1887

n South African Journal of Cultural History - Cradock place : verlore erfenis van die Oos-Kaapse entrepreneur, Frederick Korsten

Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1018-0745
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Abstract


Algoa Bay was known from the earliest times for the natural saltpans in its vicinity, pans that played a major role in the development of the region. In 1812, Dutch entrepreneur Frederick Korsten became the owner of the farm Cradock Place in Algoa Bay (today Port Elizabeth). Originally known as Papenkuilsfontein, the farm was destined to change the commercial landscape and economic future of Algoa Bay dramatically during the nineteenth century. In addition to its commercial importance, in time Cradock Place also became the social centre for well-to-do visitors to Algoa Bay. Regular guests at Cradock Place included Cape Governors of the day, French scientists, a Zulu delegation sent by Shaka, as well as the well-known traveler-artist Thomas Baines.
Regrettably this successful enterprise was ravaged by misfortune and sorrow: the demise of Cradock Place started with a devastating flood, followed by an all-consuming fire and, ultimately, new urban expansions in the area accelerated and even destroyed the once colourful legacy of the farm. In time the property was extensively vandalised and ultimately little was left of Korsten's commercial legacy. During the twentieth century renewed efforts to protect and even to redevelop the historic property came to almost naught. Today only the foundations of the once admired homestead are left to remind the visitor of a prosperous time gone by.
This article seeks to reconstruct the rise en fall of Cradock Place by analysing and integrating available literature on the farm. The fact that the once prosperous Cradock Place is completely unknown today, illustrates how failure to conserve eventually contributes to the total loss of valuable cultural and historical heritage.

Algoabaai was van die vroegste tye bekend vir die natuurlike soutpanne in die omgewing wat 'n uiters belangrike rol gespeel het in die ontwikkeling van die streek. In 1812 het die Nederlandse entrepreneur, Frederick Korsten, die eienaar van die plaas Cradock Place in Algoabaai (vandag Port Elizabeth) geword. Oorspronklik bekend as Papenkuilsfontein, sou die plaas gedurende die negentiende eeu die kommersiële en ekonomiese toekoms van die streek dramaties verander. Benewens die kommersiële belang van Cradock Place, het die plaas mettertyd ook die sosiale bymekaarkomplek gevorm vir gesiene besoekers aan Algoabaai. Gereelde gaste op Cradock Place het Kaapse goewerneurs, Franse wetenskaplikes, 'n Zoeloe afvaardiging van Shaka, asook die alombekende reisiger-kunstenaar, Thomas Baines, ingesluit.


Ongelukkig is hierdie suksesvolle onderneming geteister deur teenspoed en hartseer: die ondergang van Cradock Place het begin met 'n verwoestende vloed, gevolg deur 'n allesverterende brand en ten einde laaste het nuwe stedelike uitbreidings in die area, die agteruitgang en selfs vernietiging van die eens kleurvolle nalatenskap van die plaas versnel. Mettertyd is die eiendom heeltemal geplunder en uiteindelik het ook weinig van Korsten se kommersiële nalatenskap behoue gebly. Gedurende die twintigste eeu het pogings om die historiese eiendom te beskerm en selfs tot sy voormalige glorie te herstel, ook op bykans niks uitgeloop. Vandag herinner slegs die fondasies van die eens bewonderenswaardige hoofopstal nog die besoeker aan die voorspoed van 'n vervloë tydperk.
Hierdie artikel poog om die ontstaan en verval van Cradock Place te rekonstrueer deur beskikbare literatuur omtrent die plaas te analiseer en te integreer. Dat die eens welvarende Cradock Place vandag in algehele vergetelheid verval het, illustreer hoe bewaringsgeleenthede wat nie benut word nie, kan bydra tot die algehele verlies van waardevolle kultuur-historiese erfenis.

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/content/culture/29/2/EJC184594
2015-12-01
2016-12-09

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