Campanile, Port Elizabeth

>Campanile Memorial Image source

The Campanile was erected to commemorate the landing of the 1820 Settlers and is situated at the entrance to the railway station and docks in Strand Street, the spot where it is said the settlers landed in Port Elizabeth. The architects were Jones & McWilliams with construction starting in 1920 and it was completed in 1922. The 50m high Campanile Memorial has a climb of 204 steps that takes one to the Observation Room, offering a magnificent view of the harbor and surroundings, more than 52m above the city. A lift has been installed with a harbour viewing window so if you are not up for the climb you do not have to miss out. The Campanile contains the largest carillon of bells in the country in addition to its chiming clock. When it's song time, the tower tops ring out with a carillon of the original 23 bells, conjuring nostalgic cries of history. A special computerised, purpose built electro-mechanical bell ringing system has been installed that will ensure that each bell is pitch perfect and can play any melody which it gets programmed to play. Some of the bells have received new inscriptions in Afrikaans and isiXhosa and rededicated to celebrate amongst others the deceased crew of the SS Mendi. A new installation of "ghost" clocks visible to viewers light up when the bells ring so that one is able to identify which bell is sounding. A new interactive organ also allows one to play the bells to any melody and that also lights up the corresponding ghost bell.
The addition of various art galleries also add an additional interest and space to tell the democratic stories and showcase the arts and culture of Nelson Mandela Bay. Also keep an eye out for the silver plaque on the 67th step that represents the start of Route 67 and Nelson Mandela's 67 years of service of democracy in South Africa.
Route 67 starts at the Campanile and there has since been new art additions added around the tower to include the history leading up to the settlers arrival and up to South Africa's democratic dawn.
 The Campanile memorial was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 12 May 1989.
Normal Opening times are between Monday and Friday from 9am to 4pm, Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.

References:
•  https://www.nmbt.co.za/listing/campanile_memorial.htmlhttps://pathfinda.com › Home › Eastern Cape › Port Elizabeth › Attractions
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Last updated : 13-Sep-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 13-Sep-2017