In July 2013 Port Elizabeth celebrated 100 years since being declared a city. At the time I was still working for Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and was tasked to find out what it was all about. We all know Port Elizabeth is much older than that. Fort Frederick was built by the British to defend Algoa Bay in 1799 and the British Settlers arrived in 1820. It was also in 1820 while overseeing the landing of the Settlers that Sir Rufane Donkin named the town Port Elizabeth after his deceased wife, Lady Elizabeth Donkin. So in general it is excepted that Port Elizabeth was established in 1820. So where does the 1913 date come from then? It was in June 1913 that the town council decided to officially declare Port Elizabeth a city. There was no specific guideline that had to be met to be a city, unlike in the UK where you had to have a cathedral to be called a city. Both Port Elizabeth’s cathedrals only became cathedrals after that date any. It was just a case of the town council deciding that they felt the town had reached a size big enough for it to be called a city. A document was probably drawn up and signed by the mayor and from there on Port Elizabeth was a city. Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and the municipality had this video produced at the time to celebrate the 100 year anniversary. It contains some very nice old photos of the city and some modern footage at the end.
June 2014 Port Elizabeth celebrates 100 years of being a city