Anybody who knows Port Elizabeth and has been down to Govan Mbeki Road (Main Street) in the city centre, would know St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral near the Public Library. But not just know it. Also be aware of the old United Building Society building that stands on the corner in front of it blocking a proper view of the whole church and causing the front of the church to look like it’s standing on its own between the high rise buildings away from the rest of the cathedral behind.
In 1843 St Mary’s Church had to sell off pieces of its land to fund a building project and by doing so lost possession of some extremely valuable frontage to Main Street. At that stage there was a servitude upon the property which prevented the stores built upon it from being raised high enough to block out St. Mary’s Church from the Main Street, but this eventually changed in later years which led to the situation we have today.