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George Blaine

Entrepreneur & Town Councillor

Keith Tankard
Knowledge4Africa.com
Updated: 14 October 2009
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George Blaine was born in Kent in 1848. It is not known when he emigrated to the Cape Colony but he appears at East London in the 1890s as the owner of a grocery store in Oxford Street.

This was the decade of East London's golden age. The discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand saw a massive increase in trade, and the town took on a most positive face, indulging in large-scale street construction, the introduction of electricity and the construction of a tramway system.

Blain became interested in municipal politics and was elected to the Town Council as a representative for Ward 3 in February 1895 but resigned in February 1896 because of a rather puerile dispute. Mayor William Christie Jackson had requested him to withdraw certain "objectionable words" which he declined to do, and he promptly addressed the Mayor as "my good fellow". The Mayor thereupon refused to chair a meeting in Blaine's presence.

The Council became paralysed for several weeks until Blaine tendered his resignation, but he was promptly re-elected. He eventually retired from the Council in February 1901.

He died on 1 February 1909 at the age of 60, and was buried at East London.

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