Friday, February 16, 2018

The 76 Youth remembered on Route 67

As one follows Route 67 from the city centre up towards the Donkin Reserve you pass the Public Library and St Mary's Cathedral before climbing a set of steps up to Winston Ntshona Street (previously Chapel Street).  The art piece on the wall by the steps is a statement about the 76 generation (referring to the 1976 Soweto uprising) and represents the spiritual journey undertaken by those who fought against oppression.  The art piece takes the form of a pile of newspapers being blown away in the wind and the pages tell the story of the youth. 

It's sad though to see that a number of the newspaper sheets have been removed from the lower section of the piece.  Very disappointing to see their remembrance defiled like this.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Campanile clock and bells mechanism

Ascending the Campanile you don't just get to see the original bell clappers, you also get to see the original clock (below) and bell (above) mechanisim.  


Friday, February 9, 2018

Campanile bell clappers

During the renovation of the Campanile bells, the original clappers were replaced with more modern ones that could "reset" to ring the bells a lot faster.  The old clappers have been renovated themselves and have been put on display on one of the levels as you go up the tower.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Export cars on the PE Harbour

Looking down onto the harbour from the Campanile observation deck, one just can't help but wonder where in the world these cars are being exported to.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Carillon of bells in the Port Elizabeth Campanile

At the top of the Campanile there is a glass trapdoor you can actually see the bells through.  I was lucky enough to go on a tour up the Campanile with somebody from the Mandela Bay Development Agency who was in charge of the renovations and he opened the door for me and allowed me to stick my camera inside.

The Campanile originally had 23 bells with another two being added during renovations making it a carillion of 25 bells. 

A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in the bell tower of a church or municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord. A carillon-like instrument with fewer than 23 bells is called a chime.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Public Library renovation finally got going

The historic Port Elizabeth Public Library in the city centre has been closed to the public for over three years now with promises of renovations but excuses of no budget.  Well, if you had to pass the library today you won't be able to see the scene in the photo.  It is because the library has been closed off and work seem to have finally started.  Or at least I hope.  An article in the Herald about two weeks ago says work on the structure has no finally started with the completion date around mid 2021.   

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Campanile Frieze and Wall of Texts

If you started a walk along Route 67 at the Campanile then the Campanile Frieze and Wall of Texts would be one of the first art pieces you'll see.  Both of these are done by artist Mkhonto Gwazela.  The frieze at the top celebrates the indigenous heritage of Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape with the sculpted visual image being cast in concrete along the curved wall.  The poem just below is engraved into locally-sourced granite.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Port Elizabeth harbour wall

The Port Elizabeth harbour achieved "port" status for the first time in 1825, long before a proper harbour even existed.  Back then a harbour master was appointed to regulate and oversee the offloading of ships anchored offshore with goods and people being brought to shore in rowboats.  An official surfboat service was established in 1836 and this was followed by the construction of the first jetty in 1837. It wasn't until 1933 and the construction of the Charl Malan Quay (No.1 Quay, now used as the Container and Car Terminals) that Port Elizabeth had a proper port.  

Due to security one can't explore the harbour properly, but you can get to the harbour wall at the bottom end of Kings Beach.  Just remember that you're not allowed to walk onto the harbour wall because if you do you're going to have a security guard on your case very quickly.  The view back along Kings Beach with the beachfront in the background is magnificent though.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Nr 7 Castle Hill historical museum

One of Port Elizabeth's favorite museums is No 7 Castle Hill.  The history of the building goes right back to the early days of Port Elizabeth with Rev. Francis McCleland building it as his parsonage and family home in 1825.  The house is one of the oldest remaining dwelling houses in Port Elizabeth and is furnished as a mid-Victorian period family home. A lot of the furniture and items in the house comes from the 1840–1870 era to show visitors what life was like back then.  The house was declared a National Monument in 1962 and became a museum in 1964.

Friday, January 12, 2018

St Mary's front on Govan Mbeki Road

Anybody who knows Port Elizabeth and has been down to Govan Mbeki Road (Main Street) in the city centre, would know St Mary's Anglican Cathedral near the Public Library.  But not just know it.  Also be aware of the old United Building Society building that stands on the corner in front of it blocking a proper view of the whole church and causing the front of the church to look like it's standing on its own between the high rise buildings away from the rest of the cathedral behind.

In 1843 St Mary's Church had to sell off pieces of its land to fund a building project and by doing so lost possession of some extremely valuable frontage to Main Street.  At that stage there was a servitude upon the property which prevented the stores built upon it from being raised high enough to block out St. Mary’s Church from the Main Street, but this eventually changed in later years which led to the situation we have today.