Monument Watch
1763 Monument Situated at the eastern end of Brickdam, this monument, which celebrates the struggle of the Guyanese people for their liberation was described by British based Guyanese painter Aubrey Williams as the greatest standing sculpture of the Caribbean. Constructed at a cost of $38,000, this imposing bronze sculpture was unveiled by former president Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham on the occasion of Guyana’s 10th Independence anniversary celebrations on 23 May 1976. It commemorates the achievements of the 1763 Slave Revolt  on Plantation Magdelenenburg, Berbice.

The plans for the development of a monument to honour  the 1763 rebellion were advertised in the newspapers in the form of an open competition. This attracted the attention of the national artist Mr. Philip Alphonso Moore who was in the USA at that time.  He entered a 36 inch model and was soon contracted for the job.
This work of art which stands15 feet high and weighs 2½ tons was cut into sections and the moulds were cast in bronze and reassembled through welding. The sculpture was cast at the Morris Singer Foundry in Basingstoke, England. Further assistance was rendered by structural engineer Mr. David Klautky and model makers David Gillespie, Dorset and Farnham.
Dr. Dennis Williams, a former chairman of the National Trust of Guyana and noted archaeologist, Described Moore’s sculpture as a secular work, which incorporates all the characteristics of the sacred arts sculpture of West Africa: immateriality, spirituality and a disregard of the natural proportions of the human figure.

This is best exemplified in the pointing lips of the face which symbolize the resistance and anger towards oppression.  The depiction of other freedom fighters such as Accara with horned like faces on the thighs of the sculpture.

The monument rests on a plinth 18 feet high which     was designed by Albert Rodrigues, A.R.I.B.A., M.G.S.A. This plinth is adorned with five bronze plaques which depict the themes: Seeking Inspiration, Uniting the People, Destroying the Enemies, Control and Praise and Praise and Thanksgiving.

In 1999 this unique piece of art was declared a National Monument by the Government of Guyana. It is an eloquent reminder of our rich cultural heritage worthy of preservation for the benefit of future generations.

OUR ACTIVITIES

Caribbean Wooden Treasures

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sport hosted a conference on Wooden Urban Heritage in the Caribbean Region, under the theme, ‘Caribbean Wooden Treasures’ 5 – 7 February 2003. Architects and Conservators from throughout the region attended the conference. Georgetown’s unique and distinctive wooden architecture was showcased through the presentations of Professor Richard Westmaas, Mr. William Harris, Mr. Clayton Hall and the National Trust of Guyana (Ms. Allyson Stoll, Mr. Lloyd Kandasammy and Mrs. Mariella Khirattie, an architect of the Central Housing & Planning Authority, Ministry of Housing)

Participants and observers were taken on a guided tour of the city and many were impressed by the diversity of the techniques used in the construction of our historic buildings. Visits were made to the City Hall, Dargan House (the Office of the Guyana National Commission for UNESCO), the Canadian High Commission and Castellani House :The National Art Gallery.

Workshop on Webcasting
Research & Documentation Officer, Mr. Lloyd Kandasammy, and Research Assistant, Ms. Nirvana Persaud, attended a workshop, 3- 7 February 2003 at the Centre of Communications, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Guyana. The main objective of the workshop was to familiarise participants with the use of Multi- Media techniques; video, audio and text,  in the creation of websites using Microsoft Front Page.

This course  was funded by  UNESCO and was facilitated by Ms. Vilma Gregory, Mr. Linden Holnes and Mr. Laurie Leitch of the University of Technology, Jamaica.
Fort Island

A new wooden bridge to provide ingress and egress to Fort Zeelandia was constructed by Mr. Shaffeik, a contractor. This was part of the work undertaken by the Trust to facilitate the conservation of one of the nations’ pristine heritage site.

PLANNING FOR  PRESERVATION OF GEORGETOWN’S URBAN WOODEN HERITAGE:
SOME  COMMENTS
BY  Rawle Edinboror
Town & Country  Planning Department
Central Housing & Planning Authority.

 

The February 2003 Thematic Expert Meeting on Wooden Urban Heritage has come and gone. Certainly, our enthusiasm about the preservation of the wooden glories of Georgetown may have been excitingly provoked by the refreshingly good meeting of minds and the sharing of experiences on an issue, which is perhaps, more relevant to Georgetown than any other Caribbean City. Indeed, the now much more aggressive and pro-active approach by the National Trust of Guyana to heritage preservation issues in Guyana is significant.

