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1820 Memorial - First
Makhanda (Grahamstown), Eastern Cape

Date:1921
Type:Memorial
Status:Demolished
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The Memorial comprised a large pedimented rectangular block articulated by a projecting panel on the east side and flanked on the north and south sides by two lower rectilinear wing walls. A broad semi-circular set of stairs was provided on the east side. These steps both created an elevated platform to better appreciate the detail of the memorial and provided an elevated position to view the context of the memorial in High Street.

The memorial was sited on the central axis of High Street with the primary (east) elevation facing towards the Cathedral.

The central block of the memorial was elaborated on the narrower north and south faces by a coved semi-circular niche. A substantial cast bronze sculptured relief plaque was recessed into the upper side of the east face. The relief plaque - in landscape format - depicted scenes of the arrival of the Settlers in the Eastern Cape on sailing ships; the conveyance of families and their possessions on small rowing boats onto the beach; the regrouping on the shore and the loading of people and goods into ox wagons for the journey into the interior.

During the removal of the sandstone memorial in the 1950's, the sculptured relief plaque was salvaged and was installed on the Old Gaol to the south west. Another commemorative plaque was then installed directly below - with the following wording:

THIS PLAQUE TOGETHER WITH THE VERSE BELOW, FROM
RUDYARD KIPLING'S "THE SONG OF THE DEAD" APPEARED
ON THE MEMORIAL TO THE BRITISH SETTLERS OF 1820
THAT HAS SINCE BEEN REPLACED WITH THE PRESENT
MONUMENT IN HIGH STREET.

In the faith of little children we went on our ways.
Then the wood failed - Then the food failed - Then the last water dried.
In the faith of little children we lay down and died.
On the sand-drift - on the veldt-side - in the fern-scrub we lay,
That our sons might follow after by the bones on the way.

The name of the architect of the memorial has not yet been determined and neither has any documentation on the design been located. An initial suggested reconstruction of the plan has therefore been prepared.

William MARTINSON
June 2017

This was replaced by the Memorial built in 1953.