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The Garrison Historic Area

Garrison Historic Area

The Barbados Garrison Historic Area contains a network of well-preserved sites of historical and architectural interest which aid in telling a well-told story of the largest British military complex built in the Caribbean.

 

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The Garrison Historic Area (GHA) Project was officially launched on Sunday, October 21, 2007.  The event commenced at the National Armoury Museum but the official ceremony took place in the Main Guard.

 

Barbados Museum and Historical Society

The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, established in 1933, is located at the Garrison and is housed in the building that once housed the former British Military Prison. The prison's upper section was built in 1817 and lower section in 1853.

 

The Barbados Museum and Historical Society set the tone for the successful transformation of the historic Garrison buildings into visitor-oriented facilities.

 

Drill Hall

Built in 1790, the building was originally used as barracks for the soldiers. In 1822 it was remodelled for use as an Armory and, in 1881, it became the headquarters for the Garrison. It was purchased by the Government of Barbados in 1905 and used as a gymnasium and drill hall for the Volunteer Force.

 

Since the late 1970s it has been used as the Officers' and Sergeants' messes of the Defence Force. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were received here on a state visit.

 

Inside, opposite the Officers' Mess, the West India Regiment Room contains mementos and pictures of the fabled soldiers from Barbados.

 

George Washington House

George Washington House is located in the beautifully restored building where the President of the United States of America visited in 1751 and spent about two months. It is in fact the only place George Washington ever visited outside of the USA.

 

Main Guard

Twenty-six of the most important pieces in the collection are mounted in front of the Main Guard House and make a fine photographic display.

 

The National Army and St. Ann's Fort

This is home to the world's finest collection of authentic 17th century English cannons and Commonwealth Cannon of 1652, one of two known to still exist. English military memorabilia, including unique maps, a bottle collection, blue prints, colourful portraits of soldiers in days gone by and even a recreation of the Mermaid Tavern where the Charter of Barbados was signed, can be found here as well.

 

On these premises, one can also find more recent historical objects from the High Altitude Research Project (HARP) gun.

 

A space worthy of being a movie set, the Armory also houses a recreation of the Mermaid Tavern where the Charter of Barbados was signed, a bottle collection, plans of the fort, maps, and colorful depictions of soldiers in days gone by.

 

In 1705, St. Ann's Fort became equipped with it's own vaulted underground magazines. Today, one can go on tour and still be exposed to an almost underground chamber filled with cannons and more.

 

Of absolute importance to note is that tours to the Garrison need to be booked in advance as it is still operates as a military complex.

 

Pavilion

Currently apartment buildings, this absolute gem of Georgian architecture, was built in 1806 and was once the residence of the Medical Officer to the General Hospital for the Garrison.

 

The new hospital was built to replace the first military hospital at the Garrison near Bush Hill House. After withdrawal of the Garrison troops in 1905, it was sold and converted into apartments until it was destroyed by fire in 1979.

 

Garrison Savannah

The Garrison Savannah in Barbados was predominantly home to horse racing on the island. This six (6) furlong horse track has been the natural environment for horse racing on the island since the colonial days of 1845 when Barbados was used as a base for the British Regiment. No longer is the Garrison Savannah predominantly home to horse racing as it has attracted many other activities such as kite flying, parades, walking, jogging or just for the purposes of simply sitting outdoors and having lunch.

 

World Heritage Site

In June 2011, The World Heritage Committee has put a Heritage Stamp on the Historic Bridgetown and the Garrison areas. These sites were listed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

 

As such, great potential has been sited for many Barbadians who have an interest in producing souvenirs as this now creates a unique opportunity to create foreign exchange.

 

UNESCO’s website is quoted as describing Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as “an outstanding example of British colonial architecture consisting of a well-preserved old town built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which testifies to the spread of Great Britain’s Atlantic colonial empire”

 

Last modified on Friday, 25 July 2014 14:34

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