News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda, June 11, 2021 – CURB is disturbed to hear of the plans to demolish one of the last unique pieces of Black Bermudian architecture, culture and history, Wantley House on Princess Street, Hamilton.
This beautiful building, recognized as one of the finest buildings in Hamilton, with a fascinating history, is owned by the Bermuda Housing Corporation. Built by African Bermudian craftsmen in the 19th century, Wantley is of significant architectural, cultural and social importance to African Bermudian life in the 19th and 20th centuries and should be saved for the long-term enjoyment and appreciation by the people of Bermuda.
That the house has been sadly neglected for some time, demonstrates again the failure to understand the importance of preserving our heritage and the need to consult with the community before such dire actions are taken.
This important and historical site of memory important to African Bermudians must not experience the same the same fate as the bulldozing of the Tucker’s Town Free Black Cemetery; or the extensive renovations of Lane School on East Broadway, which now no longer bears any resemblance to the historic tiny chapel and Black school built immediately after Emancipation.
CURB plans to collaborate and work with groups and organizations to do the work necessary to save this important building, which is a testament to Bermudian artistry and craftmanship, in order to create an empowering site of memory and center of learning for the people of Bermuda.
We believe the Bermuda Housing Corporation may be open to suggestions for restoration of the site and have already been in touch with them to hopefully meet.
We are grateful to the advocacy of Maxine Esdaille who has alerted the community to its imminent destruction and for her outreach to the Bermuda National Trust Preservation Officer who is following up.
We urge the public to express their concern and hope for this important site of memory by emailing the Bermuda Housing Corporation email@example.com or email CURB at firstname.lastname@example.org.