Barbados Pocket Guide

Barbados National Trust

Barbados National Trust's Plaque, Barbados Pocket Guide

The Barbados National Trust

The Barbados National Trust is the premier organisation on the island dedicated to preserving Barbados' considerable architectural, historical and ecological wealth for future generations of visitors and Barbadians to enjoy.

 

Formed in 1961, the Barbados National Trust has now acquired eight major visitor attractions. These range from lush, green Welchman Hall Gully to imposing Gun Hill Signal Station, perched on a hill with stunning views of the island. From the beautiful blooms of Andromeda Botanic Gardens to Tyrol Cot Heritage Village - home of one of the founding fathers of Barbadian democracy, and site of a unique recreated 1920s model village, complete with blacksmith's forge and craft shops. Learn about the wonders and mysteries of Speightstown on the Arbib Nature and Heritage Trail, or visit a working sugar factory at the Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum. Take in some of the most spectacular scenery on the island as you visit Morgan Lewis Mill - one of the oldest, largest and longest-operating mills in the region - or wonder at peaceful splendour of the Bridgetown Synagogue.

 

The Barbados National Trust is based at recently-restored Wildey House, a Georgian mansion from the 1760s - one of our many restoration projects. In addition to the conservation of our architectural heritage, we are pioneers in environmental conservation in Barbados.

 

Conservation and Restoration

The Barbados National Trust is helping to save a Barbadian endangered species, thanks to a replanting programme which is underway at Andromeda Botanical Gardens. This has been achieved with the assistance of the University of the West Indies Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

 

Indigenous to the Caribbean and still common in other countries, the average Barbados Mastic grows to about 50 feet tall; 100 under favourable circumstances. A magnificent tree despite its rather undignified name (sideroxylon foetidissimum - the foetidissimum part means "extremely stinky", referring to its sap), the Mastic has been used as an invaluable lumber tree ever since the arrival of the Europeans.
Intensive harvesting, combined with habitat destruction, has made the tree extremely scarce - its plight was first noticed in the early 1800s, and the sole remaining wild tree on the island was spotted in 1989. This one plant is brushed by passing vehicles at the road side, polluted with exhaust fumes, and any road-widening scheme would mark its demise.

 

In order to prevent the loss of the species from Barbados, senior technician Jeff Chandler from the University of the West Indies is working in association with Andromeda Botanic Gardens to save it. Seeds from the one remaining wild tree have been gathered and germinated, and the resulting plantlets are being planted in protected public sites around the island.

 

Trees have already been planted at Andromeda Botanic Gardens, Welchman Hall Gully and the National Trust headquarters, Wildey House. Some have been donated to Roberts Manufacturing and IICA, for planting.

 

Funds for the project have been kindly made available by Cable & Wireless Plc (UK), through Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

 

Morgan Lewis Mill Re-Opens

After 250 years of existence, the largest sugar mill on the island is virtually complete again, just waiting for new arms for the sails, and is close to being operational for the first time since 1947.

 

Morgan Lewis Mill was donated to the Barbados National Trust in 1962 by the then owner, Mr. E L Bannister. Even at that time it was recognised as being a significant part of our history, being one of the oldest, largest and most complete mills in the Caribbean. It was built in 1727.

 

It was placed on World Monument Watch's List of 100 Most Endangered Monuments in 1996, which led to a substantial grant from American Express, enabling Phase III of the restoration to be carried out.

 

A team of millwrights from the Chiltern Partnership in England came to Barbados in September 1997, and under the guidance of team leader David Nicholls, they manufactured new parts out of massive greenheart logs imported from Willems Timber in Guyana. The old wooden parts of the mill were rebuilt from timbers weighing up to three tons. The Chiltern Partnership also brought a qualified blacksmith and a portable forge, who shaped new wrought iron ties and stakes for the mill, whilst masons were employed to restore the masonry - a task involving the removal of decades' worth of weed growth in the cracks between the old limestone bricks, and the application of a specially-tinted mortar to match the colour of the old limestone.

 

Then came the most dramatic part of the restoration - one day in October 1997, the working parts on the interior were exposed to the elements for the first time in decades. The entire wrought iron machinery of the mill and all wooden parts were removed using an industrial crane, reducing the mill to a bare shell, before the interior could be re-fitted.

 

The funding for the restoration came to the Barbados National Trust in stages, from the generous support of members, and also, among others, Banks (Barbados) Breweries, Barclays Bank plc, the Barbados Agriculture Management Company and the Tourism Development Corporation. Individuals have also made generous contributions, in particular Mr. Chris Choat, Mr. Richard Goddard and Mr. Derrick Smith. Additionally, the naming of the Mill on the List of Most Endangered Monuments led to a grant from American Express totaling $50,000 US. Fletcher Smith Ltd (UK) also made donations, and is in fact a company descended from the original manufacturers of the mill machinery dating from 1850. A target amount of $250,000 BDS ($125,000 US) has allowed for this third stage of restoration and should see the mill back in working order.

 

With proper maintenance, the Mill will last another 100 years, but the story does not end here. The Morgan Lewis Appeal, administered by the Barbados National Trust, continues to raise funds for further development of the mill and its environs into a fully loaded heritage tourism site. This will some day include an interpretive centre, a restaurant and a full restoration of the boiling house on the premises.

 

Admission

• Barbados National Trust members: BDS$10.00
• Non-Members: BDS $20.00 - Adults
• BARP members: BDS $15.00
• Children: 5 - 12 years 1/2 Price / Under 5 years - FREE

 

Hike Barbados

Since 1986, Sunday mornings at 6 a.m. and afternoons at 3:30 p.m. have been known as times when Barbadians and locals come together to participate in free walks  that are hosted by the Barbados National Trust. These educational walks explore Barbados' forestry, villages and historic places and are usually approximately 3 hours long. Although the hikes are free, donations are welcome for both the National Trust and the Future Centre Trust, a co-sponsor helping Bajans work toward a sustainable, happy future.

 

The Stop and' Stare Group

As the name suggest, this set of walkers do stop and stare. They are a more leisurely based set of walkers as they tend to stroll somewhere between 5-6 miles. These walks take place in the morning and afternon only.

 

The Here and There Walkers

This set of walkers cover a bit more ground as they easily do somewhere between 8-10 miles.

 

The Brisk Grin & Bear Walkers

 As the name aptly suggests, simply grin and bear it. This set of walkers walk at a more rapid rate pace covering somewhere between 12-14 miles.

 

Moonlight Walks

Moonlight walks start at 5:30 p.m. and can also be arranged. It is recommended that you bring along a flashlight.

 

The Arbib Nature and Heritage Trail

These walks take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. They include local culture and history associated with Speightstown's old port and the adjacent countryside.

 

You can choose the longer 3.5-mile walk or the easier 2-hour hike. The walks, which cost $7.50 per person for at least two people, must be booked by 3 p.m. the day before your hike. For information, contact the Barbados National Trust.

 

Further information on Hike Barbados can be sourced at the folowing website www.barbados.org/hikemain.htm.

 

Further information on the Barbados National Trust, Wildey House, Wildey, St. Michael can be sourced at the following website http://trust.funbarbados.com. Tel:  (246) 426-2421 or fax: (246) 429-9055.

 

Last modified on Monday, 06 February 2012 19:03

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