The tragedy of Tweespruit
Tweespruit was once home to top-quality dairy products, the worldfamous Belgian artist Father Frans Claerhout and the oldest agricultural school in the Free State, but this picture is very different today…
The Free State is known as a place where people speak either Afrikaans or Sotho, yet in the vicinity of Tweespruit and Westminster you’ll hear a lot of English. There is a simple explanation for this: after the Anglo-Boer War, Lord Alfred Milner and his friend the Duke of Westminster decided to establish a community of English farmers in the Free State – as a buffer against the Boer majority, as well as to experiment with different farming practices.
These immigrants, mostly from Scotland and the British counties of Norfolk and Cheshire, were each given a farm of 500 morgen (about 430ha) in the Tweespruit and Westminster area, where most of them established dairy herds and produced cheese and butter for their own consumption.
The town of Tweespruit grew out of a butter factory that was built at Eaton Hall railway station in 1904. From December 1904 to June 1905, this factory bought 30 tonnes of cream from 50 farmers and used it to make 12 tonnes of butter for trading. The following year the numbers increased to 120 tonnes of cream purchased from 156 farmers.
The success of the butter factory resulted in the establishment of Tweespruit Co-operative Dairy – Jenny’s great-grandfather, Arthur Carter, was one of the founding members.