at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in England.
Until Leslie's weir had been built in 1905, the town's water supply was drawn from a borehole at the corner of Main Street (now Voortrekker Street) and Victoria Avenue, opposite the town's first school-house which Leslie had built. African water vendors filled their barrels with water at the borehole, then they set out to haul the barrels through the village streets on ox-drawn sleds, peddling the water at 6d. a tin. The only other source of water was provided by more fortunate residents who had sunk their own boreholes.
After the end of the war and before Leslie's weir had been constructed, a borehole was sunk on the site of a spring on the bank of the river, below the site of the present Riviera Hotel; and except at high floods, when the river water seeped in to contaminate the borehole, the water was clear and potable. From the borehole, water was pumped to a tower in Market Square and from there reticulated in pipes throughout the village.
Water consumption in the village increased over the next decade and threatened to exceed the borehole supply. A filtration plant was built near the site of the riverside borehole and water was pumped direct from the river, purified, then pumped into a partly-sunken covered reservoir on the site of the present municipal buildings on the Beaconsfield Avenue side of Market Square. From there it was reticulated throughout the town.
Some while later, the water tower was demolished. For years it had looked down on the weekly village market where each Saturday home produce was sold on a few wooden tables under cover of an old tin shed. The town's water supply was permanently guaranteed much later when, in 1937, Vereeniging began to draw its supplies from the Rand Water Board.
When David Rees arrived in Vereeniging from Wales early in 1903 to take up the post of headmaster of the local school, he found to his amazement that classes were conducted in two tents. The school had an enrolment of 50 pupils who were to be instructed by three teachers, including himself. Lessons were frequently disrupted by rain or dust storms, and often the children would arrive for school, sodden and
muddy, only to find that the tents had been blown down overnight. Before classes could commence the tents had to be erected again.
In October, 1903, it is recorded, only six out of the total enrolment of 81 pupils attended school. The others were kept at home by torrential rains. These trying conditions were improved somewhat when the school was moved into a house towards the end of the year. However, as attendances increased the rooms were found to be too small and generally unsuitable for teaching purposes. Leslie, who was then chairman, and was to remain chairman, of the school committee for more than 20 years, decided that a new school house had to be erected; and on the site of the marquee school in the centre of the village, he began to erect the first of the buildings which were to become the Selborne School. On completion, the schoolhouse consisted of four classrooms, a cloakroom, storeroom and the principal's offices.
When the train service between Vereeniging and Meyerton was suspended early in 1904, 17 pupils had to discontinue studies at the school. The service was restored early in 1905, and the school's enrolment rose by 13. Education was not compulsory in those times and the principal found it necessary to remove the names of several pupils for failing