One does not normally associate Bloemfontein with Royalty, but Bloemfontein, located in the centre of the country (and despite its Boer republican history), was always on the itinerary for that cluster of 20th century British Royal tours. It was included in the series of Royal perambulation around South Africa in 1925 (the Prince of Wales), 1934 (Prince George, later Duke of Kent) and 1947 (King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their family).
A few years ago we were involved in a battle to save historic Nedbank documents that were being thrown away by the company. For a while the future of the documents looked bleak but thankfully the story had a happy ending when top Nedbank executives got involved. The documents were moved to the Sandton head office and the execs committed to hire an archivist to go through the collection. The execs also committed to let the community know what was found and what would then be done with the documents.*
A few years ago a wonderful collection of old documents was found in the basement of a Johannesburg inner city building while the tenant (Nedbank) was moving out. One of the boxes we looked at contained details of Nedbank's 50th anniversary celebrations (circa 1938). It was here we found a remarkable set of images of a few Town / City Halls around the country. It appears as though the photographs were taken in the late 1930s. Enjoy...
In the first installment of the series on the history of Southern African railways, Peter Ball described some of the earliest railways in the country and the extension of a number of lines into the interior. In this article he looks at the fascinating politics and economics of the 'Race for the Rand'.
Below is another fascinating article from the South African Railway Magazine. It puts the spotlight on Bloemfontein's history, buildings and, of course, the momentous occasion of the arrival of the railway. It also highlights the rapid development happening in the Colony following the end of the Anglo-Boer War. Thank you to the Heritage Office at Transnet for giving us access to their archives.
Take a journey back in time before the car, the plane and luxurious train and you will find some epic railway journey stories. The article below tells the tale of a trip from Cape Town to Bloemfontein in 1889. It reveals the adventure, risks and tragedy of the ten day journey. The piece appeared in a 1907 edition the South African Railway Magazine. Thank you to the Heritage Office at Transnet for giving us access to their archives.