Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Memoirs of Jessie Allen (Nee Lovemore)

Jessie Lovemore was born and raised on the Lovemore’s Farm at Bushy Park. Her father, Charles Lovemore, was the son of Henry Lovemore, the original Lovemore owner of this farm. In writing her memoires, Jessie has left an invalueable depiction of life of one of the prominent families in the nascent Port Elizabeth. Most of her reminiscences cover her life in Port Elizabeth which she was forced to leave when her husband took up sheep farming in the Middleburg district.

Main picture: Children of Charles & Margery Lovemore circa 1879, L-R Back: Charles, Walter, Alfred & Harry, L-R Middle Hector, Florine, Jessie, Mary & William L-R Front Ian & Sinclair

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Era of Hunting

Prior to the 20th century, hunting was both a sport and a source of protein. The early explorers and adventurers in the 18th and early 19th century all reported encountering huge herds of elephants and even buffaloes roaming around in the vicinity of Kragga Kamma. By the time of the arrival of the Trekboers in the mid-eighteen century, most of the large game had been exterminated except for a patch near Alexandria.

Now it was the turn of the small game to be decimated all in the name of sport.

Main picture: PE Hunt Club on Willowby Farm, now Glen Hurd, owned by George Parkin

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Norman Lovemore: Reminiscences about a Life Well-Lived

As his life wound down but before the candle of his life guttered and fizzled out, Norman Lovemore “decided to amuse myself by rambling amongst the many memories which haunt [ed him]”. In 1982 in the twilight of his life, he set out on a new adventure, a journey to record the highways and byways of his interesting life for posterity. The only detours that he made was to knowingly exclude those parts of this journey of which he was ashamed.   

In using Norman Lovemore’s transcribed reminiscences, I have largely retained the original script but have detoured to improve readability and have often converted the first person into the third person. I have also taken the liberty to improve his grammar and vocabulary where required. In all other respects I have been faithful to Norman’s original text.

Main picture: Norman Lovemore as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during WW1

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Early History of the Buffelsfontein Area

Like most of Port Elizabeth prior to the arrival of the British, the area of the future town comprised farms of the Trek Boers. Many of these names such as Welbedacht, the future Walmer, have long since disappeared yet the name Buffelsfontein has clung on tenaciously.

This blog is based upon an article by Bernard Johnson.

Main picture: Buffelsfontein by EC Moore

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Blunting the Menace of the Drift Sands

A natural feature of Port Elizabeth since time immemorial was a band of drift sands stretching from Gulchways near Schoenmakerskop across the bush to Algoa Bay between Shark River and Bird Road.

To protect the town, in the 1870s it was decided to prevent the sands’ possible movement over the town by planting bushes and trees over the sand dunes. This process took 30 years. Apart from remnants of these dunes, none of this natural feature remains except the sandy soil. The consequences of tampering with nature always results in unintended consequences. In a separate blog I have addressed those negative effects on the ecological system.

This blog has been based upon an excellent article by Ivor Markman which was published in the Herald on Monday 20th July 2009

Main picture: Mule train used to deposit refuse on the drift sands

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Lovemores and Bushy Park

The area known as Bushy Park is today inextricably linked to the Lovemore clan. Yet it might not always have been so. In fact Henry Lovemore was not the initial owner of this land. Lt Cornelius Bolton Alcock was and it was known as Klaas’s Kraal. Even Cornelius was not the initial applicant for this land.

 This blog is the story of those early days of Bushy Park. 

Main picture:  Hunting at Bushy Park

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Sand dunes, Inhabitants and Animals

Imagine if I told you that 250 years ago a Swedish botanist by the name of Thunberg spotted a herd of 500 buffaloes in the area 20 minutes from the centre of Port Elizabeth called Kragga Kamma. First all the large animals were eliminated and then the smaller ones. Today all that remains is a recently opened small game park in the area. Apart from that, originally the area from Cape Recife to Humewood to Bushy Park was one giant field of sand dunes. Sadly this natural wonder has been replaced with Port Jackson Willows. What size was Port Elizabeth before the arrival of the Settlers?

Some of these developments were beneficial but others were disastrous. It depends upon one’s point of view. But such is the cost of progress.

Main picture: Hunting in Bushy Park

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