Go to the Labyrinth of East London Lore

George Christian

Entrepreneur & Town Councillor

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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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.

DEATH NOTICE: see Cape Archives, MOOC 6/9/526, No 2029.
OBITUARY: see theDaily Dispatch, 26.6.1905.

George Bellamy Christian was born in Cape Town in April 1830. He settled in King William's Town where he established a large business known as GB Christian and Company, general merchant and shipping agent, with an agency in East London. He was also the agent for the Union Company.

In 1861 he was appointed Justice of the Peace for British Kaffraria and in 1868 became Justice of the Peace for King William's Town. When it became inconvenient to live so far from the port, however, he moved to East London.

He served for a time as chairman of the Kaffrarian Steam Landing, Shipping and Forwarding Company and in 1876 became one of that firm's directors. In 1872 he was appointed a director of the East London Landing and Shipping Company . He also owned a shop which specialised in the sale of blasting equipment.

This was an era of very slow development at East London, Indeed, between 1883 and 1886, the port and town suffered a major recession known to contemporaries as "the Great Depression which saw business grind to a halt.

It would lift off again after 1886 with the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand. Indeed, the 1890s marked the golden age in the development of East London during which time the town and harbour witnessed a period of remarkable growth.

Christian entered the Town Council in February 1900 when, at the age of 70, he was elected in Ward 4 but he resigned his post immediately without actually taking his seat. He died on 24 June 1905, at the age of 75, and was buried at East London.

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