Georgian Architecture in the Caribbean

by David Webber, guest blogger

(See David’s photo website at www.davidwebberphotography.com)

Architecture, Grenada

Bruce Street, St. Georges, Grenada

There is a commonly held belief in Grenada that, after New Orleans and London, St. Georges has a higher percentage of Georgian architecture than any other city in the world.

Sadly, there does not appear to be any substantiating written proof as over the centuries both man-made and natural disasters have destroyed most of those records which were available.

However…..

Take a walk along Carenage, up Union Street and down to Market Square. Very quickly the wonderful symmetry of Georgian design starts catching the eye everywhere you glance. A great many are in a sad state of repair; ravaged by fire, hurricane and flood, followed by neglect, then cannibalised to attempt repair of other buildings or patched with whatever local materials might be available.

Grenada’s belligerent history between French and British claims to the island caused further destruction.

The fact that one could browse a “catalogue” of designs and use whatever experience was locally available to recreate a particular design helped the explosion of building activities following the establishment of St. Georges on its current site in 1705.

The bricks and fishtail tiles used as building materials came as ballast on the incoming trading vessels. Not of the best quality, but nevertheless still extant and visible after some two hundred years.

Notice the very white mortar created from the lime used during the boiling of cane juice.

Inevitably it was the wealthy working middle class who were the motivating force creating new building in St. Georges. Trade was carried out on the ground floor with living accommodation on the floors above. A number also have large cellars, some of which, especially in Melville Street, used to have tunnels leading direct to the waterfront.

The current market square was established in 1790, prior to that it was used by the military for parades and exercises and consequently a place to see and be seen and to encourage the traders to flaunt their new found wealth with embellishments of fancy lacy iron work around first floor balconies. Some still exist.

 

Georgian Caribbean Architecture, Market Hill, St. Georges, Grenada

Market Hill

Caribbean Architecture, Carenage, St. Georges, Grenada

Carenage

Caribbean Architecture, Public Library, St. Georges, Grenada

Public Library

Caribbean Architecture, Fish Tail Tiles, St. Georges, Grenada

Fish Tail Tiles

Caribbean Architecture, Balcony Supports, St. Georges, Grenada

Balcony Supports

Caribbean Architecture, Balcony, St. Georges, Grenada

Balcony

Questions or Suggestions?