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.
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.
In the vale of Clumber in the Eastern Cape, 5 km from Bathurst just off the Shaw Park road, lies Clumber Church. Situated on a knoll, this is the third Church to be built on this spot by the Nottingham Party and descendants of the 1820 Settlers. This knoll was given the name of Mount Mercy by the Nottingham Party in thanksgiving for their safe arrival here on a journey which had taken them over 6 months to complete.
We found the following article by B.I. Spaanderman in the 1991 edition of the old Johannesburg Historical Foundation's journal Between the Chains. It looks at a number of South African mills with a particular focus on Millbank, the closest to Johannesburg.
[Originally published 30 May 2014] Bathurst Primary School is running a campaign to raise funds for much needed restoration work. The campaign's tagline is 'Restoring the Oldest School in South Africa'. The cause is undoubtedly a worthy one but is the claim of 'oldest school' legitimate? Ms Sigi Howes (Head: Education Museum, Wynberg, Cape Town) provides some answers in this open letter.
Very little remains of the historic Richardson's Mill in the Trappes Valley 10km north east of Bathurst in the Eastern Cape. Well known local enthusiast Bev Young first saw the structure in 2000 and described it as 'wrecked but visible and the grounds still accessible'. Over the years she has documented what is left of the mill and has watched as things have deteriorated to the point where there is almost nothing left today. The short article below, written by A S Basson, is very tough to read.