The Laird of Matjiesfontein

Posted on Wed November 18, 2015.

Whether you’re staying at Matjiesfontein, or simply passing through, our historic pub is well worth a visit. Pop in for a quiet pint and pub lunch and enjoy the saloon-like atmosphere.

The Laird’s Arms was named for Matjiesfontein’s original Laird, James Logan. Brush up on your trivia to bandy about at the pub with these facts.

1. James Logan was born in 1857 at Reston Berwickshire, a village located in the southeast of Scotland.
2. At age 17, Logan boarded the Rockhampton bound for Australia. On the way the ship was caught in a storm and had to seek refuge in Simon’s Town, South Africa. Logan decided to leave the ship with only £5 in his pocket and walk to Cape Town.
3. He got a job as a porter at Cape Colonial Railways.
4. At 21 he married a local girl Emma Haylett and was promoted to District Superintendent.
5. The area he covered was between the Hex river and Prince Albert Road stationed at Touws Road
6. Logan lived within reach of fresh water and so he built a mineral water factory and bottled soda water, lemonade and ginger ale for sale to thirsty travellers.
7. Matjiesfontein was 55 kilometres up the line on the main route to the gold diamond and gold fields of Kimberly. It was a great position for Logan to open a station refreshment room.
8. He left the railways and moved to Matjiesfontein with his wife and two children, where took advantage of the continual flow of ox cart and wagon travellers.
9. Within a short time he gained the concession to open a refreshment room and bought a farm called Tweedside.
10. He gradually bought the surrounding farms
11. Logan’s health problems began to improve through the dry air and clear waters. With this in mind he opened the Matjiesfontein Health Spa
12. He imported London lampposts, planted trees and built fine fountains to create a holiday resort in the desert, attracting luminaries from across the globe.

What facts do you know about the original Laird? Let us know in the comments.