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Gustav Wetzlar

Entrepreneur, Town Councillor & Mayor

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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DEATH NOTICE: see the Cape Archives, MOOC 6/9/316, No 876.
OBITUARY: see the East London Dispatch, 29.4.1893.

Gustav Wetzlar was born in Sondershausen (Thuringia) in March 1838.

He arrived in East London in 1875 and immediately bought out T.H. Venn & Company to establish the firm Wetzlar and Hammerschlag, direct importers, wholesale and retail dealers and specialists in clothing and jewelry.

He also sold boots and shoes, and had outlets at the corner of Terminus and Cambridge Streets in Panmure and on the West Bank.

Wetzlar was elected to the Town Council in April 1876 to represent Ward 2. He was re-elected in February 1877 to represent Ward 1 and again in July that year after he had participated in the walkout over the question of the division of the municipality.

Although he unexpectedly resigned his seat at the end of 1878, he was re-elected in February 1881 and again in 1884, 1887 and 1890.

In November 1886, when it was discovered that Amelius Vincent's leave of absence was not in keeping with municipal regulations, his seat and the mayoralty were declared vacant. Wetzlar was voted in as Mayor but immediately gave a month's notice of his intention to resign the office as soon as Vincent returned, which happened in January 1887.

He became Mayor again in March 1889 and in September 1891 when David Rees went on long leave and was unable to return in time to prevent his seat from falling vacant.

Wetzlar resigned his seat in the Council in October 1892 because of continued ill-health and decided to journey to London to recuperate. He died there on 5 April 1893 at the age of 55.

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