Barbados' UNESCO Heritage Buildings & Locations
While several Buildings in Bridgetown are listed as a part of the Barbados UNESCO World Heritage site. The Following are a few of the most noteworthy structures.
|Queen's Park||St. Paul's Anglican Church|
|Old Empire Theatre||Old Spirit Bond Mall|
|The Barbados Public Library- Coleridge Street||Wickham Lewis Boardwalk|
|Old Town Hall|
Located in the capital city of Barbados, Bridgetown, this national park was once the former home of the Commander of the British Troops stationed in Barbados for the West Indies. It was bought in the 1780s by the British Government, and at that time was called 'King's House'.
The year 1837 ushered in the reign of Queen Victoria, and the name was then subsequently changed to 'Queen's Park' when the British troops were withdrawn in 1906.
The property was then purchased by the Barbados Government, and later reopened it as a national park in June 10, 1909. The gates were officially opened by Lady Gilbert-Carter, wife of the Governor, Sir Thomas Gilbert-Carter, with a golden key specially made and designed by Mr. H. Gale, Jeweller of Bolton Lane and Manager of the Barbados Pawn brokers Company.
Lady Carter had designed the layout of Queen's Park including the fountain, in addition to the gardens at Illaro Court, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados.
In 1970 Queen's Park was handed over to the care of the Parks and Beaches Commission, now called the National Conservation Commission.
Queen's Park also had its share of illustrious visitors who contributed to the beautiful landscape in tree planting ceremonies. These visitors include Prince Albert, Duke of York, King George VI of England, Queen Elizabeth the Second and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Perhaps the most striking natural features in Queen's Park are its two baobab trees. Shipped to Barbados in 1738 from Guinea, Africa, these baobab trees remain the only two baobab trees in Barbados, with one approximately 61 1/2 feet (18 m) in circumference, making it one of the largest trees in Barbados.
The lawn and surrounding foliage are kept well manicured and are watered from a well on the premises, which taps an underground stream.
There is also a children's park here, equipped with swings, sea-saws, monkey bars and even a tree-house, everything children will find fun and amusement in.
Other notable areas within the park are the Queen's Park Art Gallery (currently relocated) and Barbados Solar House. There is a very popular Bajan tradition of walking through Queen's Park on Christmas Day, while wearing your finest clothes. This is truly an engaging spectacle to see if you are vacationing around this time.
Queen's Park is a listed 'building' in the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison".
Old Empire Theatre
This imposing structure is located on Probyn Street, Bridgetown. This historic building was built in 1922 by a group of investors. It was primarily designed to show theatre, made up of vaudeville shows and screen shots. In time these eventually decreased, and the theatre began showing more dance and comedy acts to supplement its income.
One famous Barbadian writer, Frank Collymore, was also showcased at this top-class theatre. Frank Collymore was a renowned poet, writer and letter writer, and has been honoured by Barbados with the naming of the illustrious Frank Collymore Hall Building after him.
In addition to these acts, the Empire Theatre also acted as a cinema, and here many Barbadians enjoyed Westerns, karate and kung fu movies.
In 1940, the theatre changed hands and was subsequently owned by The British Colonial Film Exchange, Ltd. It ceased its operations around 1975, and has since then fallen into a state of disrepair.
There has been some talk from the Barbados Government about the restoration and ultimate reuse of the theatre on a national level. However, to-date there has been no confirmation as to what the ultimate plan will be for this historic building.
The Barbados Public Library- Coleridge Street
First established in 1840, the Barbados Public Library was officially opened at its Coleridge Street location by His Excellency the Governor, Sir Gilbert Carter, 26th January, 1906. It is important to note that this was a period of significant social change in the British West Indies, starting with the abolition of the slave trade in 1834.The first stone was laid on June 7, 1904 which signalled the beginning of construction at this site.
This location was made possible by a Scottish-American philanthropist who had never stepped foot on Barbados soil, Andrew Carnegie. Dubbed the 'Patron Saint of Libraries', Mr. Carnegie donated money for 2,500 public libraries to be built between the late 19th century and early 20th century across Scotland, America, Britain and its colonies, Australia and New Zealand.
