Discovering PE’s oldest dam – Frames Dam

Its always nice to discover something or somewhere new.  In this case it was something old.  A quick geocache outing during lunch time took me into the Shark River Valley in Humewood and to the old Frames Reservoir.  In the mid 1800’s the fledgling town of Port Elizabeth was having water problems.  As a stop-gap measure, a Mr Pinchin and Mr Clement Wall Frames, nephew of William Brooksby Frames, negotiated with the Town Council to supply water to the lower parts of the town from the Shark’s River.  At that time water from the Shark’s River was used for a wool washery established by Frames on the south bank. Capital of £10 000 was raised in subscribed shares of £100 each. This scheme was known as the Shark’s River Water Supply Company. In 1863 a masonry wall was constructed across the Shark’s River. This storage reservoir, with a capacity of over half a million gallons, was officially opened in 1864 and named “Frames Dam”, after Clement Frames, who initiated and built the dam and laid a pipeline to town. The opening ceremony was preceded by a morning hunt and a champagne breakfast.  The dam itself was located approximately 1 1/2 miles south of the town in the Shark’s River Valley on the farm Gomery, now Humewood.  Water from the storage dam was conveyed to the town by a pipeline laid between the beach and Main Street, and extended as far as the prison in North End. The pipes used were imported from England and taps were fitted at regular intervals for the convenience of residents.  Unfortunately for Frames, due to pressure problems the higher lying areas lost out.  He later went bankrupt as a result of the scheme and the municipality took it over.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Gaelyn

    Beautiful spot. Interesting story trying to supply water.

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