Monday, September 27, 2010

Bridgetown Part 5 Buildings and Monuments

The Parliament Buildings

In 1668 the State House where the Barbados Legislature met was destroyed by fire and the convening of the  "house" was shifted to a tavern.  As one may well imagine many saw it as quite indecent for the legislature to convene the house in a tavern. Along with the concern of having the legislature meet in a tavern there was the concern of properly housing public records. For decades the public records of Barbados had been poorly stored in government offices.

The first State house to be erected after this time was within the precincts of James Fort but this soon had to be given over to be a prison as there was a greater and more pressing need in this area, the building of itself was erected in 1701.  It was not until well over a century later that the Parliament Buildings would be erected. In 1871 The West Building was completed followed by the East building in 1874.
There was a slight set back in 1884 when the tower that had been built on the east building to accommodate the clock  and  a peal of bells began to sink.  The Tower was then constructed on the west building and the clock relocated. The Clock details are made of copper and is 7 feet in diameter. The pendulum is 14 feet long and the bell weighs 20 hundred weight. The clock is constructed in a manner that it can continue going while being wound  and is designed to run for 8 days.

The stained glass windows in the east building depict British Sovereigns from James I to Queen Victoria and include Oliver Cromwell. These were made by the London Firm Messers Clayton and Bell. The windows of the Senate Chamber  depict the armorial bearings of past Presidents of Council and Speakers of the Assembly. On the main stairway of the West building there  were to stained glass windows that bore the biblical quotation "Render to Cesar the things that are Cesar's". These were originally situated in the East Building appropriately over the customs department which was originally housed there.

It is also notable to mention that the house of Assembly in Barbados was started in 1639 and is in fact the third oldest in the world. It was started by Governor Hawley. Hawley himself was known the scheming and relentless and later became known as one of the most notorious figures in Barbados History. He was the successor of Governor Tufton who had in fact done much good for the Island, despite this Hawley had him arrested and tried on trumped up charges. Sadly Tufton was later executed for treason due to Hawleys charges. It was after the First Earl of Carlisle died that the Second Earl of Carlisle  realizing the blight that Hawley was tried to remove him and the frequently absent Governor Hawley then tried to win favour with Barbadian land owners by starting the House of Assembly. In 1840 after giving much opposition he was removed as Governor of Barbados.

The Mutual Building

The Mutual Building in lower Broad Street is a magnificent Victorian that boasts 3 stories was built between 1894 and 1895. The original name was The Barbados Insurance Society Building. Large domes and a second story veranda that surrounds the entire building are some of the buildings’ characteristics.
This wonderful old structure once housed The Mutual Bank of the Caribbean. It was sold to the Bank of Butterfield in December 2003 and is still located within The Mutual Building.
The Nelson Statue

You may find the story of Admiral Nelson and the monument here

The Fountain

Piped water was introduced into Barbados in 1861 and it recommended that to celebrate this occasion. it was not until In the April of 1865 a fountain was completed. It weights 1 and 3/4 tons and requires 2,000 gallons of water to run from 8 o'clock in the morning to dusk.

The Montefiore Fountain

The Montrfiore Fountain  which was a Drinking Fountain was presented to Bridgetown in 1864  by H John Montefiore in memory of his father. On each side is a marble allegorical figure representing fortitude, temperance, patience and justice: with the following inscriptions: "Look to the end; Be sober minded: To bear is to conquer; Do wrong to no one. It was originally located in Beackwith Place but is now located in Coleridge Street.

The Cenotaph

The Cenotaph is located in what was once the "Fountain Garden" and now "National Hero's Square". It was erected in 1925 in memory of those who died in the First World War and in 1953 the names of those who died in the Second World War were also added.

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