The development of Stabroek
Stabroek is the oldest ward in the city of Georgetown. It was initially established by the French in 1782 after they invaded and briefly controlled the colony of Demerara. It was later named after Nicholas Gleevinck, Lord of Stabroek and President of the Dutch West Indian Company (DWIC) in1784 after the Dutch regained control of the colony. Stabroek is bordered by Croal Street to the north; Hadfield Street to the south; Vlissingen Road to the east and the Demerara River to the west.
Brickdam, the oldest street in the ward received its name from being paved with burned bricks until 1921. Brickdam was popularly known for the palm trees that lined the roadway, some of which are still evident. These trees were planted by a Mr. Richard M. Jones. Many of the other streets were named after prominent members of society; however prior to 1901, most streets running from north to south were identified by numbers.
Croal Street was named after John Croal, a former Mayor of Georgetown and was previously known as red dam due to it being covered with red earth. Hadfield Street was named after Joseph Hadfield, a well-respected architect and crown surveyor of his time. Magnet Place was named after Dr. Etienne Magnet, a former Surgeon General and Director of medical services attached to the colony hospital.
Sendall Place was named after former British Guiana governor, Sir Walter Sendall, K.C.M.G. Pollard Place was named after former Auditor-General and Vlissingen Commissioner, W. B. Pollard. Boyle Place was named after former Government secretary and acting Governor of British Guiana, Sir Cadenish Boyle, K.C.M.G. Austin Place was named after the son of the first Anglican Bishop to British Guiana, Charles Austin; he was also a Receiver General and Vlissingen Commissioner.
Brummell Place was named after John Brummell, former Sheriff of Demerara, Police Magistrate of Georgetown and the first Chairman of the Botanical Gardens. Chalmers Place was named after a Crown Surveyor who died in 1877. Winter Place was named after Mr. F. A. R. Winter, an influential merchant who founded the company, Hand in Hand. Sandeman Place was named after Patrick Sandeman, who once operated the Government Astronomical & Meteorological Observatory.
Buildings of historic Stabroek
Parliament Building also referred to as Public Buildings is located on Brickdam, Stabroek, Georgetown. This structure is second building to occupy the current site, the first being known as the Court of Policy. The foundation stone for the present building was laid in 1829 and the structure’s foundation was of mostly greeheart logs. It was completed in April 1834 but was not handed over to the Court of Policy until August 05, 1834. The structure is an excellent example of 19th century Renaissance architecture, stuccoed to resemble stone blocks. Parliament Building was designed by Architect, Mr. Joseph Hadfield and today serves as the seat of the National Assembly for the Republic of Guyana.
Stabroek Market, located on Water Street and bearing the name of the oldest ward in Georgetown, was officially opened on November 1, 1881 by Governor Cornelius H. Kortwright. Built partly on land and water, this steel structure was designed by an American engineer, Mr. Nathaniel McKay. This landmark serves as one of the main hubs for economic activities in the capital city.
Brickdam Police Station Complex
The Brickdam Police Station Complex is located with its main entrance on Brickdam, Stabroek, Georgetown and occupies an entire block (((Hadfield Street & Brickdam (east to West) & Sendell & Magnet Places (north to south))). The main building is believed to have been designed and constructed by Cesar Castellani. It’s decorative cast iron and a weather vane atop the roof are among some of its notable architectural features. Housed within the complex are several offices, which were once residences of affluent men in society and the police force.
Smiths Congregational Memorial Church
Smith’s Congregational Memorial, named in memory of Reverend John Smith, is located on Brickdam, Georgetown. The church was dedicated in November 1843, 19 years after Reverend Smith died in prison. He was accused of inciting the 1823 Revolt in the colony of Demerara which is considered the largest slave revolt in the country. The church will be celebrating its 174rth anniversary in 2017.
St. Andrews Kirk
St. Andrew’s Kirk, located at the Intersection of Brickdam and the Avenue of the Republic, Stabroek, Georgetown is the oldest church in Georgetown. The church was established by the Dutch in 1811 and completed in 1818. Under the administration of the Scottish who later gained full control of the building, it was expanded. Sometime later enslaved Africans were allowed to worship within the church. Today, it is still used for religious services and serves as an tangible reminder of Guyana’s colonial legacy.
St. Stanislaus College
St. Stanislaus College is located on Brickdam Street and Magnet Place, Stabroek, Georgetown. The school is the first all-boys educational institution to be established by the Jesuits in British Guiana. It was founded on May 01, 1866, by Father Langthon. It started with just two boys named Marshall and Pairadeau, on the ground floor of a cathedral that was built by the Jesuits on Brickdam. The institution in its early days was known as the St. Stanislaus Grammar School; it was named after a Polish nobleman, Stanislaus Kostka. The school’s population increased significantly by 1868, and was considered to be on par with other Jesuit schools in England. In 1954, a new wing was added, and by 1957, the school began receiving aid from the colonial Government. In November 1973 the newly built, Hopkinson Wing was opened and in 1975, the school admitted its first batch of female students. By 1976, it became a government run institution.
Teaching Service Commission
The Teaching Service Commission is housed in an elegant wooden building. The attractive wooden molds and ornate fretwork around the roof testify to the craftsmanship and artistry of the Guyanese builders. This building was formerly owned by the DeSouza family.
Palms (Alms Hospital / Home)
This institution which houses the elderly poor was constructed between 1874 and 1878. The complex was extended in 1900 with the addition of two buildings. This complex derives its name from the palm trees which once lined the streets of Brickdam. The main structure of the hospital (Alms House) was demolished.
Georgetown Magistrates Court
The Magistrates’ Court, located on Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown was officially opened on September 1, 1891. It was designed by Italian Architect, Mr. Cesar Castellani, to serve as an extension to accommodate the legal proceedings of the High Court. Its ornate wrought iron rails and stairs are noteworthy features of this edifice.
Demico House is a late 19th century timber and masonry structure built circa 1882. It is located on Croal Street within close proximity to the Stabroek Market. The building was first owned by Messrs Birch & Company along with Charles J. Mauarine. It was purchased by the D’Aguiar brothers circa1893 and was converted into a bar known as Demerara Ice House in 1896. The building was adapted as an hotel in 1972.
Cathedral of Immaculate Conception
The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, also known as the Brickdam Cathedral, is located on Brickdam, Georgetown. The cathedral is one of the first Ferro-concrete structures to be built in Guyana. The church replaces St. Mary’s Cathedral that was destroyed by fire in 1913. The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception was designed by English architect Mr. Leonard Stokes. It was opened and blessed by Bishop Galton on March 13, 1921 while still under construction. However, it was eventually completed and declared officially opened on December 8, 1925. This is an important place of worship for the Catholic community of Guyana.
Other sites in Stabroek
Brickdam Independence Arch
Located in Brickdam, Georgetown, the Brickdam Independence Arch represents the achievement of political independence in Guyana. It is constructed of local materials and was designed by Canadian Architect, Mr. Eric Flack. This Arch was presented to then Prime Minister, Mr. Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham by the Demerara Bauxite Company on May 22, 1966, as a gift to the Guyanese people.