A Tribute to Pauline Powell

The Bermuda National Trust is deeply saddened by the death of Pauline Powell, who passed away on Sunday 11 July. Pauline worked at the Trust from 2002 to 2016, as the Executive Assistant. She is survived by her husband John and daughters Lynette and Andrea.

“Pauline was the smiling public face of Waterville for many years, and an absolute treasure to the Trust. She will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her,” said Karen Border, Executive Director.

Amanda Outerbridge, who was Executive Director at the Trust when Pauline first started working here, said: “This is incredibly sad news. Pauline contributed enormously to the Trust and she was wonderful to work with. Always professional and calm, with a great sense of humour, she provided vital support to the entire team, notably operationally with revenue collection, administration and fundraising events. She was particularly good with people - including members and volunteers. Pauline was devoted to the work of the Trust and passed this on to her family, including her husband John who was a valuable supporting volunteer. Condolences and warmest wishes to Pauline’s family and friends at this time of loss.”

Jennifer Gray, Executive Director from 2008 to 2016, said: “Pauline has taken with her a piece of my heart. Never was there a more loyal and dedicated member of the Trust family. From the day she welcomed me into Waterville and became my right hand, confidant, and indeed a good friend to the day we both took the next step together in our life’s journey, there was never a single second when her love for and commitment to the Trust and her family faltered. She was exceptional and by example instilled in the team the importance of a positive attitude, order in life and a respect for each other. With an open heart and ear for all, Pauline was understanding, nurturing, and loved by all. I always imagined she would spend so many more years tending her beloved garden and resting on the Trust bench she was so proud to receive when she retired. I now imagine her beloved John longing for her company in the empty garden with an empty bench, robbed of precious time with Pauline. My sincerest sympathy goes out to John and her children for their great loss. We have indeed lost a stylish angel in ballerina shoes who will always be remembered as a good friend and Bermuda National Trust treasure.”

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Trust in memory of Pauline:

Account Name:               Bermuda National Trust

Account Number:           HSBC 010 003259 001

Memo ref:                         IMO P Powell

Built Heritage:Former Parks Department Headquarters, Botanical Gardens

BUILT HERITAGE: July 2021 By Linda Abend and Margie Lloyd, Bermuda National Trust

This post is part of a series of architectural articles by the Bermuda National Trust that highlight some of Bermuda's endangered historic buildings. 

Surely, in the 21st century, a solution can be found to the problem of old buildings affected by mould and mildew. Rather than simply abandoning and subsequently demolishing them, they should be revitalised and made useful again. A good example is the Parks Department headquarters in the Botanical Gardens – a Grade 3 Listed Building – formerly the Director of Agriculture’s residence.

Under the Public Garden Act 1896, ten acres in Paget East were purchased for the purpose of establishing and maintaining an experimental station to assist farmers in the development of agriculture and horticulture. Responsibility for its supervision and control was handed over to the Board of Agriculture and George Arthur Bishop, recommended by the Director of the Royal Gardens at Kew, arrived in May 1898 to take up his position as its first superintendent. A notice for tenders to build a cottage within the grounds had only been advertised a few weeks earlier so it is not surprising that Bishop and his family were obliged to live temporarily at nearby Seabright. 

Click here to read the full article

Tours at Verdmont with John Cox

Verdmont is back open to the public for exclusive tours with John Cox every Friday from 11:00 am - 12:00 noon.
Delve into the past and learn about the obvious and hidden history of one of the island’s most prestigious properties. See the world’s finest collection of Bermuda cedar furniture. Discover why Verdmont is on the African Diaspora Heritage Trail. 
Tours are $20 per person. Entry is strictly limited to 10 persons per tour. Registration for tours will close weekly on Thursdays at 3pm.
Following Covid-19 protocols, we required all visitors to bring their own mask and observe social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be provided. No food or drink is allowed inside the museum
Click one of the following dates to sign up:

Friday, July 9th

Friday, July 16th

Friday, July 23rd

A legacy under threat

A piece of history was poised for destruction this week: Wantley on Princess Street, Hamilton faced demolition. The fate of this fine example of Victorian domestic architecture hung in the balance while the community looked on, horrified.
Yes, it bore the scars of years of neglect, including scorched walls and piles of used needles and empty bottles. Yes, it had no running water or electricity, leaving its transient occupants to find their own ways of waste disposal. But is that a reason to expunge the memory of a family that contributed so much to Bermuda and most notably, to the Black community?
Wantley was built in the 1870s by Samuel David Robinson, one of the most prominent Black businessmen and community leaders of the time. He and his brother Joseph Henry left a rich legacy in the city, especially in the buildings they developed, including The Emporium on Front Street, the Arcade on Burnaby Street and Victoria Terrace on Princess Street. A proponent of higher education, Samuel Robinson was a founder of the Berkeley Educational Society, an organisation dedicated to providing integrated and improved education for Black and White Bermudians. Its first meeting held in the drawing-room at Wantley led to the establishment of Berkeley Institute in 1897 at Samaritans’ Lodge on Court Street.
The matter is ongoing, and the BNT is engaged with efforts to save Wantley – including Maxine Esdaille of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail who alerted us all to the situation and the Berkeley Education Society.

Built Heritage: Ocean View (Formerly East Camp)

BUILT HERITAGE: JUNE 2021 By Linda Abend and Margie Lloyd, Bermuda National Trust

This post is part of a series of architectural articles by the Bermuda National Trust that highlight some of Bermuda's endangered historic buildings. 

