‘Bain of Harrismith’

My granny Annie had an older brother Ginger. He was the oldest of the seven Royal Bains and a great sportsman. They owned the Royal Hotel and were not to be confused with the Central Bains, who owned the Central Hotel!

This old report was reprinted in the 1997 Hilton vs Michaelhouse sports day brochure: 

Hilton Ginger Bain_2

Drop goals were four points and tries were three in those distant days. I like that the one side was “smarter with their feet” . . and that that beat “pretty passing”.


Ginger Bain’s father Stewart died in 1939:

Stewart Bain 1939.jpg

Sister Sheila says he was known as “The Grand Old Man of Harrismith” and his clan was called ‘The Royal Bains’ after his hotel!

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):

Royal Hotel article


4 thoughts on “‘Bain of Harrismith’

  1. Katrina

    Stewart Bain I believe was called after my 3rd great grandfather Stewart Bain who drowned in 1853. I visited his grave and Sarclet/ Wick last year for the first time. His brother George survived the shipwreck and named his son born the next year after him. im delighted to find out what happened to this Stewart Bain. Spooked a bit that I stayed next to and walked Harrismith beach in Barbados on two recent holidays, then find this connection with Harrismith SA.


    • bewilderbeast

      Lovely to hear from you, “cousin”!! Don’t be spooked: Sir Harry Smith was also in India and Australia and his name is pretty wide-spread.
      So now we know our great-grandfather Stewart’s father’s name was George! I think he named one of his seven kids George, but I will rather get my sister Sheila to verify!


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