Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe East London City Hall
East London is a historical city in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Although relatively small, it has always been a valuable resource for the country, as it is home to South Africa’s only river port. This made it particularly accessible in times past, when water travel was of primary importance.
Where? Corner of Oxford Street and Argyle Street, East London, Eastern Cape
During the 1890’s, wool became a very important export that generated much financially. This is when East London rose in the esteem of those occupying the region, since much of the wool was to be exported from this little hub.
In 1897, the magnificent City Hall (as it is known today) was built between Oxford Street and Argyle Street. It has a distinctive Victorian architectural style. Its dark oxblood walls are juxtaposed by stark white columns and romantic, if bold, arched windows.
East London City Hall towers over the city streets imposingly; dramatic and impressive. Since it was built during the time of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee (the 60th year of her being the Queen), the massive clock tower was named the Victoria Tower in honour of Queen Victoria. At this stage, much of Africa was colonised by the English, and under royal rule. The City Hall was completed in 1899.
This structure was recognised as a National Monument until 1914, when East London was declared a formal city. Thereafter, this became the official City Hall.
One of the features of this attraction is the marble tablets on the landing of the vestibule, each of which bears the names of white soldiers that died in the frontier wars.
This is a poignant reminder of the great devastation of these wars, but only reflects a very small proportion of those that died. A statue of prominent politician and activist, Steve Biko, stands tall outside the East London City Hall. There is no entrance fee for visitors, but all are advised to get permission to tour the hall from the caretaker, as it is still being used.