Tucked away off South Road in Warwick is an old farmhouse, one of the many properties that once belonged to Captain John Lightbourn. He lived at Fruitlands but maintained a residence and second family on Turks Island. In 1871 John’s son, Robert Lightbourn, by order of the Bermuda Defence Act 1865, sold the southern four acres of land bounding on the Atlantic Ocean to Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for War. In 1891 Robert’s heirs sold the farmhouse and remaining eight and one-half acres to planters Samuel and John Frederick Ingham and in 1897 the brothers sold to the Secretary of State for War.


By 1911 the property was being used by the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC) who would march from Fort Hamilton and pitch their tents for both their annual and musketry camps. Various branches of the British military, such as the Royal Marines from HMS Constance, would also use the camp for musketry practice. It became known as Warwick East Camp or simply East Camp to differentiate it from Warwick Main Camp which was located a little further to the west. The Bermuda Cadet Corps was established in 1922 and they too held their annual week-long camps at East Camp until 1926. Unfortunately, that summer many of the boys became sick. The next summer the Cadet Corps moved to Warwick Main Camp where there were permanent buildings, cooking facilities, good sanitation and a certain amount of shade, all of which were lacking at East Camp.

Click here to read the full Built Heritage article on Ocean View

Karen Border Appointed BNT Executive Director

We are excited to announce that Karen Border will take up the position of Executive Director of the Bermuda National Trust (BNT) on 28 June. Karen is a respected environmentalist and communications professional. In fact, she has spent her adult life contributing to the conservation of Bermuda’s unique environment and natural heritage.  

She is looking forward to joining the Trust team in her new capacity and says: "I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed Executive Director of an organisation so close to my heart. The National Trust plays such an important role in Bermuda, in far more ways than many people realise – from its preservation of open spaces, historic buildings and artefacts, to its inspirational education programme and activities that celebrate the Island's heritage. The importance of each of these aspects of the Trust's mission has been thrown into sharp relief by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced all of us to focus on our own 22 square miles and what it has to offer. I look forward to leading the Trust team in continuing the organisation's valuable work and finding new and exciting ways in which to engage the whole Bermuda community."


Click here to read the full Press Release

Built Heritage: Somers Pride of India

BUILT HERITAGE: April 2021 By Linda Abend and Margie Lloyd, Bermuda National Trust

This post is part of a series of architectural articles by the Bermuda National Trust that highlight some of Bermuda's endangered historic buildings. 

Somers Pride of India Lodge No. 899 in St George’s was the first of the lodges established by the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows when it was founded on 10 May 1848 with schoolmaster John Gilbert Allen as secretary and later Grand Master. Alexandrina Lodge No. 1026 in Hamilton and Victoria and Albert No. 1027 in Somerset followed. By 1860 the three lodges had over 200 members.

In April 1850 the trustees of Somers Pride of India Lodge, all of whom were residents of St George’s, purchased land on Cut Road from mason Peter Tucker. It wasn’t until 14 January 1862 that, with much pomp and ceremony, the cornerstone was laid for their first hall. A gale in October 1870 blew down the upper walls of both sides of their not-yet-completed hall but did not discourage them. The Odd Fellows celebrated their 25th anniversary in May 1873 with a service and procession to their new building where the foreman of the Building Committee, John Cornelius Bascome, gave the welcoming address.

The rapidly growing membership saw the need for a larger building and in 1903 a more prominent parcel of land was purchased. The Somers Pride of India Lodge Trustees Act 1909 allowed the trustees to sell their building on Cut Road and on 13 November 1913 at what was described as “one of the greatest ceremonies of its kind” the cornerstone was laid for their new lodge building on York Street and St George’s Avenue (now Wellington Street and Rose Hill). Work parties were held with bus loads of members from sister lodges across the Island arriving to help with the construction.

Click here to read the full Built Heritage article on Somers Pride of India Lodge

BNT Temporary Closure

Dear members, friends, volunteers and supporters,

With the safety and health of the community in mind, due to the new Covid-19 government regulations, the Bermuda National Trust offices and museums will be closed until further notice. We have followed government guidelines and have cancelled our spring camps and decided to cancel all of our weekend walking tours in St. George’s during April.
As always, we thank you for your support which helps us continue the important work we do in our community. Please visit our website and social media for any updates and contact us with any questions or concerns via email at palmetto@bnt.bm
We look forward to seeing all of you soon!

Built Heritage: Skittle Alley, Dockyard

BUILT HERITAGE: March 2021 By Linda Abend and Margie Lloyd, Bermuda National Trust

This post is part of a series of architectural articles by the Bermuda National Trust that highlight some of Bermuda's endangered historic buildings. 


Skittle Alley is a Grade 2 Listed Building yet very few of us know of its existence. It is located on a small island and is connected to the mainland by a footbridge leading from the former residence of the Captain-in-Charge, the most senior officer at the Dockyard. The captain’s residence, known as The Cottage, was built in 1827 for the Naval Storekeeper who in 1837 became the Dockyard Superintendent. When Joseph Balingall retired in 1857 this post was abolished and Captain Frederick Hutton became the first Captain-in-Charge of HM Dockyard.


Skittle Alley was built as the bowling alley for Captain John Moresby RN who arrived in April 1878. It was during Moresby’s tenure that the Sailors’ Home, now demolished, was built. It too would boast of a bowling alley. Although Captain Moresby spent only three years in Bermuda, that he was highly respected is clear from the fact that his name survives to this day with Moresby House, built in 1899 for the Officer-in-Charge of Works, and Moresby Plain, the naval recreation and parade ground, today used by the public for large events.


Click here to read the newest Built Heritage Article on Skittle Alley!

Capital Improvements at Verdmont Museum

We are excited to announce that our capital project of improvements at Verdmont Museum has officially begun.  

Click here to read the full Press Release