Donkin Street Houses

Heritage Routes / Landmarks in or near Central Hill, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsDonkin Street Houses

Where? Donkin Street Houses, Donkin Street, Donkin Reserve, Port Elizabeth

Overnight? Stay in Central Hill, in Eastern Cape

Just over the road from the Donkin Reserve is Donkin Road. It's a hill that runs down towards the harbour and at its crest lie a series of Victorian terraced houses that have become famous.

The houses, built somewhere between 1860 and 1880 have been much photographed and painted by artists. Something about each house being lower than the one that precedes it so that they form an integrated unit of stepped roofs makes them attractive.

That, and the fact that they have been restored as part of what is now known as the Donkin Village (even if their restoration has been criticised by historians as 'heavy handed' and not in keeping with the Eastern Cape Regency style that made them so unique).

Behind them are another series of similar houses, aimed at creatives to use as their place of work, and a restaurant looked as though it would move into another of the buildings just across from The Hill Presbyterian Church when we were last there.

What makes the Donkin Street Houses so appealing is their Victorian and Georgian features. The five that face the Donkin Reserve have become a landmark. The row was built over a number of years, and those right down the bottom of the hill are the oldest, if the most dilapidated.

The buildings form part of the Donkin Heritage Trail, linking 51 places of historical interest in the heart of Port Elizabeth. You can pick up a detailed booklet at the Donkin Reserve's tourist information building to use for a self-guided walk.

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