Mill Park

Since we recently welcomed anon and arnieo to this blog, both of whom coincidentally live in Houston Texas and used to live in the PE suburb of Mill Park, we thought we’d show a couple of views of this attractive suburb.
Mill Park has an interesting history. According the the fascinating “Port Elizabeth in Bygone Days, written in 1947 by JJ Redgrave, “the present Mill Park area derived its name from the fact that there was in the early days an old Mill on the land overlooking the Baakens River”

In 1839 Mill Property belonged to Hougham, and the Government rented it, with the old mill and a small shanty house, as the Baakens River Leper Institution. By 1846 the Government had decided to move all the lepers and paupers to the leper colony on Robben Island.

The first areas to develop in Port Elizabeth were Central and Richmond Hill, Central being where the settlers who arrived in 1820 began building their homes, and part of Richmond Hill being set aside as the “Location for Native Strangers”. We have dealt with this in previous posts.

As the town grew and more labourers were required to work on the development of roads and infrastructure, as well as the thriving port, the space in Richmond Hill became too small. By 1863 the Mill Farm was owned by a Town Councillor Mr T. W. Gubb, and he applied for permission to have Xhosa workers build huts on his land. It became home to around 800 squatters, and became known as “Gubb’s Location”. Gubb sold the land in 1867, but the name stuck.

Eleanor Lorimer, in her book Panorama of Port Elizabeth, describes conditions in the Location as “unsightly and verminous. There were no roads, no drains, no lights of course, and water and sanitary arrangements were primitive. “
This led to an outbreak of Bubonic Plague, and the location, by then owned by the Mill Park Estate and Land Company, was closed by the Plague Board in 1903, and the residents re-located to Red Location.

In the early 1900s the area was subdivided, and large houses were built, like the Old Mill House, shown above.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Firefly

    Today’s post is very informative. The history of Mill Park isn’t as well known as some of the other areas around Port Elizabeth.

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for fulfilling my request with the beautiful Mill Pk picture and all the history. FYI. My name is Greta and it so happens that Arnieo is my brother. We all moved to Houston in the seventies. Small world indeed!

  3. Jeanne

    Thanks for a super informative post on a lovely suburb! I have Eleanor Lorimer’s book – went to some trouble to buy it last year as it’s waaaaay out of print, but it’s such a great resource.