Buildings of the past and present serve as a daily reminder of our architectural heritage in Barbados. The plantation houses, churches, domestic homes, military structures and monuments that share our island with us provide some measure of insight into how the individuality of Barbados was shaped.
The architectural heritage in the early days of Barbados was very rich and unique with most structures being built of wood, Spanish walling and covered with thatch roofs. This building style and material usage was quite unlike what we are currently exposed to here in Barbados.
Slaves take up a very fundamental aspect of the architectural legacy associated with Barbados and in the process have been able to successfully make their mark of influence on the culture of the island. Their workmanship is evident in the buildings that make up the island. Especially evident are the chattel houses that have been such an integral part of their lives as they often built these wooden structures resting on not so solid foundations so as to aid in the easy movement from plantation to plantation should the need arise. The vibrancy associated with these chattel houses show a strong West African influence.
Natural forces, human threat and even neglect are all responsible for the decrease in numbers of our architectural heritage. Despite this, the preservation process continues to take place in an effort to educate the people of Barbados as to the rich and intriguing heritage that these buildings date back to.
As per the case with most developing countries throughout the Caribbean and world, Barbados has fallen short with regards to a comprehensive structure that is geared towards preserving the true heritage of the island's buildings.
The country's architectural structure speaks volumes of the strong British connection with Jacobean, Georgian and Victorian styles being the dominant feature in the historic buildings in Barbados. The Barbados National Trust was established in 1961 in an effort to preserve the unique heritage of our island Barbados, be it historic buildings and sites or places of natural beauty or environmental importance.