The opening up of the shore south of South End to development in the late 1890s, ultimately culminated in the building of holiday hotels along the beach front. The first of these was named the Beach or the Humewood Beach Hotel. In doing so, confusion has subsequently reigned amongst historians as it was confused with the later Humewood Mansions Hotel in Beach Road.
Confounding the issue, was the building of separate Beach and Humewood Hotels after the original Humewood Beach Hotel on the site of the original Elizabeth Hotel was destroyed by fire in December 1915.
Main picture: The second hotel to bear the name of the Beach Hotel
It is probably no consolation for Port Elizabeth to claim that it was the first town in South Africa through which a motor vehicle was shipped. It is only Pretoria that can rightfully make the more prestigious claim that it was first town in which the first car was driven in South Africa. This occurred in 1897 at Berea Park.
Nevertheless, Port Elizabeth would not be far behind.
Main picture: Mr William Adcock, Mayor of Walmer, in his 1896 Benz Velo with his passenger Mr Charles Lovemore
On the southern coast of Port Elizabeth lies a hamlet barely touched by civilisation. Comprising less than 100 cottages, it is partially a retirement village as well as a holiday resort. Unlike the endless sandy beaches of Algoa Bay, it comprises shingly gullies and rock pools. Instead of the perfect waves for surfers, theses gullies are safe even for toddlers. This blog chronicles the early history of this timeless hamlet with its Norfolk pines oblivious to the sea breezes. This is where I learnt to swim, to dive, to fish – which I never enjoyed – and to explore the inter-tidal zone and rock pools.
Main picture: Motor vehicles on the commonage in front of The Hut Tearoom at Schoenmakerskop. This photograph was originally hanging in my parent’s house at 57 Mowbray Street, Newton Park