Port Elizabeth of Yore: Cleghorns on Market Square

The building on the northern corner of White’s Road opposite Market Square was originally built in 1861 by Paterson, the owner of the Eastern Province Herald. In 1864, just after the construction of the grand Town Hall was completed, he named the building the Herald Chambers”, and relocated his newspaper there.

In March 1884, the department store, Cleghorn and Harris, was opened in “Herald Chambers” in the Market Square. A decade later, in January 1894, they purchased the building.

This store was located in a prime location overlooking the pivotal point in Port Elizabeth. It was not the hoi polloi and the down-at-the-heel who were attracted to the restaurant with its view of the Town Hall but the elite.

Main picture: Cleghorn’s Building burnt down on the 6th May 1896

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Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: The Cleghorn’s Building

Among the pantheon of buildings arranged around the Town Hall during the “classical” period of the town, was the Cleghorn’s Building. It is important not to forget that this building had a much more illustrious past as it initially served as the Herald’s offices after it relocated here from Titterton Lane just off Main Street.

Main picture: The original building at the foot of White’s Road, then occupied by the Eastern Province Herald

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Mad Pyromaniac

Some people gain fame, and possibly fortune, through charity, good deeds and hard work whereas Miss Francis Livingstone Johnson only gained notoriety through setting fire to numerous buildings in Port Elizabeth in the mid- 1890s. The reason for burning down churches was an apparent irrational hatred of altars. 

The blog covers the wayward and abnormal career of this atypical female.

Main picture: The Cleghorn, Harris and Stephen’s building, next to where the present Port Elizabeth Public Library was later built, burnt down on Wednesday night 6th May 1896.

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