Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Commercial Hall Building

The building of the Commercial Hall was indicative of the emerging maturity of the town. One of the purposes to which this building was to be put, namely as a library, was emblematic of this transition.  Unfortunately, intruding on these intentions was the old court house burning down. As a consequence, from 1856 until the new library was opened in 1902, this prime function was put in abeyance for 46 years.

Main picture: Commercial Hall building on the site of the current Main Public Library

Continue reading

Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Criminal Justice System

Any criminal justice system, apart from the Wild West, comprises several independent components: the constabulary, the magistracy and the prisons. This chapter deals with all three elements during the early years of the town’s development.

Main picture: Commercial Hall which housed both the Magistrate’s Court and the Police Offices before their relocation. Ultimately this site became the public library.

Continue reading