Saturday, February 28, 2009

Govan Mbeki again

This was taken this morning. The street was not as busy as one would expect for a Saturday morning, maybe it will change once all the building operations are complete further down, we'll show that tomorrow,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Govan Mbeki

We were recently asked to show the upgraded Govan Mbeki Street. This is a composite shot, showing the view back towards the city hall, and showing one of the new street vendor's shelters.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

days gone by

This colourful bit of playground equipment in St George's Park is designed to commemorate the "Voortrekkers" or pioneers who opened up the interior of South Africa in the early years. It all looks entertaining and romantic from this perspective, but imagine what it must have been like for a whole family to live in this cramped space, being jolted along for months on end, heading into unknown territory, with danger on all sides. They were exceptional people.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Spotted Cow

I was in the upgraded Parliament Street last week, for a political meeting, (COPE, in case you are curious :) )which was held at the Spotted Cow. This is a really interesting place, a cocktail bar, with a sports bar attached, in what used to be a church hall. It still has the wooden vaulted ceiling and arched windows, but the interior has been modernised with a stainless steel mezzanine and a massive screen on the opposite wall for projecting sports images.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Constitution Hill

Looking up Constitution Hill, in Port Elizabeth Central. The steeple sticking up in the background is from the Hill Presbytarian Church, which we have featured before.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fun in the park

Take two young boys, throw some friendship, a sunny day and a jungle gym. Then mix it up with boundless energy and you get a whole lot of fun. E and C having a ball at St Georges Park.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Duckpond Pavilion

If you are a cricket fan and have followed any matches played in Port Elizabeth, you will be familiar with the famous Duckpond Pavilion. It got its name from the fact that it was build next to the duckpond, in St Georges Park. Though the pond is still there the ducks have long since disappeared.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gracious old home

This gracious old home, on the corner of Newington and Dickens Streets, is now used by financial brokers. The house and all the architectural detail is beautifully maintained and it remains one of the iconic land marks of Richmond Hill.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mill Park #4

The most well known feature of Mill Park is the Grey School. Here we are looking at the back, from a viewpoint in Mill Park, across one of the tributaries of the Baakens River, which has created many interesting ravines around the perimeter of the suburb. Note the security vehicle parked under the tree. A downside of the ravines is that they provide easy exit points for housebreakers to disappear into, so high walls, armed response, electric fences etc have sadly become part of the picture now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mill Park #3

As described in the first post 2 days ago, Mill Park is on the edge of the Baakens Valley. So from many streets in the suburb, you get glimpses of the hills across the valley, and many houses, such as these, have lovely views into the kloofs, and the opposite cliffs.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mill Park #2

Established a century ago, Mill Park still has the atmosphere of a gracious lifestyle when life was lived at a slower pace. The lovely well established trees which line the streets soften the effect of all the high walls in front of the homes, and the trees popping over the tops of the walls give a sort of "secret garden" intrigue as you drive along.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mill Park

Since we recently welcomed anon and arnieo to this blog, both of whom coincidentally live in Houston Texas and used to live in the PE suburb of Mill Park, we thought we'd show a couple of views of this attractive suburb.
Mill Park has an interesting history. According the the fascinating "Port Elizabeth in Bygone Days, written in 1947 by JJ Redgrave, "the present Mill Park area derived its name from the fact that there was in the early days an old Mill on the land overlooking the Baakens River"

In 1839 Mill Property belonged to Hougham, and the Government rented it, with the old mill and a small shanty house, as the Baakens River Leper Institution. By 1846 the Government had decided to move all the lepers and paupers to the leper colony on Robben Island.

The first areas to develop in Port Elizabeth were Central and Richmond Hill, Central being where the settlers who arrived in 1820 began building their homes, and part of Richmond Hill being set aside as the "Location for Native Strangers". We have dealt with this in previous posts.

