Sunday, August 29, 2010

Barbados Military History Part 6 Buildings of the Garrison Savannah

Buildings of the Garrison Savannah

1. The Main Guard

The Main Guard is the central point of the Garrisons and looks out on what was once the Parade Ground and now the race track. This structure was erected in 1804 and was used among other things as a court martial with the prisoners being housed in a guard house to the North.

Interesting features are the clock and the coat of arms.

The clock is dated 1803 and was made by Dwerri and Carter of London a noted cock maker. It is thought that the two dials were added later.

The coat of arms is the George the III Coat of Arms. It is unique and was designed especially for this building. It is made of Coad Stone, that is not a stone but a ceramic made to resemble stone. The Formula was invented by a Mrs Elanor Coade in 1779 and its foremost property is its durability. The Coat of arms is dated 1803 and faces directly into the prevailing weather and has withstood 3 major hurricanes. Both King George the III and IV  about enthusiastic about Coade Stone and so it is said that perhaps this piece in Barbados may have been commissioned by one of them.

The Veranda and its cast Iron trimmings were added later by Mr Darnley Dacosta who purchased the building in 1906 for the use of a private club "The Savannah Club". The building was later purchased by the Government in 1989 and renamed the Main Guard

2 Ordnance or Royal Artillery, Barracks (Stanford House.

This building was built in 1812, when gunners were no longer required it was used to house the military band before being first turned into apartment and then commercial units

3 The Cannon

This is a collection of cannons that form the nucleus of the National Cannon Collection. This collection includes one cannon that dates back to Oliver Cromwell's time

4 Officers Quarters (Horseshoe Manor)

These were the quarters for the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers in 1824. It was on the opposite side of the road that the Ordinance Hospital was built in 1804. This was condemned in 1822 because it blocked the breeze from the officers and so was torn down and a new hospital was built in 1828 opposite the Savannah.

5 Regimental Engineers Quarters

This is the remnants of the Engineers Yard which once extended down Bay Street. An Interesting Architectural feature is the lantern which may have been used to allow hot air to escape  but also provided a look out for the engineer in residence.

6 Monument

This Monument commemorates the 14 soldiers and one married woman killed by the "awful visitation"  the hurricane of 11th Aug 1831.

7  Bush Hill House. The Commanding Officer Royal Engineers Quarters

This location will always be most famous for being the house where George Washington stayed on his fate full trip to Barbados. The house has been expanded since his visit but it is known to be the oldest house in the area and was in existence in 1804. The water mill and bath house were in existence by 1793.

8 The Monument

This Monument was erected to commemorate all those who fell in action in Martinique and Guadeloupe in 1809 and 1810

9 The Military Prison  (Barbados Museum)

The 'New Prision' Built in 1817-1818 is now known as the the Upper Court Yard the other building were completed in 1853. These surround what was formerly a concrete exercises ground. The Complex became the Barbados Museum in 1933.

10 Barracks Block A, B & C

These Barracks were built together in 1807-1808 and were said to house 400 men each. They were damaged in the hurricane of 1831 but rebuilt.  Barracks C was to be the scene of a Grand Ball on the 12th of August preparations were being made for the ball when the hurricane hit. They are now utilized as Government offices.

11 Stables (cherry Tree Cottage)

In 1936 the stables were converted into a house by jacking up the roof and inserting a second story of coral stone.

12 Ordnance Hospital  (Rafeen, Geneva and Letchworth

in 1826 Approval was granted for construction of an Ordnance Hospital. The iron work was sent from England in 1828. and the building completed before the hurricane of 1831. It is believed Geneva was the main hospital. Following the abolition of the Ordnance department in 1855 during the 1860's the building was converted for use as the soldiers library and recreation room. It is also said to have been uses for armature theatricals.

13. Bridge Majors Quarters now known as the Bridge House.

The single story section is the oldest section of this building and is described as the Bridge Majors Quarters in 1819. Sometime after 1862 it became the residence of the Chaplin  until it was sold in 1905. The building has been used as a home for the elderly, a hotel and restaurant and is now a doctors offices.

14. Stone Barracks. Later West India Barracks.

Completed in 1791 built of stone and brick with two floors measuring 265 by 44ft and housing 450 men. It was badly damaged in the hurricane of 1831 and subsequently rebuilt. It became known as the West Indian Barracks when the West Indian Regiment had its mess and quarters there during the late part of the 19th century. Between the departure of the British forces and the establishment of the Defence Force it provided living accommodation for government officials.

15 Stone Barracks

Also completed in 1791 described as the officers barracks, this to was damaged in the hurricane of 1831. It was rented out as flats in 1834. It is also noteworthy that the current cream colour is the original color of all the Garrison buildings.

16 Tunnel

Unknown to many there lies a tunnel that leads from St Ann's Fort to the Parade Ground.

17 St Ann's Fort

Originally known as St Ann's Castle. This Fort was constructed on an acre and a half. It was built in the shape of a hexagon. It had massive walls and a magazine was built in the center. The Magazine was demolished in 1811 as it was not bomb proof and its contents transferred to Charles Fort.
During the 1840's a look out point was constructed. This point formed part of the Islands signal stations and and between 1914 and 18 it became a wireless station and communicated with ships as far away as the US coastal area.

18.  Barbados Military Cemetery

The Present cemetery came into use in 1820's and is today cared for by the Barbados Military cemetery Association. The Cross of Sacrifice was erected in 1982 and the memorial building in 1984. The building houses information on various military units involved in the Garrison and the location of the headstones. Past and present service men are eligible for burial. There is also a memorial to the first Prime Minister of Barbados Sir Errol Walton Barrow who was a flying officer in the Royal Air Force. Another memorial that can be seen is one for the World War soldiers who perished in battle or went missing forever more.

19. Charles Fort.

Originally named Needams Fort but renamed Charles Fort after Charles the II in 1660 it was constructed by Barbados Militia in 1650. It was later incorporated into the British Garrison in 1836 fifty years after the decision was made to build a Garrison. Needhams point Signal station which was within the perimeter of the Fort was erected in 1816 and was one of the Islands signal stations intended to provide early warning of a French attack or a slave uprising. The wooden structure was destroyed by the 181 hurricane rebuilt and destroyed again by fire from a lightning strike in 1929.

20. Rum Store (Island Inn)

Built in 1804 it is shown in 1824 at the Commissariats Rum Store, built in stone and housed 500 cask of rum carrying 120 gallons each. This now forms part of the Island Inn Hotel

21. Shot Hall (Barbados Yacht Club)

What is now a private club was  in 1824 the quarters for the Officer Commanding the Royal Engineers.

22. Commissariat Provision Stone (Barbados Light and Power)

This building was built between 1793 1nd 1801. It was designed to accommodate 3500 42 gallon cask. It was bought by the Barbados Light and Power in 1909 which was responsible for its restoration in 1986 and now houses the headquarters for the company.

24. Military Hospital

These buildings were erected in 1803-1806 and were damaged by the hurricane in 1831. They were not restored until 1840 when they were again used as a Hospital. They were later sold as apartments in 1928


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