oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Die derde Presidensie in Bloemfontein: ampsworiing van die Vrystaatse staatspresidente

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-0745



Bloemfontein's imposing Old Presidency Museum, situated in President Street. offer the visitor a glimpse into the lifestyle of the last three presidents of the Republic of the Orange Free State during the period 1886-1900. This large and impressive presidential residence was occupied in tum by Presidents J.H. Brand, F. W. Reitz and M. T. Steyn. It was the last of the three official residences to be erected on this site between 1846 and 1900. Only this Third Presidency is still in existence. Completed in 1886, it was a double-storey sandstone building with a corrugated iron roof and was designed by the well-known Scottish architect Francis Lennox Canning. This article investigates the question of whether the Third Presidency fulfilled the expectations and demands placed upon the official residence of the Orange Free State's president. Even though the last three Free State presidents and their families and guests had to do without the modern conveniences of running water, electricity and sanitation, the elegant Third Presidency seemed like a palace compared to the previous two official residences on the site. Important visitors could be graciously received and entertained in its spacious rooms. With the building of the Third Presidency the Free Staters had or the first lime, a presidential residence they could be proud of.

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