Bar­ba­dos’ UNESCO Her­itage Build­ings & Locations


While sev­eral Build­ings in Bridgetown are listed as a part of the Bar­ba­dos UNESCO World Her­itage site. The Fol­low­ing are a few of the most note­wor­thy structures.

Queen’€™s Park St. Paul’€™s Angli­can Church
Old Empire Theatre Old Spirit Bond Mall
The Bar­ba­dos Pub­lic Library– Coleridge Street Wick­ham Lewis Boardwalk

Old Town Hall


Queen’€s Park

Located in the cap­i­tal city of Bar­ba­dos, Bridgetown, this national park was once the for­mer home of the Com­man­der of the British Troops sta­tioned in Bar­ba­dos for the West Indies. It was bought in the 1780s by the British Gov­ern­ment, and at that time was called ‘€˜King’€™s House’€™.

The year 1837 ush­ered in the reign of Queen Vic­to­ria, and the name was then sub­se­quently changed to ‘€˜Queen’€™s Park’€™ when the British troops were with­drawn in 1906.

The prop­erty was then pur­chased by the Bar­ba­dos Gov­ern­ment, and later reopened it as a national park in June 10, 1909. The gates were offi­cially opened by Lady Gilbert-​Carter, wife of the Gov­er­nor, Sir Thomas Gilbert-​Carter, with a golden key spe­cially made and designed by Mr. H. Gale, Jew­eller of Bolton Lane and Man­ager of the Bar­ba­dos Pawn bro­kers Company.

Lady Carter had designed the lay­out of Queen’€™s Park includ­ing the foun­tain, in addi­tion to the gar­dens at Illaro Court, the offi­cial res­i­dence of the Prime Min­is­ter of Barbados.

In 1970 Queen’€™s Park was handed over to the care of the Parks and Beaches Com­mis­sion, now called the National Con­ser­va­tion Commission.

Queen’€™s Park also had its share of illus­tri­ous vis­i­tors who con­tributed to the beau­ti­ful land­scape in tree plant­ing cer­e­monies. These vis­i­tors include Prince Albert, Duke of York, King George VI of Eng­land, Queen Eliz­a­beth the Sec­ond and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Per­haps the most strik­ing nat­ural fea­tures in Queen’€™s Park are its two baobab trees. Shipped to Bar­ba­dos in 1738 from Guinea, Africa, these baobab trees remain the only two baobab trees in Bar­ba­dos, with one approx­i­mately 61 12 feet (18 m) in cir­cum­fer­ence, mak­ing it one of the largest trees in Barbados.

The lawn and sur­round­ing foliage are kept well man­i­cured and are watered from a well on the premises, which taps an under­ground stream.

There is also a children’€™s park here, equipped with swings, sea-​saws, mon­key bars and even a tree-​house, every­thing chil­dren will find fun and amuse­ment in.

Other notable areas within the park are the Queen’s Park Art Gallery (cur­rently relo­cated) and Bar­ba­dos Solar House. There is a very pop­u­lar Bajan tra­di­tion of walk­ing through Queen’€™s Park on Christ­mas Day, while wear­ing your finest clothes. This is truly an engag­ing spec­ta­cle to see if you are vaca­tion­ing around this time.

Queen’€™s Park is a listed ‘build­ing’ in the UNESCO World Her­itage Site “His­toric Bridgetown And Its Garrison”.


Old Empire Theatre

This impos­ing struc­ture is located on Probyn Street, Bridgetown. This his­toric build­ing was built in 1922 by a group of investors. It was pri­mar­ily designed to show the­atre, made up of vaude­ville shows and screen shots. In time these even­tu­ally decreased, and the the­atre began show­ing more dance and com­edy acts to sup­ple­ment its income.

One famous Bar­ba­dian writer, Frank Col­ly­more, was also show­cased at this top-​class the­atre. Frank Col­ly­more was a renowned poet, writer and let­ter writer, and has been hon­oured by Bar­ba­dos with the nam­ing of the illus­tri­ous Frank Col­ly­more Hall Build­ing after him.

In addi­tion to these acts, the Empire The­atre also acted as a cin­ema, and here many Bar­ba­di­ans enjoyed West­erns, karate and kung fu movies.

In 1940, the the­atre changed hands and was sub­se­quently owned by The British Colo­nial Film Exchange, Ltd. It ceased its oper­a­tions around 1975, and has since then fallen into a state of disrepair.

In its hey­day this the­atre cer­tainly was an impres­sive piece of archi­tec­ture, and even in its cur­rent dilap­i­dated state it still retained a shadow of its for­mer glory.

There has been some talk from the Bar­ba­dos Gov­ern­ment about the restora­tion and ulti­mate reuse of the the­atre on a national level. How­ever, to-​date there has been no con­fir­ma­tion as to what the ulti­mate plan will be for this his­toric building.


The Bar­ba­dos Pub­lic Library– Coleridge Street

First estab­lished in 1840, the Bar­ba­dos Pub­lic Library was offi­cially opened at its Coleridge Street loca­tion by His Excel­lency the Gov­er­nor, Sir Gilbert Carter, 26th Jan­u­ary, 1906. It is impor­tant to note that this was a period of sig­nif­i­cant social change in the British West Indies, start­ing with the abo­li­tion of the slave trade in 1834.The first stone was laid on June 7, 1904 which sig­nalled the begin­ning of con­struc­tion at this site.

