Hayward Young & Co

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The Youngs of Port Elizabeth – Arrival

John Stewart Young came to South Africa as a sales agent for his firm, the London merchant house Steel, Murray, in 1897.

Port Elizabeth then probably looked little different to the small town described by Anthony Trollope [17] 20 years before:

The town is built on a steep hill rising up from the sea, and is very neat. The town hall is a large handsome building, putting its rival and elder sister Cape Town quite to shame. I was taken over a huge store in which, it seemed to me, that every thing wanted in the world was sold, from American agricultural implements down to Aberdeen red herrings. The library and reading room, and public hall or concert hall, were perfect.

Trollope went for a walk one evening and found himself thinking that he might go on to Cairo. Instead he found what is now called the Baakens Valley where you are standing today:

After a while I found myself descending into a valley – a pretty little green valley altogether out of sight of the town and which as I was wending along seemed at first to be an interruption in my way to the centre of the continent. But as I approached the verge from which I could look down into its bosom, I heard the sound of voices, and when I reached a rock which hung over it, I saw beneath me a ring, as it might be of fairy folk, in full glee – of folk, fairy or human, running hither and thither with extreme merriment and joy. After standing awhile and gazing I perceived that the young people of Port Elizabeth were playing kiss-in-the-ring.”

[17] Anthony Trollope, South Africa, Longmans, Green and Co.