St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Grounds St George's Park - Memorial Pavilion Built
Memorial Pavilion Built

On August 4th, 1914, the curtain came down on peace in Europe. South Africa was far away from the conflict, but both the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club and the Crusader Rugby Football Club joined the forces almost to a man.

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The fine, new concrete Memorial Grandstand on the famous cricket and rugby ground in St George's Park, shortly after completion. Note the pillars which support the A-frame roof structure. It was later removed when the stand was extended.

The actual records are 53 out of 6l from the Cricket Club and 112 out of 130 from Crusaders. A large number of them never returned. An era was over, not only for the clubs, but for the whole world nothing was ever quite the same again.

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The Memorial Pavilion Plaque

It was natural in 1919, with the Great War very close in men's memories, that the clubs desired to erect some kind of a memorial to those members who had made the supreme sacrifice. It was generally agreed that a memorial pavilion would be the most suitable proposition.

As usual the City Council presented no obstacles to the scheme involving 2,000.

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The Memorial Pavilion

On September 30th, 1919, permission was given - and it is interesting to note that the letter from the club's Hon. Secretary, H M Rhodes, to the City Council stressed that upwards of 20,000 had already been spent on the ground.

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So the first block of the characteristic concrete format at the Crusader Ground, as it had come to be known, took shape, and for the first time the clubs had permanent amenities in the shape of a Club Room. The rest of the stands were still wood and iron. The Victoria Park Ladies' Croquet Club still had its miniature pavilion behind the site of the present-day "A" Stand.

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