Port Elizabeth of Yore: The “Aloes”, No. 56 Park Drive

Amongst the multitude of stylish and elegant houses lining Park Drive was this house: The “Aloes” at No. 56 Park Drive [Lot 24] constructed in January 1911.

This blog and subsequent blogs on houses in this street were supplied by Tennyson Smith Bodill for which I am grateful.

Main picture: Photograph of the “Aloes”

“An Englishman’s Home is his castle”, so the old saying goes. And how true it is. ‘Aloes’ must be the finest stately house in Park Drive built in the English tradition on Lot 24.

This lavish double-storeyed house was designed by Jones & McWilliams, a local firm of architects, who specialised in Art Nouveau architecture.

One of the partners, Victor Thomas Jones worked as architect and interior designer at the fashionable London store, Liberty & Co, for several years. The founder, Sir Arthur Lazenby Liberty, was an important promotor of English Art Nouveau and commissioned prominent artists and architects to do exclusive designs for the store. When Jones arrived in South Africa in 1896, he carried this stylistic influence with him.

‘Aloes’ was built in 1911 for Oscar Bracht by R.G. McClelland and its overall simplicity, tapering columns and fretwork balustrading are references to the more fashionable Art Nouveau movement. The house has its original roof, and the walls are finished with a tinted roughcast cement, the aggregates being imported from Scotland.

The gables are Italianate in concept while the chimneys are typical British architecture to accommodate fireplaces installed in almost every room. The interior of the house is Arts and Crafts rendered.

Today ‘Aloes’ belongs to the Harraway family.


The Architecture of Park Drive: An Assessment by Tennyson Smith Bodill

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