Barville Park 1820 settler estate, located to the west of Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape, has a long tail to its history. It was one of the largest properties allocated to a settler in the region. A portion of it touched on Port Alfred itself. It included well known farms, obviously subdivided off now, however, these were all part of the original farm.
Does anyone remember Pyott Biscuits? They were the makers of Salticrax, Romany Creams, Iced Zoo and many other SA favourites. Today they’re all branded under the Bakers label and the Pyott name has largely been forgotten.
As a child my gran used to take me to walk through the gardens of the famed Old Word Concretes that have in existence since 1919. This place was my place of enchantment. The little fat cherubs and elves. I still have their pots in my garden. Well I had... I think my landscaper son has taken them away. He too is an artist and, how bizarre never having told him this story, his sculptures are in the category of outside art.
Once, a train ran from Port Alfred station every day: the 11.10 to Grahamstown, 68km away. In the early 1900s the train used to steam up through the valleys towards Bathurst and Grahamstown taking farmers, farm workers, holidaymakers and commercial travellers, especially on stock-fair days, when the atmosphere was festive and the coaches were full. It is no longer possible to go on the train. One must walk the line or take the road that loops and meets, strays from and returns to it.
A few years ago, Bev Young compiled this article on the spectacular Cock's Castle in Port Alfred. The piece was originally published in the newpaper Eastern Cape Today on 21 January 2010. Bev is one of the Eastern Cape's most prolific and passionate researchers.
Morley House is an exquisite historic home. I first went there in the late 1980s, when it was a home and antique shop. Oh my... the yellowwood woodwork, red baked floor tiles, crooked passages, low doorways. It was all just so perfect! There is an oldish rondavel in the backyard, which I am convinced might have been the original kitchen. Since there are no known plans, it is difficult to be sure. The bathrooms, would have been added, possibly in place of the old pantry.