As the town grew and more labourers were required to work on the development of roads and infrastructure, as well as the thriving port, the space in Richmond Hill became too small. By 1863 the Mill Farm was owned by a Town Councillor Mr T. W. Gubb, and he applied for permission to have Xhosa workers build huts on his land. It became home to around 800 squatters, and became known as "Gubb's Location". Gubb sold the land in 1867, but the name stuck.
Eleanor Lorimer, in her book Panorama of Port Elizabeth, describes conditions in the Location as "unsightly and verminous. There were no roads, no drains, no lights of course, and water and sanitary arrangements were primitive. "
This led to an outbreak of Bubonic Plague, and the location, by then owned by the Mill Park Estate and Land Company, was closed by the Plague Board in 1903, and the residents re-located to Red Location.

In the early 1900s the area was subdivided, and large houses were built, like the Old Mill House, shown above.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Finally, your trip along Marine Drive gets you to the charming little village of Schoenmakerskop. (We featured the sun rising over the sea there last week. )

And, if you are lucky, you can enjoy a lazy brunch at the Sacramento restaurant, overlooking the beautiful coastline, and, in the right season, watching whales playing around nearby.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Marine Drive Morning

Carrying on along Marine Drive, this section of the coast from Shelly Beach to Schoenmakerskop is rugged and rocky. It is always beautiful, but if you happen to be there at the right time of the day it is really stunning!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Still in the bay overlooking Cape Recife, a telephoto lens will pick up the distant lighthouse on the point.

(If you have really sharp eyes, you will see, through the mist, the yacht that featured in a recent post, with surfers in the foreground. That was taken from the other side of Cape Recife)

This bay is also home to some famous shipwrecks, because there is a dangerous reef here and over the years many vessels have come to grief on it. The reef is named after 'HMS Thunderbolt' a wooden paddle-wheeled sloop which struck it on 3 Feb 1847, and sank in Algoa Bay. The most popular wrecks are 'The Itzehoe', 1911, 'The Sabina', 1842, 'The Fidela', 1873, 'Elizabeth', 1821, 'Lady Leith', 1848, 'William Foster', 1851 and 'Cuba', 1853.

At the time we used to frequent the beach, in the mid 80s, a ship called the Kapodistrias, a Greek Bulk Carrier had run aground in calm weather, and the huge engine block has been there ever since. It is much reduced now, but in those days the waves pounding against it were spectacular, and it is still visible at low tide.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Anyone for a skinny dip?

Continuing along Marine Drive, shortly after you pass the Rifle Range featured yesterday, you round a bend in the road, and come across a car park looking back across to the Cape Recife Lighthouse.

This is known as Shelly Beach, and is home to one of PE's best kept secrets, the nudist beach. To be honest, I don't know if it is still operating as such, because it is many years since we have been there. We live in less repressive times now, but "back in the day" when little boys grew up thinking that women's breasts had little black stripes or stars on them, and nude bathing on the beach was a horrifying crime against society, Sandy Bay in Capetown rose to prominence as a nudist beach. There sun-lovers ran the gauntlet of Police Raids, and it was a sort of badge of honour to buck the system and come back from trips to Cape Town sporting an all over tan!

What many people didn't know was that PE had her own version of Sandy Bay, but it was less famous. Walk along this bay back towards the Rifle Range and lighthouse, and about halfway along, go over the first row of dunes, and there is a natural hollow that overlooks the sea, is perfectly private all round (well it was, I guess the bush clearing might have changed all that :) and, in those days, gave enough warning of approaching cops/voyeurs.

You can see the admin tower of the University to the left, and it is too small to see in this photo, but the Cape Recife Lighthouse is on the distant point to the right.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ready, aim, fire!

Another familiar sight along Marine Drive is the Cape Recife Rifle Range.
Anyone who was forced to endure National Service in the Apartheid years will remember doing target practice here. Again, due to clearing, it is now more visible from the road than it used to be.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Continuing our little jaunt down Marine Drive, we pass the grounds of the University. Previously known as UPE, it recently amalgamated with the nearby Technikon, and the two are now together known as Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, or NMMU for short.

