1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bloemfontein

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Bloemfontein (see 4.74). Pop. (1918): whites 15,631, coloured (estimated) 16,000. The most centrally situated town in South Africa, Bloemfontein is the great market for the agricultural and pastoral produce of the Free State. The annual sale of pure-bred stud stock, held in Sept., is the principal fixture of the kind in South Africa; in 1920 the pedigree stock sold realized £283,000. The growth of the town during 1910–20 was largely due to the progressive policy of the municipality, which provided it with an ample supply of water, electric light, an electric trackless tramway system, modern sewerage system and other public services. In 1918 the rateable value of the municipality was £3,895,000, its revenue £182,000 and its indebtedness £803,000.

Among modern buildings are the new Law Courts (in the classical style), the National museum, the Normal and Polytechnic Colleges, Grey University College, the Government Buildings (which replace those burned down in 1908) and the Legislative Council Chambers (the seat of the Appellate Court). A monument to the women and children who died in concentration camps during the war of 1899–1902 was erected in 1913 near the Show ground. The principal workshops of the Union railways are situated in the town of Bloemfontein.

Grey College, incorporated as a university college in 1910, has been since 1918 the principal constituent college of the university of South Africa. Besides the university college the institution includes high schools for boys and girls, and the buildings stand in grounds covering 300 acres. At Glen, 14 m. N., is an agricultural college, opened in 1919, with an experimental farm of 4,000 acres. There is a military station at Tempe, 4 m. from the centre of the town, and here is the Defense College for Officers.

Its central position makes Bloemfontein a favourite meeting-place for conventions and congresses, educational, agricultural and political. Here was held, in the autumn of 1920, the conference which sought, and failed, to find a basis for vereeniging (union) between the two great Dutch parties in the Union, the South African and the Nationalist.