Bermuda Dockyard Campaigns
Since 2012, when the Naval Dockyards Society visited Bermuda for a Conference and Tour (Dockyards, November 2012, 17/2), the Committee has been campaigning with other Bermuda organisations to improve the state of historic buildings in Bermuda Dockyard.
We are indebted to the generosity of NDS members Brian Hyde and Roger Bendall who have shared their vast collections of photographs arising from their lifelong association with the dockyard.
Brian’s father George Hyde was a Chatham Dockyard ship fitter sent out to Bermuda Dockyard in June 1939 with war on the horizon, first as a ship fitter and then as a chargeman of ship fitters, managing the Shipfitters Shop. Brian was born there in March 1941, living in a variety of addresses: East Lynne near Watford Bridge Somerset, Clock Block in Boaz and Marine Terrace at Lodge Point. As well as memories of school, play and work scenes, Brian also provides many images of the buildings, which are an invaluable record of buildings lost.
More recently the diligent research and collection of Roger Bendall and his family are being published through his Facebook group ‘Bermuda Dockyard community during the Second World war and the postwar years’
Roger’s father Alfred William (Bill) Bendall was posted to Bermuda as a shipwright in 1936, returning to the UK in 1950. Roger’s uncle Gordon Grant was posted to Bermuda Victualling Yard in 1941, returning in 1944. Roger was born in in Albert Row in Bermuda Dockyard in 1943.
Both Brian and Roger have made their collections available to the National Museum of Bermuda, whose previous executive director, Dr Edward Harris, worked tirelessly from the 1970s–2017 to save many Dockyard buildings (Royal Gazette, ‘The guardian of Bermuda’s heritage’, Oct 24, 2017, http://www.royalgazette.com/editorials/article/20171024/guardian-of-bermudas-heritage).
The National Museum of Bermuda (https://nmb.bm/), director Dr Elena Strong, continues to support Dockyard heritage through exhibitions and articles in its journal Maritimes.
Bermuda National Trust (https://www.bnt.bm/) has also been active in sustaining dockyard heritage through publications such as Bermuda’s Architectural Heritage – SANDYS, Volume 3 of the Historic Buildings Book Project of 1999 (ISBN 0-9693939-6-2) and creating an at-risk list of historic buildings across the island. In 2019 it provided details of the at-risk buildings under the jurisdiction of Government bodies and their quangos which require immediate action to be saved.
Finally, Bermuda’s Royal Gazette has been and continues to be very effective in raising awareness of issues raised by the NDS, as article references demonstrate.
Further relevant Facebook groups are ‘Bermuda Dockyard. Family life on the island 1936 to 1952’ and ‘Old Bermuda: Our Island, Our History’.
Here are some images and documents which catalogue Bermuda Dockyard’s rich history but also the dispiriting record of the West End Development Corporation’s failure to preserve some of its unique historic buildings.
The record is not all dire. HMS Malabar (Moresby House) and Prince Alfred Terrace (now tourist accommodation) have all been renovated and are in good condition. But the Parsonage and other rows of workers’ housing: Portland Place, Princess Louise Terrace, Clarence Terrace, Victoria Row and Marine Terrace at Lodge Point have all been demolished.
- Ann Coats, ‘Final Act in the Tragedy of Victoria Row, built 1846 in Bermuda Dockyard … demolished 2016. What hope for Bermuda Dockyard’s historic buildings?’ (Dockyards, December 2016, 21/2, pp. 23-27)
- ‘A stitch in time could have saved Victoria Row. A ninth stitch is needed to preserve Albert Row’
Ann Coats to Royal Gazette News Editor Tim Smith and Jonathan Bell Senior Reporter 15 Oct 2019; 17 Oct 2019 to:
Hon. Trevor Moniz JP, MP, formerly Public Works Minister
Hon. Walter Roban, JP, MP, Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs
Lt. Col. The Hon. David Burch, OBE(MIL), ED, JP, MP, Minister of Public Works
Hon. Lovitta Foggo, JP, MP Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports
Wedco Chairman Charlton Dill
Bermuda Department of Planning
- Roger Bendall to Royal Gazette ‘Preserving the story of the heroic men of Albert Row’ 17 Oct 2019 (J. Bell, ‘Call to save historic Albert Row’, Royal Gazette, Oct 17, 2019, http://www.royalgazette.com/news/article/20191017/call-to-save-historic-albert-row)