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Port Elizabeth Museum, Snake Park and Aquarium
Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape

Hendrik SIEMERINK: Architect

Date:1919 - 1925
Street:Bird Street

Not all the photographs are architectural but they are certainly interesting.

It was with relief that in 1919 the Museum was able to move to the luxurious mansion in Bird Street, bequeathed by AW Guthrie. The Snake Park opened in the spacious grounds - the first of its type worldwide. Demonstrations by snake handler, Johannes, were immensely popular. He is reputed to have been bitten on average once a year for the 30 years he was on the staff, eventually dying of old age!

Alterations were done by Hendrik SIEMERINK in 1925.

In 1933 a newly constructed Seal Pool opened, but the smell and guttural bickering and barking at night intruded on the lifestyle of the elite residents of Bird Street. Following a court case, the pool closed and the seals were banished.

The museum complex moved to the new Port Elizabeth Museum Complex on the beachfront in 1958

(SAB Jul 1925:35; Bayworld History)

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

Writings about this entry

Fransen, Hans. 1978. Guide to the Museums of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Galvin & Sales (Pty) Ltd, for the Southern African Museums Association. pg 78-81
Harradine, Margaret. 1994. Port Elizabeth : a social chronicle to the end of 1945. Port Elizabeth: E.H. Walton Packaging (Pty) Ltd. pg 146 (Ill.); 147