BUILT HERITAGE: Southlands
BUILT HERITAGE | May 8, 2020
By Linda Abend, Bermuda National Trust
In conjunction with the National Museum of Bermuda, the Trust is going to run a series of short articles about the buildings that we consider most at risk in Bermuda and the most worth saving.
Anna, the wife of Montreal merchant James Morgan, bought 31½ acres and an old Bermuda house from the heirs of Thomas Dunscomb in 1913. The core of the house can be traced with certainty to 1820 but is thought to date as far back as 1745. The property was already known as Southlands and it became James Morgan’s retirement project. Using stone cut from his quarries, he almost immediately began to extend the house. With the help of Bermudian architect Edward Tucker, the integrity of the original U-shaped house with its three uniquely-positioned butteries was not compromised. The quarries were turned into individually themed gardens with a variety of exotic imported plants. The Egyptian quarry for instance contained a pool of water lilies fringed by papyrus. Morgan purchased several nearby properties, eventually owning over 80 acres.
A philanthropist in Canada, James Morgan was generous in Bermuda. In 1920 he gave money to his neighbourhood school, Warwick Academy, which allowed them to complete the wings and build the assembly hall. He was a member of the Warwick Parish Development Committee set up in 1917 to tackle the deficiency in the food supply by encouraging home gardening and the cultivation of all available land. The Morgans held fundraisers at Southlands to help with the cost of equipment needed for the newly opened King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
To learn more about the history of Southlands see our newest book from out Architectural Heritage Series: Warwick, available for purchase.