The Bermuda Williamsburg Connection Tour 2013

Members of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation enjoyed five days of historical tours organised by Bermuda National Trust in early December. The extensive itinerary took guests to major cultural heritage points of interest throughout the island. Peter Frith and Tim Rogers provided informative and engaging tours and lectures at Verdmont, Fort Scaur, Tucker House and Dockyard. Rick Spurling set the stage for life in the early seventeen hundreds at Carter House dressed as Sir George Somers. The tours included visits to beautiful private homes where guests enjoyed tea or dinner and insightful conversations about the history of the homes and occupiers. Real treats for the guests were the festive Christmas Walkabout in St. George’s and the Christmas Boat Parade and fireworks in Hamilton Harbour.

Another five day visit with a similar itinerary was organised for Members of The American National Trust for Historic Preservation. This trip, titled Bermuda Homes and Gardens Tour, included tours of historic sites, the Botanical Gardens, Hamilton and visits to private homes and gardens. Guests enjoyed a delightful cocktail cruise, the beautiful candlelit houses during the St. George’s Walkabout and the Christmas Boat Parade.

Bermuda National Trust Community Garden in Warwick - Allotments available

The Bermuda National Trust Community Garden is at Tivoli in Warwick. Located off Middle Road and adjacent to Warwick Lanes Bowling Alley, the garden has 20 allotments for local residents and organisations to come together to cultivate food, socialise and exchange local horticultural knowledge.

Gardening and horticulture have long been a part of the island’s history and, although in decline in more recent times, there is a renewed interest and demand for gardens and allotments as residents become more aware of Bermuda’s global impact, as food prices continue to increase and as consciousness grows of the personal benefits of gardening and cultivating our own food.

Allotments are available to National Trust members. Don’t worry if you are not a member, simply follow the link to the online application. Membership forms are also available at our offices located at Waterville, 2 Pomander Road in Paget.

The rent for an allotment is $80 per year. To be considered for an allotment, an application form is available here and at our offices. Please complete a form and either drop it off or email it to palmetto@bnt.bm

For all other questions, please feel free to contact us by emailing palmetto@bnt.bm or by calling our Conservation Officer at 236 6483.

Under Threat - Ewing Street Median

In early July, the President of the National Trust, William White, wrote to Mayor of Hamilton asking that the Corporation reconsider removing the tree-lined median that runs along Ewing Street in Hamilton.

This was in reaction to concerned individuals that live and work in the Ewing Street area appealing to the Trust over the felling of three mature French Oak trees and requesting help to prevent plans for the removal of the street’s entire stand of trees. The residents assure us that the road is more than sufficient for its residential zoning under the City of Hamilton Plan 2001 in that it is wide enough for domestic vehicles and ambulances etc.

We believe that apart from diminishing the street’s attractiveness and further urbanising the City, removing the median will undoubtedly facilitate its use by heavy vehicles severely impacting its residential character.

The Bermuda National Trust appreciates that these trees are not protected and are not in a designated historic area but we strongly believe that it would a shame for these trees and feature to be lost, especially considering that this is such a unique streetscape to the City of Hamilton.

National Trust Saddened about Appeal Decision Queen of the East/August 5, 2014

The Bermuda National Trust is dismayed that in July 2014 the go ahead was given to demolish the Queen of the East on Appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs.

Since being listed for sale for $1.95 million in May 2011, as a potential site for a four or five-storey office/residential building, the Bermuda National Trust has continued to tirelessly look for ways to save the present building on the property, the Queen of the East, and champion its conservation.

The Trust fully appreciates that for countless commuters on their way in and out of Hamilton each day on Crow Lane, the Queen of the East appears to be an unsightly derelict building, but we can promise that on closer inspection the structure reveals that it was once a Bermuda showplace, dating from the mid 1700s, and despite its condition today, remains one of the island’s most architecturally significant historic buildings. Sadly, over the last two decades the Queen of the East was left unoccupied and derelict, causing it to deteriorate.

We were shocked in 2007 when the Grade I listed status of the building was removed, leaving it without any protection from demolition, especially since just a decade earlier it was recognised as being of such exceptional interest and architectural and historical value that it should be preserved. The Bermuda National Trust is confident that, while in significant disrepair, the building is sound and salvageable and that the necessary repairs to the structure are achievable.

Despite the current difficult economic times, the Trust DOES NOT accept that this remarkable building is without a viable future on the edge of Hamilton and believes it would be a tragedy for it to be demolished. We have explored the feasibility of finding external assistance through partnering with other organisations to determine if we could raise the necessary funds to save the building for the benefit of all Bermuda. In that vein, we approached the seller of the property, but so far have been unsuccessful.The Trust would like to appeal to any potential purchasers of the property to please consider saving the building, we guarantee that it would serve as a true asset.

The Bermuda National Trust believes the Queen of the East can be saved and cannot stress enough how important this building is to Bermuda. It is extremely sad to see it in its current state as the building demonstrates the grace and sympathy of old Bermuda architecture at its best."

History

Built in the 1740s, the Queen of the East epitomises Bermudian 18th century architecture and remains the least altered of all the original buildings along the historic Foot of the Lane waterfront. It is extraordinary that it survives relatively intact today. Built at a time when St George’s was Bermuda’s only town (generations before the City of Hamilton was established), small ports like the one at the Foot of the Lane existed elsewhere as hubs for business and social activity. In its day the Queen of the East was a substantial merchant house and a major feature of this 18th century port.

The architecture is representative of Bermuda’s early history: built into the hillside, with living quarters above and warehouse below, accessible by water, high tray ceilings, windows under the eaves, thick cedar beams, and large chimneys at either end of the long rooms.

The house’s use varied and, following the establishment and growth of the City of Hamilton, it served as a bakery, laundry and even a brothel, its current name a reference to scandalous activities which took place to the east of Hamilton. Bayfield Clark, an eminent architect, rented and restored the house in the 1940s and during his tenure the property was a Bermudian showplace.

Moonray Manor – Bishop Spencer School

If you have driven along East Broadway this week, you would have noticed construction work has begun at the Grade III listed Moonray Manor.

The Bermuda National Trust reviewed the planning application and is pleased that the old school house section of the building will be saved. For a long time the Trust feared that it would one day deteriorate beyond repair. Previous changes and additions to the old building were not sympathetic and we are glad that some of these are being removed while the original features are being repaired. But we have expressed to the owner our concern about the impact of proposed floor-level French windows/doors which would detract from the old section’s identifiableness as a Bishop Spencer School.

On the matter of Bishop Spencer Schools the National Trust would like to draw attention again to another surviving early school house in Warwick. This is the little building used as a storehouse opposite the former White’s Supermarket. It is the best surviving example of what are known as the Bishop Spencer schools. These were erected in Bermuda immediately following emancipation (1834) by the Anglican Church for the education of black children. It continued to be used as a school up until at least the 1950s and is very dear to the hearts of many Bermudians. It is listed as a Grade I building which recognises that it has survived in essentially its original condition. It is a typical one-roomed schoolhouse of the period and is in need of some preventative maintenance.

The Trust would be willing to help the new owners if we can and hope that its heritage value is kept in mind when assessing future options for this historic Bermuda Landmark.

Trust saddened by the delisting of the Royal Naval Club

Listed Buildings are designated pursuant to section 30 of the Development and Planning Act 1974 for the purpose of protecting the historic and architectural importance of these structures.

“The Bermuda National Trust is concerned that the Royal Naval Club (28 Pender Road) has been delisted. The Trust submitted a formal objection to the application to delist the building in April, to the Minister of Home Affairs.

The Royal Naval Club and its neighbour to the north, the former Moresby House (26 Pender Road), are both fine buildings, regardless of their condition through neglect. We had sincerely hoped that the America’s Cup would have provided the ideal opportunity to renovate and find a new use for historic buildings that have been long neglected, such as these in the Dockyard area, rather than to tear them down.

The Royal Naval Dockyard has had a considerable role in shaping island’s history over the last 200+ years. The Royal Naval Club was built in the early 1880s and served as an officers’ and then as a naval ratings club (canteen). It is an excellent example of British naval architecture of the period in a different style from the early naval buildings further to Bermuda’s north and, for this reason, should be treasured. Attractively, it has much the appearance and scale of sizable British and American railway stations and provides a variety to Bermuda’s architectural heritage.

The Dockyard has been the focus of a heroic restoration and preservation effort in the past three decades and now is not a good time to turn away from this conscious effort. Other than the merits of this particular building, the Trust strongly objects to the de-listing of buildings which have been allowed to deteriorate – it negates the whole principle of listing. “Demolition by neglect” is something which should not be encouraged. The best thing to do is not always the easiest."

SDO Approved for New Resort at Coco Reef

The Bermuda National Trust submitted an objection to this Planning Application on November 17, 2006, one of four objections we made to large-scale developments seeking a SDO on the South Shore in a matter of months.

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