The buildings are a classic example of what is now called "brutal architecture", the raw concrete edifices that were considered the height of modernity in the 70s. They are very spread out, the original intention was to have a built in transport system, but this never materialised. The buildings are set in a large nature reserve, protected by the ubiquitous security fencing. They have done a good job of clearing the alien vegetation and establishing indigenous plants to stabilise the sand, and there is quite a selection of wildlife to see as you drive past. (we tried to capture some springbok for you, but they were a bit far away so it wasn't the most exciting photo!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Alien invaders

While we are in the area, we might as well take you along Marine Drive between Summerstrand and Schoenmakerskop. We featured the beacon the other day. If you travel away from town from there, you enter a Marine reserve, which, until recently, was covered with alien vegetation. However a concerted effort has been made to clear the Port Jackson Willows and now there are views across the dunes to the sea where you could previously only see scraggly bushes.
The Port Jackson, an Austalian plant, was originally introduced in the 19th Century to stabilise the dunes in the area. At the time, the city was under serious threat from encroaching sands, and the main streets were absolutely miserable with drifting swirling sand whenever the notorious coastal wind blew, so the willows were introduced to bind the dunes. But they became a problem, with no natural enemies, and took over large areas, and because they are very volatile plants, when there were fires, the heat destroyed all the indigenous vegetation totally. Eventually they were declared Noxious Weeds.It has cost a fortune to begin eradicating them, and is very labour intensive, but in this area at least, good progress has been made.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Then and Now- the Willows

We received this old photo of the Willows Resort, taken in 1959, from our friend Gaston. .. and here it is now, not so different, if you look at hese old chalets.....

.... but there are also new chalets and a conference hall, seen here at sunrise,

and as a bonus, as we stopped a bit further to photograph some of the new chalets through the fence, we had the delightful experience of watching a family of mongooses (mom, dad and 2 babies) frollicking on the lawn. Not the greatest shot, but here they are!

thanks Gaston!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Save the planet.....Recycle

It is utterly crazy that in a city the size of Port Elizabeth, no municipal structures exist for the recycling of waste. Luckily, for those of us who care more about the planet than our town fathers (and mothers!) do, these enterprising ladies have set up a company called Greencycle, to help with recycling in PE. For a nominal monthly fee, they will collect your plastic, metal, glass and paper waste, and make sure it is distributed to the correct recycling plants. Well done ladies! If you want to know more, or sign up, you can e mail them at

Friday, February 6, 2009

Loxion life 2, the

Another picture from guest photographer Bongi Magongo, taken in New Brighton. This was the venue for an open air fashion show that took place there recently (cool fashions can be seen on Bongi's facebook album). And by the way, note the pavement decorations, what is it about architects and balls? hehe

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Loxion Life 1: Cafe, New Brighton

Today's photo comes from guest photographer Bongi Magongo, who was at a fashion launch in New Brighton recently. So here is a glimpse of township or Location life (old apartheid terminology which has, with tongue in cheek, been corrupted to Loxion.....) more tomorrow. Thanks Bongi!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Schoenmakerskop at Sunrise

On Sunday it was a beautiful morning and we took a sunrise jaunt along the coast. By the time we got there the sun was bouncing off the sea and creating wonderful mirrored areas.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Totem pole

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We came acoss this brightly painted pole in Clarendon street the other day and it looks like someone had a lot of fun painting it. Unfortunately it also looks like many people have placed their offerings of litter at the base of the pole. Come on good citizens you can do better than that!

Monday, February 2, 2009


One of the iconic buildings in Port Elizabeth Central is Pineview, which is situated between Donkin Street and Ivy Terrace. When you contrast this building and Cora Terrace with the earlier post on the Victoria Hotel, you can see what a difference having a heart and a passion for our City and our heritage can achieve.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Monthly Theme: Paths and Passages Cora Terrace

The daily photo theme for this month is "paths and passages" and we have decided to feature Cora Terrace, which is one of the gems of Port Elizabeth Central. It is seen here in the early hours of the morning with its beautifully maintained Victorian homes.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants