Now considered an anachronism, but in the 19th century, the market was a millennia old method of connecting buyers and seller without the intermediation of shops. It occupied a pivotal place in the towns of yore, culturally and economically, normally being located at the centre of the town. So it was in the case of Port Elizabeth.
Main picture: Market Square with bullock carts
This hall epitomises the agricultural origins of Port Elizabeth. In 1863, a wool market had already been established on the site of the temporary Trinity Church on the corner of Baakens Street and Military Road. With the advent of the thriving sale of ostrich feathers, a market was required, preferably close to the harbour, at which the feathers could be auctioned. Over the years the industry declined, and other uses of it had to be found. To this end, the hall was converted for use as a concert hall or for other public gatherings.
Main picture: Original sketch of the Feather Market Hall by WH Miles on the Official Guide of the SA Exhibition