Sunday, July 7, 2013

History of Walmer

I wonder how many people know that Walmer used to be a town on its own before becoming part of Port Elizabeth.  In 1815 the farm Welbedacht, covered an area just under 14 square miles, to the south west of Port Elizabeth was granted to AM Muller.  When Muller died in 1845 his farm was inherited by his 8 sons who, true to form, could not decide on how to sub divide the property.  As a result the farm was sold and the money was distributed to the heirs.  In 1855 the area was transferred to the municipality of Port Elizabeth and renamed Walmer in honour of the Duke of Wellington.  The area was then laid out and on 8 March 1855 it was resolved to sell 400 plots by public auction.  A number of stands were also reserved for the Dutch Reformed Church and the Anglican Church.  The village plan included wide streets and a plentiful supply of water.  By June 200 plots had been sold. On 22 April 1899, Walmer was awarded separate municipal status while its residential character, spacious residential plots and attractive dwellings attracted both families with young children and the elderly.  It was incorporated into the Port Elizabeth municipality in 1966.
 
The section of Walmer in the picture, taken from the Mill Park side, is next to the Baakens Valley at the start of Target Kloof.

15 comments:

  1. I think compared to the harbour area Walmer would be the 'fancy' place to be. As there is and was little industry in the area, many of its residents would likely not engage in hard manual labour. Something like Belgravia vs the East End in London, perhaps?

    Lastly, Walmer Castle on the Kentish coast was the seat of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, an honorary position awarded to national heroes. The Duke of Wellington was amongst them, who included Winston Churchill and HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walmer_Castle

    Is there then a connection between Walmer and Wellington Park, or am I adding up 2 and 2 hoping to get 4?

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    1. Wellington Park is in Walmer. The top part of Settlers Park bordering part of Walmer. I never really thought about it, but it kinda makes sense. Probably somebody with connections to Walmer in the UK who named it.

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  2. Which is why Walmer has a Town Hall.

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    1. Exactly. I bet you never really thought about it till you saw the post.

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  3. Walmer also had a branch of the Avontuur Line (Apple Express line) which served 2nd to 14th avenue. The line was for business people who travelled into town each day. (PE main street area). The line existed from 1906 - 1928, after which it was replaced with a bus service.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avontuur_Railway#Walmer_Branch

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    1. Such a pity that there isn't a passenger train servicing the western suburbs. Not that the bus service in the area is anything to write home about.

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  4. I was thrilled to discover Firefly's post on Walmer. Antonie Michal Muller (with an umlaut!), the original farmer who owned the farm Welbedacht (later Walmer) is a direct ancestor of mine. I have recently "come home" to Port Elizabeth after having lived in Pretoria for nearly 50 years and am currently living in Bluewater Bay. Phyllis Muller (now Magda).

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    1. Welcome "home". I hope you've explored the Walmer area a bit

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    2. Would love to hear any history abouit the little area! We're right there.. My welbedacht plot was originally owned by a Mr. Holger Richard Iverson and sold to Robert Hunter in 1921

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  5. I stay here on the ex Welbedacht farm and I wondered if the ruins along the guineafowl trail here were the remnants of the farm? .. bottom of Thomas Road

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  7. I wonder if someone can recall the name of a farm or picnic spot in Walmer. My grandmother once told me how an ox wagon would take them from South End to Walmer for Sunday School outings. This would have been somewhere between 1922 and 1942. I know it wasn't Baakens Reserve, if I see the name I think it will ring a bell.

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