Sunday, April 14, 2024

Historic sites falling ‘to ruins’


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Broken windows and hanging window frames, overgrown bush, and barricaded doors sound like a scene from a dilapidated building, but it’s actually what visitors and locals alike are faced with when they observe some of Barbados’ historical sites.
And general manager of the Barbados National Trust, Billy Gollop, is appealing to those who own historic sites to give them the needed attention, instead of letting them fall into disrepair.
Gollop, who pointed out a number of listed buildings under the law which are either of architectural or historic interest in the cultural heritage of Barbados, said he was disappointed at how some of the sites had been left to fall to ruins.
He said those especially pinpointed in the Historic Bridgetown Dossier to be put forward to UNESCO as World Heritage Sites should be paid full attention.
“We know that there are plans of restoration, refurbishment and reuse for some of these sites, but we also know that there are some among them that have been left to fall to ruins” he stated.
The Grotto, located on River Road, is one designated as cultural heritage, but is in a state of disrepair. The building is cordoned off by yellow tape and hidden within the NASSCO compound, and its broken windows and walls are evidence of a lack of care.  
Built in the mid-19th century, The Grotto, formerly the home of Charles Chenery, was listed for its architectural features, which feature the suburban vernacular, perfect symmetry and was constructed of lathe and plaster, with a double staircase and archway.
The Eyrie building at the Barbados Community College (BCC), the home of Sir Conrad Reeves, Barbados’ first black Chief Justice, was listed for its historic features.
The building once housed the Fine Arts Department of the BCC and represented the finest features of suburban architecture, symmetrical window arrangements and elaborate staircases.
The Carnegie Library, also listed, remains dormant, and Gollop said it was a pity that the “absolutely beautiful building” was being left at a standstill.
However, the Parliament Buildings and the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum remain in pristine condition, while the Masonic Lodge at Spry Street is currently being restored.
On Wednesday, historian Dr Karl Watson deemed the loss of Sam Lord’s Castle “a tragedy” after fire gutted the former hotel. Watson described it as “an accident waiting to happen as it had suffered considerable neglect in recent years”. (CT)


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