Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bridgetown's judiciary buildings

The above photo is the beautiful public library building a gift to the people of Barbados by  Andrew Carnegie in 1905. Located in the same compound of the old courts of justice, it has fallen into a state of disrepair and had to be closed. Funding is being sought to restore and repair it. I had spent many Saturdays as a child and as a teenager borrowing books from here. From  the adventures of the famous five by Enid Blyton , the Bobbsey Twins  by Laura Lee Hope, William by Richmal Crompton, Billy Bunter by Frank Richards, Chalet School series by Elinor M Brent-Dyer, Nancy Drew by Carolyne Keene. These books gave me a feeling of adventure and a thirst for travel. Classics like Jane Eyre, Heidi, Wuthering heights, Oliver Twist, and  Little women will live forever. And ooops I forgot Grimm's fairytales, Treasure Island, Gulliver's Travels, and Around the world in eighty days.
 The old supreme court building on Coleridge Street.
the registry and old law courts building
 The new courts of justice building is now being landscaped. This site was the former home of  the Barbados Foundry which was demolished to make way for this building.
 an impressive entrance of the new judiciary building
 Another view of  the registry and the courts. The Montefiore fountain at the left was gift to the city by a Jewish Businessman in 1865 in his father's memory and to commemorate   the arrival of piped water to the city of Bridgetown

The old buildings that houses the judiciary in Bridgetown has been a bone of contention for many. It has outgrown itself and lack of upkeep made it almost an inhabitable place to do business. It had served the island well during  the colonial and post colonial era. It also houses the main or central police department. I was there approximately twenty years ago for my divorce and thought at that time what a dreary place to work and to be. Barbados follows the British judicial system.  By the way divorces take place in a private  judge's chambers with both parties and their lawyers. We address the judge by the title of Milord even though the American title of your Honour is accepted. Couples can file for divorce after one year of separation on the grounds of,  if the marriage has irretrievably broken down beyond reconciliation (mine did), spousal abuse and  adultery.  A new building has been completed and will soon be occupied. It is slated to open next month for the October assizes.  It is beautiful and I do hope that it does not fall into the same state of neglect like most government owned buildings.


  1. The building in the first picture is beautiful. I wish it can will be restored. Some of the authors you mentioned are my favourites too, especially Enid Blyton. I think I have read the most no. of titles from her. I really enjoyed Famous Five, Secret Seven and The Naughtiest Girl in School. My English improved a lot too. Yeah, those were the days.

  2. Golly Autumn Belle your English is very good, even be better than some of us who speak it as our mother tongue. What a great way to learn a language. Yes I do hope that the Library is restored to its former glory.

  3. Let's hope those classics never go away.

    If your government is anything like ours it should stick to trying to manage itself and leave the people alone... but don't get me started on that. :-)

    Beautiful old homes and buildings in these last two posts. I hope they manage to restore that old building... but the new one is very impressive, too.

    So glad your garden ramble was a success... I knew it would be. With your enthusiasm and beautiful grounds I'm sure they all loved it.

    I'm enjoying a look around your little island from your viewpoint! Show us more? Please.
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

  4. Very cool town! I like it! These photos reminded me of my hometown, Ipoh that has lots of old buildings too. Have a wonderful day Islandgal!

  5. Very imposing buildings! The town is so nice too. Your choice of books seemsto be the same as my own in my childhood.Sorry for the late comment as I was busy with school tests.

  6. Meems goverments seldom pay attention to what is really important to the country. Imagine the library was a gift......FREE..... they never had to pay a damn cent for it. And yet they allowed it to get to this state of disrepair. The staff couldn't take it anymore so they just stopped work and refused to do so until they were relocated. This has been so since 2005 and has remained closed. The literacy of the islands' children is at stake. They have relocated to another building while the historic gift is sitting waiting to be repaired. Sorry about the rant but I just couldn't help it!
    I will be posting more on my island. Hugs to you ***

    Stephanie old buildings are the evidence of our past. Without them written history seems more like a fairy tale. Have a great day too!

    Lotusleaf I had spent so many happy hours reading those books and I thought that my daughter would be the same. I was wrong about that......lol. She liked the usual fairy tales until the age of six then I introduced her Enid Blyton. Then I made the mistake and bought some Asterix and Obelix, she still loves to them to this day (I do too). As she got older I tried with the Nancy Drew and Chalet school, but she preferred the babysitters club so I had to leave her to allow her to develop her own taste.

  7. Helen,
    I found it interesting that Andrew Carnegie gifted the building. He was one rich guy. Last year we visited the property he built for his family on Cumberland Island, Ga. He must have also been VERY generous. Nice to know. Here’s a link to his mansion on Cumberland Island. It was an amazing set-up.
    Go ahead and rant... shame on the government for running things in the ground.

  8. Thanks Meems, you know our Library is as old as the Libraries he donated in The USA. I was reading about him on the link you sent me and I had a good laugh when he built a lake at Princeton for the students to take up rowing. At the opening ceremony, Carnegie told grumbling undergraduates that he hoped the lake would replace the football field as the center of Princeton's athletic attentions: "I have never seen a football game, but I have glanced at pictures of such games, and to me the spectacle of educated young men rolling over one another in the dirt was-well, not gentlemanly."


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