However, this has to be supported on all fronts. In the case of the City of Georgetown one major challenge in support of the efforts by the National Trust is the question of utilizing the town planning framework in an integrated and well coordinated manner to help in the preservation of the City’s built heritage.In this regard the Central Housing & Planning Authority (CH&PA) has recently prepared a new Greater Georgetown Development Plan (GGDP) which is soon to be approved. Embodied in this Plan is the proposed designation of certain areas of historic Georgetown as Conservation Areas — areas which because of their prominence within the cityscape are to be given special planning treatment aimed at preserving their unique character, such as their architectural attributes. The GGDP would therefore serve as the rational basis for the approach to planning and development within the designated Conservation Areas.
Some of the areas proposed in the Plan as Conservation Areas includes:

1.Areas along Brickdam, from Stabroek market  to     the     west to the Square of the Revolution to the east;

2.Areas along Main  High Street, Kingston from the cenotaph to the south to Le Meridian  Pegasus Hotel to the north;

3.Part of Merriman’s Mall;

4.Part of the western section of Church Street in the vicinity of St. George’s Cathedral.

What would prevail in the designated Conservation Areas?

· Strict development control taking into account certain aesthetic considerations; design details of buildings; colour of buildings; design compatibility; control of signs and advertisements to be affixed to buildings; height of structures; set-back distances; the integrity of spaces between buildings and the compatibility of development in areas contiguous to heritage buildings.

Special development control procedures for dealing with applications for building operations, particularly where a listed building is concerned. An important aspect here would be having in place a planning permission system which takes into account the need for proper inter-agency and public consultation in dealing with building applications. Negotiations with developers on issues of design and use would also be an important aspect.

High site development standards to be encouraged such as the provision of spaces for vehicular parking, landscaping etc. It is intended that through this approach, development within the Conservation Areas will be of higher standard and the status quo of the said areas will not only be retained but enhanced as well in the process.

The general idea is that for each designated Conservation Area detailed “re-development schemes” will be prepared to cater for proper information to guide public agencies, the private sector and individual developers on issues of proper planning and permitted building operations in the designated areas.

Once the planning proposal hereby outlined is fully implemented and supported by a strong public awareness/education programme, an incentive scheme for affected property owners, good inter-agency co-ordination and good institutional capacity Georgetown’s historic district would surely stand out as the pride and glory of our City and an obvious stimulant to our efforts at promoting the development of our tourism sector.

HERITAGE TRAIL

CHRIST CHURCH
The earliest record of Christ Church seems to be a letter dated 27 June 1837 from Mr. J.E. Eversley, Registrar of the Diocese of Barbados, enclosing a mandate from Bishop Coleridge authorising the Rev. W.P. Austin, as ecclesiastical Commissary for Guiana, on visiting and inspecting a proprietary chapel for the due and lawful performance of Divine Service. The “Proprietary Chapel” referred to was Christ Church, which was erected in 1836 with the hope that Bishop Coleridge, who was to have visited the colony in that year, would have consecrated it. The very mild ritual observed at St. George’s offended some of the European worshippers and so some stalwart Protestants made up their minds to establish this Proprietary Church. They looked around for land and nearly succeeded in obtaining permission to erect their building on the Parade Ground. Two lots of land were however, obtained in Waterloo Street and the Church was erected. These lots, 171 and 172  Cummingsburg, were the property of John Bagot.

The lots were transported on 14 December 1842 to John Lucie Smith, Jnr., George William Wells and William Branch Pollard, Trustees of Christ Church. The other original trustees were William Augustus Parker, Ellis John Boughton, Evan McLauren Smith, John Gibbs, Hugh Rogers, Charles Bean, William Edward Pierce, John Lane, Charles Benjamin, James Anthony Parker Goring and John Groscart Reed.

In 1836 the Church was completed and licensed by the Bishop of Barbados, but neither the Bishop of Barbados nor the Rev. James Lugar, Rector of St. George’s, looked with favour on the new church and thus Christ Church was somewhat isolated. Though the Church,  was opened in 1836, it was not consecrated until 21 November 1843.   An Irish Jesuit Priest conducted the first service of the church.

On 22 July 1837 Mr. Bryer was appointed as Pastor of the Church. He succumbed to yellow fever on 29 August 1837 and was buried in the Churchyard. His tomb can now be seen on the southern side of the Church.

The Rev. Wm. Fox, M.A., of Trinity College, Dublin, was the next Incumbent. Under his guidance the activities of the Church grew. Galleries were erected not only in the west, north and south, but also at the east end of the original building. The tower and an organ were added to improve the appearance of the very simple though capacious building. Further expansion was constrained as a consequence of insufficient funds. When Archdeacon Austin was consecrated Bishop in 1842 and steps were taken to sanctify the Church, it was in debt and so the consecration was further delayed.

The Combined Court was petitioned for help, one of the reasons for supporting the church being that it was the only one in town that held evening services. This petition was granted and on 21 November 1843, Bishop Austin, blessed the Church.

In 1882 the Church was further enhanced with the erection of a Chancel under the guidance of Rev. Thomas Jordan Moulder. The beautiful stained glass window behind the pulpit was erected to his memory by public subscription in December 1914.

At the top of the Church is a large striking clock which served the Community well. The interior is adorned with gifts and tablets erected in memory of prominent members, many of whom were influential persons in British Guiana.

Today Christ Church serves as an eloquent reminder of Guyana’s rich cultural tapestry worthy of conservation for future generations to enjoy.