It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the creator of The Labyrinth of East London Lore, Dr T., has passed away. Helping people through his website gave him no end of pleasure. If you had contact with him and would like to leave a message, please send us an e-mail here.

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East London's
historic West Bank


The West Bank was the original East London. Founded in late March 1847 as a port for British Kaffraria, the town grew slowly, obstructed by many political challenges. Indeed, between 1848 and 1859, the port was annexed to the Cape Colony, causing major economic dislocation.

In 1857, with the establishment of the German village of Panmure on the East Bank, the seeds were sown for the West Bank's demise. When diamonds were discovered in Griqualand West -- resulting in the Cape Colony becoming awash with money -- a railway line was constructed from East London to Queenstown.

Because the terminus was located at Panmure, it meant that business had no option but to relocate across the river. From then on, the West Bank steadily became a by-water as major growth all happened on the East Bank.

The early houses were mostly constructed of wood plundered from the many shipwrecks at the port. The most remembered wreck was the Lady Kennaway in November 1857 and it is possible that the wooden inner walls of houses today were plundered from this ship.

The oldest remaining school in East London is also on the West Bank -- today known as West Bank High School -- which still maintains its good reputation.

Keith Tankard
14 October 2009



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