1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pretoria

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Pretoria (see 22.309).—Pop. (1911), whites 35,942, coloured 18,732, total 54,674; in 1918, whites 41,690. About a mile from the centre of the town on a commanding position on the slopes of Meintjes Kop are the Union Government Buildings, the finest public offices in South Africa. They were built 1910–3, from the designs of Herbert Baker, at a cost of £1,800,000, and consist of three main portions; a large central semi-circular colonnaded building flanked east and west by rectangular blocks. At the junction of each wing with the central section is a domed tower 180 ft. high, and at the end of each wing is a projecting pillared pavilion. A feature of the building is the long low roof, with projecting eaves. The space enclosed by the building is laid out in terraces culminating in an open amphitheatre, in the centre of which is a stone rostrum. The buildings are of South African freestone, on a foundation of Transvaal granite. The laying out and planting of the terraced gardens was not completed until 1920. The principal approach lies 12 ft. below the main terrace, is 80 ft. wide and is planted with trees. Another road leads to the suburb of Bryntirion, where are Government House and the residences of ministers.

The foundation stone of Government Buildings was laid in Nov. 1910 by the Duke of Connaught, and the first public ceremony in the amphitheatre of the building was held in 1915 to celebrate General Botha’s conquest of South-West Africa. In 1913 a statue of President Kruger was unveiled in the town. In April 1918 Pretoria became the headquarters of the newly created university of South Africa. One of its constituent colleges, the Transvaal University College (incorporated 1910), is situated in Pretoria.

The State Library and Museum (built 1913) are in Market Street. The former Transvaal Government Buildings, facing Church Square, which is the business centre of the city, are used by the Provincial Council. The Law Courts (completed 1914) are on the north side of the square; the Post Office (completed 1912) faces Church Square and Church St.

The municipality, which owns the sanitary, water, electric and tramway services, spent between 1902 and 1919 a sum of £1,675,000 on improvements, including the provision of a water sewerage system, electric tramways, parks, an open air swimming-bath and a golf course, reputed one of the best in South Africa. The rateable value of Pretoria in 1918 was £7,438,000, its revenue £366,000, and its indebtedness £1,716,000.