- Stewart Bain came to Harrismith in 18__
- Became Mayor of the town and ‘reigned’ for years, becoming known as ‘The Grand Old Man of Harrismith’
- Pushed for the building of a very smart town hall. Some thought it was way too fancy – and too expensive – and called it “Bain’s Folly” (shades of our Moses Mabida stadium in Durban for 2010 – “Do we need such a fancy stadium!?”).
He died in 1939 and the town pulled out the stops for his funeral:
I thought I remembered that, despite the fact that every dorp has a Royal Hotel, the Harrismith Royal Hotel was one of only two that could officially call itself ‘Royal’. Sheila has confirmed that I have a flawless memory (well, something along those lines):
Here you have Platberg mountain & Town Hall seen from the Royal Hotel: