The Athenaeum in Port Elizabeth was founded in the 1850′s to promote cultural activities but sadly died out in the 1880′s.  In 1893 the Young Men’s Institute, the School of Art, the Naturalists’ Society and the Camera Club came together and re-assert the right of the Athenaeum to occupy a part of the City Hall.  The then Town Council offered to bear most of the cost to erect the present building which was opened in 1896.  In the early years of the 1900′s it became mainly a social club and changed its name, but it has since again become a centre for cultural as well as social activities.  After the Second World War the Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society rented and enlarged the Loubser Hall extension which is now the Ford Little Theatre.  The building, declared a national monument in 1980, is one of only a few examples of the classical style of architecture in the city and was designed by George William Smith.  The Mandela Bay Development Agency as part of the rejuvenation of Central and the development of the Route 67 art route has restored the building and it was officially reopened in 2011.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Gaelyn

    I like the architecture yet even more the idea behind it being a cultural/social center, forever.

  2. bumblebee

    Beautiful old building, wonderful character, amazing history…