The following was posted by Dr. Karl Watson on his Facebook Page. BU crafted the title of the post.
This is the oldest building in Bridgetown…c.1650. As you can see, it is Dutch inspired and would look quite in place in Amsterdam or Willemstad. It was one of the linchpins of our World Heritage application/dossier. Because it is a metaphor for Dutch/English commercial conflict and the subsequent emergence of the English/British dominated North Atlantic system, it deserves iconic status. It stands as a tangible/monumental beacon, explaining why it was that the first of a series of Navigation Acts was passed by the English Parliament…directed largely against the relative free trade which Barbados was enjoying with Holland. Within the context of British economic history/the trading arrangements of the British Empire, it is possibly the most important building in the English speaking Caribbean…a lonely survivor from the seventeenth century, having survived the many fires which devastated Bridgetown.
It has just changed hands and this picture and one to follow show some “renovation” work being done. My brother took this on Sunday gone. If you zoom in, you will see that the Dutch curvilinear gable is being filled in with wet cement. One of the quoins (those white bricks on the side of the building) has been irreparably damaged. You can see a mason on the scaffolding cutting away a parapet…this fell block by block as we watched and pleaded with the workers and owner that what was being done was contrary to the ideals of authenticity and integrity which inform/govern the World Heritage listing. Such work actually puts our recent World Heritage listing in jeopardy. Mine is a lonely voice crying in the wilderness. If you respect and understand these monumental relics of our past…if you can see through the neglect and garbage to what Bridgetown has the capacity to attain, because all is not lost…then talk about it…repost this…call in the radio programmes, write to the press….individuals pleading for sanity by themselves have their voices drowned out or are seen as mere evidence of some strange eccentricity. Many people shouting with the same voice are heard and are listened too…action will follow when the public demands it.