Tuesday, April 16, 2024

THINGS BAJAN: Parliament Buildings

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THE PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS in Bridgetown were built between 1870 and 1874 to house the Legislative Council, the House of Assembly and Government offices.

The West Wing was built between June 1870, and December 1871, and the East Wing between July 1871, and April 1874.

They were designed in the currently popular Gothic style (neo-Gothic, with a local or vernacular flavour) by Superintendent of Public Works John F. Bourne and built by Benjamin Harris (West Wing) and Richard Roberts (East Wing).

Unfortunately, a massive clock tower in the East Wing sank and had to be taken down in 1884, to be replaced by the present porch.

parliamentThe House first met in the Public Buildings on 16 June, 1874.

There are impressive stained glass windows depicting British sovereigns from James I to Queen Victoria. A bust of Sir Conrad Reeves stands at the top of the grand stairway.

In 1970, the East Wing was extended (in matching Gothic style) to provide a new entrance to the Public Gallery.

Major renovations were carried out on the East Wing prior to the 350th Anniversary of Parliament in 1989, and the official name changed to Parliament Buildings.

Source: A-Z Of Barbadian Heritage

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