The Prince of Wales Obelisk: Port Elizabeth

This Obelisk has had somewhat of a chequered history and seems to have lost its reason for existing. Currently sited at Bayworld in PE (2011), it has a plaque on it that reads: “Purchased by John Paterson at The London Exhibition of 1862. Intended for the grave of George Kemp. It was instead erected on the Port Elizabeth Market Square where it stood until 1921. The remaining upper section erected on this site 1975” .

These photographs were kindly taken by Ronnie Lovemore in June 2011, and are used with his permission.

Information Plaque

Information Plaque

George Kemp was the business partner of John Paterson; Kemps father would not agree to the use of the obelisk and donated it to Port Elizabeth.  It was then decided to erect it to commemorate the Prince of Wale’s marriage to Princess Alexandra and it was finally erected on 22 May 1863 in front of the City Hall on Market Square.

As erected,  the obelisk stood on a square plinth with three steps leading up to it, later, in 1878, 4 troughs were added and filled with water during a “tap ceremony” when water was first piped to Port Elizabeth.  In 1921, the obelisk was removed and the base, slightly lengthened, was used as a base for the howitzer that made up part of the South African Heavy Artillery Monument.  Two of the water troughs were removed, one finally ending up outside Walmer Town Hall.  In 1933, the SAHA memorial was moved to its present spot in St George’s Park, the base being dispensed of entirely.

Drinking trough from the Obelisk base (1878), now at Walmer Town Hall.

Drinking trough from the Obelisk base (1878), now at Walmer Town Hall.

The obelisk, once removed from its base, was no longer needed and was put in storage until 1975 when it was re-erected at Bayworld. It is known as the Prince Of Wales Obelisk and may be found at Google Earth Co-ordinates   33° 58.667’S,  25° 38.959’E.  A detailed history of this memorial may be found at  The Prince Of Wales Obelisk page on Wikipedia (Page is in Afrikaans).

© DRW 2011-2017. Created 16/08/2011, Photographs © Ronnie Lovemore. Additional information by Carl Hoehler. Moved to blog 06/02/2014

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