BAINSVLEI BRIEF HISTORY

ANDREW BAIN MEETS BLOEMFONTEIN

Andrew Hudson Bain was a prominent member of Bloemfontein’s small population, in the mid to late 1800s. An Englishman from the West Indian Islands, Bain came to South Africa’s dry climate for health reasons. He became a big game hunter in central South Africa, acquiring sixteen properties in the newly founded Bloemfontein. He owned eight farms in the greater Bloemfontein, of which he called one Bainʼs Vley, his homestead from 1849 to 1870. Bainsvlei, today, describes an area comprising small holdings where the original farm was situated.

CONFLICT LOOMED LARGE, 1848

Just after the 1848 proclamation of the Orange River Sovereignty, between the Orange and Vaal rivers, it was reported that Andries Pretorius, Voortrekker leader, was about to invade the territory.
Major Henry Douglas Warden, founder of Bloemfontein in 1848, and British Resident of the Orange River Sovereignty, instructed Bain, a member of his Executive Council, to seek help from Colesberg. The latter was rewarded with a farm for his efforts.

BAIN’S DEVELOPMENT LEGACY

Bain surveyed and pegged out Bloemfontein. His layout took the form of long streets, parallel to the stream running in a north-south direction. Shorter streets were at right angles to the long ones. Bloemfontein expanded northwards of the stream. Bain’s plans went only as far north as St Andrews Street.
He supplied wood to the town, was described as intelligent, sociable and pleasant, and was instrumental in establishing the first bank in Bloemfontein.