First Raadsaal

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Description

First Raadsaal is the oldest remaining building in Bloemfontein, Free State. It was built by Major Henry Warden (the local British representative) in 1849, originally intended to be a school. However, when the region declared itself an independent republic in 1854, First Raadsaal was where the people council (Volksraad) held their meetings.

The modest building was constructed with dung floors and a thatched roof, and was the first school building north of the Orange River. It served as a church until 1852 when it was used by the Legislative Council of the Orange River Sovereignty, and then it was used as an assembly hall and offices. When the assembly hall was moved to larger premises in 1856, it was used as a school again until 1877.

The National Museum was founded in First Raadsaal and it was housed here until 1915. It was proclaimed a national monument in 1975. You will find the equestrian statue of General Christiaan De Wet here.

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