Port Elizabeth of Yore: “New Church” in Main Street

One of the little known facts about Port Elizabeth of Yore is that there was another church in Main Street apart from St. Mary’s. It was known by the highly imaginative name of The New Church. It stood in Main Street between Donkin Street and Constitutional Hill, which extended down to Main Street in those days. This church was initially an independent church built by the members of Union Chapel. 

Main picture:  New Church is on the right looking towards the market square. One is unable to view the Town Hall at the end of Main Street, as it did not yet exist. 

Also known as The Scotch Church and later in its existence as Robson’s Congregational Church, the architect of New Church was Peter Penketh, who practiced in Cape Town. It was constructed over the period 1852 to 1853.

Most notably, the belfry tower contained a clock known as Town Clock which was later donated by William Jones to the Town Hall where it was installed in 1883.

New Church circa 1871 from the Donkin Reserve

The inauguration services in connection with “New Church” were preached on the 25th July 1853. Standing in Main Street between Donkin Street and Constitution Hill, this was an Independent Church built by members of Union Chapel who felt they could now support a minister themselves. During March 1853, John Harsant arrived with his family from England to be the first minister of the “New” Church. He served until April 1866, whereupon he returned to England. He was succeeded by John Cheyne Macintosh, after whom the Macintosh Memorial Hall in Pearson Street is named.

new-church-on-the-corner-of-main-donkin-streets

During August 1854, a memorial to Lt-Col John Fordyce of the 74th Highlanders, killed in an ambush in the Waterkloof in November 1851, and paid for by public subscription, was erected in New Church. It is now in the Pearson Street Congregational Church. His loss “was universally felt to be a public calamity“.

In due course, the Presbyterians formed their own congregation and hence this church became a purely Congregational one. It was known as Robson’s Congregational Church referring to Pastor Robinson who was the minister in charge.

The Independent or New Church
The Independent or New Church

 The church’s use declined following the construction of a new Presbyterian church higher up the hill and was sold to John Holland, in 1878. He had the building altered and given a new street frontage to accommodate his auction business, Armstrong Auction Rooms. The architect was G. Dix-Peek.

this-was-originally-armstrong-co-and-then-became-auction-rooms-at-the-bottom-of-donkin-hill02
This was originally Armstrong & Co and then it became auction rooms
this-was-originally-armstrong-co-and-then-became-auction-rooms-at-the-bottom-of-donkin-hill01

In 1926 the Netherland Bank acquired the building It is not clear if the new bank by Siemerink included elements of the original church but certainly the elevational treatment of the building was completely changed.

Netherlands Bank in the altered New Church Building
Netherlands Bank in the altered New Church Building with the Union Chapel Church in the background

This building was in turn demolished in 1976 and the new Nedbank Building constructed on the site incorporating the lower part of Constitution Hill. This building is still extant.

Sources:

Artefacts: http://www.artefacts.co.za/main/Buildings/bldgframes.php?bldgid=6030

Port Elizabeth: The Social Chronicle to the end of 1945 by Margaret Harradine

Related blogs:

Rations, Rules and other Regulations aboard the Settler Ships

Rations, Rules and other Regulations aboard the Settler Ships

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Earliest Photographs

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Earliest Photographs & Photographers

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Empire units in P.E. during the Boer War

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Empire units in P.E. during the Boer War

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Defences during the Boer War

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Defences during the Boer War

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Memorials to the Fallen in War

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Memorials to the Fallen in War

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Fire Damage to the P.E. Advertiser in 1913

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Fire Damage to the P.E. Advertiser in 1913

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Albany Road

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Albany Road

Algoa Bay before the Settlers: Sojourn by Henry Lichtenstein in the Early 1800s

Algoa Bay before the Settlers: Sojourn by Henry Lichtenstein in the Early 1800s

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Captain Jacob Glen Cuyler

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Captain Jacob Glen Cuyler

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Growth of the Population

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Growth of the Population

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Murders most Foul

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Murders most Foul

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Phoenix Hotel

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Phoenix Hotel

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Echoes of a Far off War

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Echoes of a Far-off War

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Main Street in the Tram Era

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Main Street in the Tram Era

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Customs House

Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Customs House

The Great Flood in Port Elizabeth on 1st September 1968

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Great Flood of 1st September 1968

 

A Sunday Drive to Schoenmakerskop in 1922

A Sunday Drive to Schoenmakerskop in 1922

 

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Horse Drawn Trams

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Horse Drawn Trams

 

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Trinder Square

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Trinder Square

 

The Sad Demise of the Boet Erasmus Stadium

The Sad Demise of the Boet Erasmus Stadium

 

Interesting Old Buildings in Central Port Elizabeth:

Interesting Old Buildings in Central Port Elizabeth

The Shameful Torching of Port Elizabeth’s German Club in 1915: 

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Shameful Torching of the German Club in 1915

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Cora Terrace:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Cora Terrace

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Grand Hotel:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Grand Hotel

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Whaling in Algoa Bay:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Whaling-From Abundance to Near Extinction

Port Elizabeth of Yore: White’s Road:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: White’s Road

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Slipway in Humewood:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Slipway in Humewood

Port Elizabeth of Yore: King’s Beach:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: King’s Beach

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Russell Road:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Russell Road

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Sand dunes, Inhabitants and Animals:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Sand dunes, Inhabitants and Animals

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Horse Memorial: 

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Horse Memorial

 

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Target Kloof:

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Road through Target Kloof & its Predecessors

The Parsonage House at Number 7 Castle Hill Port Elizabeth

The Parsonage House at Number 7 Castle Hill Port Elizabeth

What happened to the Shark River in Port Elizabeth?

What happened to the Shark River in Port Elizabeth?

A Pictorial History of the Campanile in Port Elizabeth

A Pictorial History of the Campanile in Port Elizabeth

Allister Miller: A South African Air Pioneer & his Connection with Port Elizabeth

Allister Miller: A South African Air Pioneer & his Connection with Port Elizabeth

 

The Three Eras of the Historic Port Elizabeth Harbour

The Three Eras of the Historic Port Elizabeth Harbour

The Historical Port Elizabeth Railway Station

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Railway Station

The Friendly City – Port Elizabeth – My Home Town

The Friendly City – Port Elizabeth – My Home Town

2 Comments

  1. R Norman Shaw was a very famous British architect, not American. This design was one of his most remarkable.

    Reply

Leave a Comment.

*