News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – A revered City landmark is about to get a new lease on life. The Victoria Park bandstand will undergo a significant paint job this month – it’s first major facelift since extensive restoration works were carried out in 2007.
The work will start this week and take approximately seven weeks to complete, during which time the park will remain open. The bandstand was erected in 1889 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and is the only remaining example of this type of bandstand left in the world.
In 2007, it was dismantled and sent back to Scotland for a full restoration, with the support of Butterfield Bank, and reinstalled in 2009 complete with a time capsule embedded in one of its columns, to be opened in 2109.
Former City Engineer Ian Hind oversaw the renovation work at the time and said: “Repairs had been done over the decades, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the major repair work was undertaken. We engaged industry experts from Scotland to provide a conservation assessment prior to the works being carried out.”
The visual inspection of the bandstand in 2007 found that there was significant corrosion and damage to the structure. A number of samples were taken from the bandstand and examined under a microscope. Inspectors noted in their report that this was the first bandstand they had ever seen with a corrugated iron roof; many bandstands of this period had a zinc roof.
Interestingly, the inspectors also discovered, upon close examination, that the internal roof structure still retained its prefabrication marks which had been painted on it in Glasgow over 100 years ago.
The jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887 was the driver for the Corporation of Hamilton to establish a designed landscape and formal park with the bandstand as its central feature.
Mayor Thomas FJ Tucker thought the erection of such a bandstand would act as a suitable tribute to the Queen and also be a way to bring the local population and military closer together through concerts.
A range of designs for the bandstand were obtained by the Corporation of Hamilton. In the autumn of 1887 Mr. Alex Pratt, Clerk of Works at Trinity Church, made a visit to Glasgow at the request of Mayor Tucker whilst on holiday in Scotland. A bandstand design from the firm of George Smith and Co, Sun Foundry was unanimously agreed upon and an order placed early in 1888. George Smith and Company, located in Glasgow, was one of the foremost architectural iron foundries in the world at the time.
Works were completed in November 1888 and the bandstand was shipped [in pieces] from London on the Steamer SS Eagle to Bermuda. It landed in Hamilton in December 1888 and consisted of: 8 columns, 18 beams, 1 rod, 6 bundles, 1 ring and 29 cases.
Mr. Hind said: “What is particularly notable is that the structure was prefabricated and shipped to Bermuda without the supply of skilled labour to erect it. It was not unusual for the large firms to ship such a structure complete with specialized staff to complete the project. This either indicates a level of skill by the Bermudians or a degree of financial prudence.”