Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Obelisk water troughs

If you know a bit about Port Elizabeth's history then you will know that at one stage there was an obelisk standing on Market Square in front of the City Hall.  The obelisk is known as The Prince of Wales Obelisk and was brought to South Africa by the founder of the Eastern Province Herald, John Paterson to be placed on the grave of his partner, George Kemp. The Kemp family decided that it was too elaborate to place on the grave and donated it to the city.  The City then erected it in front of the City Hall on 22 May 1863 to commemorate the Prince of Wale’s marriage to Princess Alexandra.  In 1877/8 four water troughs were added and filled with water during a “tap ceremony” when water was first piped to Port Elizabeth.  The obelisk was removed in 1921 and stored until 1975 when it was placed in front of Bayworld in Humewood.  But what happened to the four water troughs?

One of the water troughs was placed on the lawn at the Walmer Town Hall where it can still be found.  I bet most people have never actually noticed it or even though what it was.  The location of the other three troughs is unfortunately unknown. 


  1. What an interesting bit of history! Glad you located at least one water trough.

  2. Trough used to be at Forest Hill. I located it there in the 70's and notified the museum at the time. Not sure when they had it moved to Walmer. Rather odd as a location near the obelisk would have been more appropriate

  3. Rumoured that the other troughs ended up as fill under roadworks.