This loca­tion was made pos­si­ble by a Scottish-​American phil­an­thropist who had never stepped foot on Bar­ba­dos soil, Andrew Carnegie. Dubbed the ‘€˜Patron Saint of Libraries’€™, Mr. Carnegie donated money for 2,500 pub­lic libraries to be built between the late 19th cen­tury and early 20th cen­tury across Scot­land, Amer­ica, Britain and its colonies, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

Andrew Carnegie had orig­i­nally planned to donate 2,500 pounds towards the con­struc­tion of a free pub­lic library in Bar­ba­dos. How­ever, as the Bar­ba­dos Gov­ern­ment did not want to get involved with this amount they deemed insuf­fi­cient, Mr. Carnegie sub­se­quently raised this amount to 4,800 pounds.

In more recent times, the Bar­ba­dos Pub­lic Library was moved from its Coleridge Street loca­tion as this old build­ing was scribed as an unhealthy site. Dur­ing this period of relo­ca­tion, the Library was closed between August 2005 and Jan­u­ary 2009. It was then reopened at the Old Mod­ern Liv­ing Build­ing located in Inde­pen­dence Square.

The old Coleridge Street build­ing still stands, and it is a archi­tec­tural gem to see. It is a listed build­ing in the UNESCO World Her­itage Site “His­toric Bridgetown And Its Garrison”.


Old Town Hall

Located oppo­site St. Mary’€™s Angli­can Church in his­toric Bridgetown, the Old Town Hall build­ing was first erected in 1730, and housed the Bar­ba­dos Assem­bly, the Vestry of St. Michael and the town jail. Its 18th cen­tury archi­tec­ture with its mag­nif­i­cent sweep­ing stair­case cer­tainly makes this build­ing an inter­est­ing one.

This build­ing was later used by the Assem­bly for its meet­ings in 1850. Ernest Deighton Mot­t­ley also served here as a mem­ber of the St. Michael Vestry, from 1940 to 1959, and as the first Mayor of Bridgetown in 1959.

After falling into a state of dis­re­pair, it was restored and reopened in 2003, with the orig­i­nally south­ern and east­ern walls pre­served. Today, this his­toric build­ing cur­rently houses sev­eral busi­nesses, includ­ing Bar­ba­dos Tourism Invest­ment Inc.

The Old Town Hall build­ing is a listed build­ing in the UNESCO World Her­itage Site “His­toric Bridgetown And Its Garrison”.


St. Paul’s Angli­can Church

This his­toric build­ing is located in Bay Street, Bridgetown. It was first built in 1830 by William Hart Coleridge, the then bishop of Bar­ba­dos, who used his own funds for the con­struc­tion of this church.

Its cor­ner­stone was placed April, 23rd in 1830 on by Gov­er­nor Sir James Lyon, and con­struc­tion was com­pleted in Jan­u­ary 1830. Unfor­tu­nately, a dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­cane hit Bar­ba­dos on August 11th, 1831 and the church was com­pletely destroyed.

How­ever, William Coleridge did not let that inci­dent stop his plans, and another church was com­pleted in Octo­ber 1833, with a chan­cel being added in 1849.

Since then, St. Paul’€™s Church has under­gone quite a bit of restora­tion and remod­el­ling. Its archi­tec­ture is Gothic inspired with its pointed arched win­dows, steep gabled roofs and stout but­tresses. Its grave­yard con­tains tombs from over two hun­dred years ago. Notably less impres­sive than the orig­i­nal struc­ture, St. Paul’€™s Church is still quite a trea­sure to explore, rich with its tale of Bar­ba­dian history.

Today, St. Paul’€™s Angli­can Church cur­rently boasts of a con­gre­ga­tion of approx­i­mately 800 persons.

St. Paul’s Angli­can Church is a listed build­ing in the UNESCO World Her­itage Site “His­toric Bridgetown And Its Garrison”.

Tel: (246) 4263106


Old Spirit Bond Mall

This attrac­tive, his­toric build­ing is located in the heart of Bar­ba­dos’€™ cap­i­tal city, Bridgetown. This struc­ture was first con­structed in the 18th cen­tury and as its name sug­gests, it was orig­i­nally used as a ware­house to store rum and other spirits.

Its strate­gic loca­tion by the Careenage River was to facil­i­tate the offload­ing of cargo and col­lec­tion of rum, sugar and molasses to be shipped to North Amer­ica and Europe.

Approx­i­mately 100 years after it was built, the Old Spirit Bond Bar­ba­dos’ Cus­toms Depart­ment. It was later remod­elled and restored, with its orig­i­nal brick walls retained, and is cur­rently home to a num­ber of shops. This is a great place to visit, as you get to catch a glimpse of Old World Bridgetown, and also do some shop­ping in the same place.

The Old Spirit Bond build­ing is a listed build­ing in the UNESCO World Her­itage Site “His­toric Bridgetown And Its Garrison”.


Wick­ham Lewis Boardwalk

Also known as the Bridgetown Board­walk, this board­walk runs from east to west at the water­front of Bridgetown, giv­ing spec­tac­u­lar views of the Careenage River.

At the far east end of the Bridgetown Board­walk, you will find a his­toric lift bridge, known as the Cham­ber­lain Bridge.

Named after two notable Bar­ba­di­ans, the Bridgetown Board­walk is a great place to take a stroll in Bridgetown and watch the yachts that make their way in and out of the Careenage. There are also benches located on this scenic walk­way, where you can relax and even take in a beau­ti­ful Bar­ba­dos sunset.

Around Inde­pen­dence, which is cel­e­brated in Bar­ba­dos every Novem­ber 30th, the antique lights which dec­o­rate this board­walk are lit with the national colours of blue and yel­low. They are then changed around Christ­mas time, to the sea­sonal colours of red, green or red and gold.


RELATED ARTI­CLES
About Bar­ba­dos
His­tory of Bar­ba­dos
His­toric Bridgetown and its Gar­ri­son
Muse­ums and Her­itage Sites

Share this post

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
Scroll to Top