a while. For the rest of his life, Charles had a limp and needed a walking stick to move about over any but the shortest of distances.

We do not know for how long he was in hospital in Graaff Reinet, followed by a period of enforced recuperation, but altogether he was probably inactive for several weeks, if not months. When he was able to move about, it is likely that he was on the lookout for a suitable town property to buy. To accommodate his family, all of whom except the three eldest sons would want to live at home, he needed a house with several bedrooms and outbuildings for a carriage and horses.

The auction of Prospect House was held on 26 August 1879 with Charles Lovemore one of several bidders. The Eastern Province Herald of August 29 reported the sale: “There was a good attendance, bidding was brisk and it was evident that those present meant business”.  Charles Lovemore outbid the others and for £2,875 bought the three lots which made up the property as a whole; he paid £2,000 for the main house, £375 for the adjacent outbuildings, and £500 for a six-roomed dwelling house, presumably to accommodate his coachman, grooms and stablemen. On the transfer deed (No. 514 dated 22 November 1879), the property was described as “Numbers 1,6,7,11 and part of 8, with buildings on Castle Hill”.

Above: Heugh Road today

Charles and Margery Lovemore moved into Prospect House – later renumbered No. 3 Castle Hill – either at the end of 1879 or at the beginning of 1880. Charles Lovemore’s new house was on the western side of the road, almost opposite No. 7, the house originally built by the Rev. Francis McCleland. He left his two eldest sons, Alfred Charles and Walter Edward, to run Bushy Park and watch over his other farming activities. Probably Charles Lovemore could never formally retire but spent the last years of his life up until December 1888 keeping himself active on the various committees such as the Divisional Council whose offices were close by in St. Mary’s Terrace.

Pieter Johannes Heugh is probably totally unknown today, Prospect House is still standing but requires protection against vagrants & squatters, and the name Heugh Road is not sacrosanct to the Name Changing Committee. Should it be renamed, I suggest that an indiscreet stone monument be placed in the former Heugh Road as a symbol to an early successful businessman in the nascent town.  

Port Elizabeth: A Social Chronicle to the end of 1945 by Margaret Harradine (1996, E H Walton Packaging (Pty) Ltd, Port Elizabeth, on behalf of the Historical Society of Port Elizabeth).
The Lovemore Story by Bernard Johnson (2005, Privately published)

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