Andrew Carnegie had originally planned to donate 2,500 pounds towards the construction of a free public library in Barbados. However, as the Barbados Government did not want to get involved with this amount they deemed insufficient, Mr. Carnegie subsequently raised this amount to 4,800 pounds.
In more recent times, the Barbados Public Library was moved from its Coleridge Street location as this old building was scribed as an unhealthy site. During this period of relocation, the Library was closed between August 2005 and January 2009. It was then reopened at the Old Modern Living Building located in Independence Square.
The old Coleridge Street building still stands, and it is a architectural gem to see. It is a listed building in the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison".
Old Town Hall
Located opposite St. Mary's Anglican Church in historic Bridgetown, the Old Town Hall building was first erected in 1730, and housed the Barbados Assembly, the Vestry of St. Michael and the town jail. Its 18th century architecture with its magnificent sweeping staircase certainly makes this building an interesting one.
This building was later used by the Assembly for its meetings in 1850. Ernest Deighton Mottley also served here as a member of the St. Michael Vestry, from 1940 to 1959, and as the first Mayor of Bridgetown in 1959.
After falling into a state of disrepair, it was restored and reopened in 2003, with the originally southern and eastern walls preserved. Today, this historic building currently houses several businesses, including Barbados Tourism Investment Inc.
The Old Town Hall building is a listed building in the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison".
St. Paul's Anglican Church
This historic building is located in Bay Street, Bridgetown. It was first built in 1830 by William Hart Coleridge, the then bishop of Barbados, who used his own funds for the construction of this church.
Its cornerstone was placed April, 23rd in 1830 on by Governor Sir James Lyon, and construction was completed in January 1830. Unfortunately, a devastating hurricane hit Barbados on August 11th, 1831 and the church was completely destroyed.
However, William Coleridge did not let that incident stop his plans, and another church was completed in October 1833, with a chancel being added in 1849.
Since then, St. Paul's Church has undergone quite a bit of restoration and remodelling. Its architecture is Gothic inspired with its pointed arched windows, steep gabled roofs and stout buttresses. Its graveyard contains tombs from over two hundred years ago. Notably less impressive than the original structure, St. Paul's Church is still quite a treasure to explore, rich with its tale of Barbadian history.
Today, St. Paul's Anglican Church currently boasts of a congregation of approximately 800 persons.
St. Paul's Anglican Church is a listed building in the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison".
Tel: (246) 426-3106
Old Spirit Bond Mall
This attractive, historic building is located in the heart of Barbados' capital city, Bridgetown. This structure was first constructed in the 18th century and as its name suggests, it was originally used as a warehouse to store rum and other spirits.
Its strategic location by the Careenage River was to facilitate the offloading of cargo and collection of rum, sugar and molasses to be shipped to North America and Europe.
Approximately 100 years after it was built, the Old Spirit Bond Barbados' Customs Department. It was later remodelled and restored, with its original brick walls retained, and is currently home to a number of shops. This is a great place to visit, as you get to catch a glimpse of Old World Bridgetown, and also do some shopping in the same place.
The Old Spirit Bond building is a listed building in the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison".
Wickham Lewis Boardwalk
Also known as the Bridgetown Boardwalk, this boardwalk runs from east to west at the waterfront of Bridgetown, giving spectacular views of the Careenage River.
At the far east end of the Bridgetown Boardwalk, you will find a historic lift bridge, known as the Chamberlain Bridge.
Named after two notable Barbadians, the Bridgetown Boardwalk is a great place to take a stroll in Bridgetown and watch the yachts that make their way in and out of the Careenage. There are also benches located on this scenic walkway, where you can relax and even take in a beautiful Barbados sunset.
Around Independence, which is celebrated in Barbados every November 30th, the antique lights which decorate this boardwalk are lit with the national colours of blue and yellow. They are then changed around Christmas time, to the seasonal colours of red, green or red and gold.