Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Quigney will be The Quigney

The Buffalo City Municipality has created Urban Renewal Programms to upgrade some of the oldest suburbs of East London. I have done a little research on The Quigney. And here is something interesting from old archives about the history of this characterful and unique suburb :
The Quigney is a suburb of East London and derived its name from the stream which flows down the valley from above the railway station to the harbour, and along which the railway line now runs. The earliest maps of East London, those drawn in September 1847 by Lieutenant William Jervois, refer to this stream as the "Gwygney River" and for many years this spelling was consistently used. In time, however, the pronunciation changed to the modern-day "Quigney". The residential area across the river likewise evolved its name rather than being formally given one. When the municipality began to sell land in that area after 1883, it was described as "east of the Quigney River", a title which eventually truncated into "The Quigney".

It was unfortunate that awareness of the value of the Quigney as a tourist attraction was not immediately taken into account by the Town Council. Indeed, as early as January 1883 the editor of the East London Dispatch called attention to the problem. The Quigney, he wrote, was beginning to be opened up but its future as a holiday centre hinged on the prevention of sub- dividing the plots. During the holiday season, the editor wrote, when so many visitors came to East London and their white tents dotted "the greensward on the shore", they were reminded forcibly that East London had a character "as a watering place" as well as a port. He concluded therefore that a "special method" needed to be observed in laying out the area and as regards buildings to be permitted.
It was to East London's detriment that the appeal fell on deaf ears and no regulations to prevent sub-division of plots came into force until 1895, by which time the damage had become irreparable. Instead therefore of achieving the status of a holiday area, as the Dispatch had proposed, the suburb degenerated into a poor socio-economic suburb, with houses built close together and without sufficient planning.

The moment had been lost to East London and only today, almost a century later, is cognisance being taken of the Quigney's value as a tourist area, but it will probably take some decades more before that dream will be fully realised. Lack of attention to such an important consideration meant, therefore, that East London's beachfront area would in time lose its popularity and the town itself would eventually decline as an important tourist centre ( from the Wikipedia).

From a town-planning of view all the above said might be true but nevertheless it is the fact that this suburb has never been planned properly for housing development that has given it it's unique and very colorful character.

And here is a print of an old picture that I have found a while ago. It shows the  white tents of the holiday makers at the beachfront around 1880.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails