BHS logo Welcome to the Bahamas Historical Society
Home
News & Events
People
Museum
Publications
Library
Research Aids
Membership
Contact
Show Your Support
Bahamas DNA Project

NEWSLETTER November 2010

The Bahamas Historical Society in conjunction with Mr Craig Mortimer of the Ministry of Tourism will host a talk by Christopher Eve on

Thursday, 11th November at 6pm:

Loyalist Joseph Eve, Inventor and Architect

Christopher Eve, 98, along with his wife, Frances Eve-DeLargo; sister, Mary Eve Smith; and niece, Molly Montes, is celebrating his 99th birthday by going on an ancestral journey, and one of his stops will be the Bahamas to celebrate his birthday in November and 12 years of marriage. Frances wanted to make it an ancestral trip by visiting the sites visited by his great-great-grandfather Joseph Eve, an architect, inventor and engineer.

They will be in Nassau from the 8th to the 14th of November 2010. Mr. and Mrs. Eve have done extensive research on their family history, pre-dating the American Revolutionary War.

Extract and diagram below from Homeward Bound by Sandra Riley.


Thursday 2nd December:

“Excavations at the Farquarson Plantation, San Salvador” by Dr Jane Baxter.

We are planning to have a Bahamian Book Christmas sale at 6 pm and provide light refreshments before the talk.
The books will be sold at a price that will save you money!

St Matthew’s Anglican Church (photo and text from Historic Nassau by Dr Gail Saunders and Donald Cartwright)

The eastern church 'so called because it is a little beyond the skirts of the East extremity of the town ... is a neat building of stone built with a spire - the ceilings and the large columns which support them being white washed very clean, appeared very pretty'.

This was a description given by the visiting physician of St Matthew's in 1823. Built between 1800 and 1802 by a Loyalist, Joseph Eve, it is the oldest church building in the Bahamas. The plan is a simple rectangle with nave and aisles under one roof, although from within they appear as three barrel vaults. At the west end of the church, there is an octagonal tower and steeple, the latter erected in 1816, in the base of which is the baptistry and west door.

The architecture is a strange mixture of neo-classical forms with gothic proportions. The interior is dominated by the very large Corinthian columns which support the roof. Decorative details such as the 'egg and dart' mouldings are consistent with this classical order.
Windows and doors are of gothic proportions, although they have classical, semi-circular transoms.

It was enlarged in 1887 when a new chancel, organ chamber and vestry room was added. The original stained glass window was erected in memory of Bishop Venables (1863-1876), the second Bishop of Nassau.

I just thought I would share with you some thoughts on Remembrance Day:

Living Memory

Remembrance Day has particular interest this year because it is in a sense the first new day of ‘living memory’. Living memory in the culture of the Ancient Greeks was seventy years, the limit of past knowledge. Similarly the West African had a language that distinguished between sasa, the realm of the here and now and zamani, the realm of the ancestors and spirits, going back the biblical three score and ten years. Remembrance Day reminds us that we are celebrating the sacrifice of our ancestors during World Wars 1 and 2. During World War 2 seventeen men left the Bahamas to work in the munitions factories in Great Britain. Between two and three hundred Bahamians, men and women, served in the armed forces of Britain, Canada and USA. Fourteen men lost their lives in active service. And of course since then many veterans have died of war wounds or natural causes. I found this poem in the Bahamas Historical Society Museum that is a dedication to Bahamian Airmen and their part in the Second World War.


Fighter plane flown by Bahamian Pilots

One such pilot was Lester Brown:

Tribune 2nd October 1944 – Men of the Future: Squadron Leader Lester Brown arrived in Nassau this week to be an instructor at the RAF Base.

Brown was one of the first to volunteer in 1940. His active service has mainly been in the Middle East and he has more than a 100 raids on his score card. Congratulates his family on his safe return and with such an incredible record of service and rapid promotion behind him.


Men of the RAF training at Windsor Field

But the Bahamas also played a role in training men for the war theatre as this paragraph from Islanders in the Stream by Michael Craton and Gail Saunders: To the small garrison of Cameron Highlanders (later superseded by Pictou Highlanders from Canada) and army engineers and other servicemen manning the US bases, three thousand personnel were added by the end of 1942 to man the Operational Training Unit (OTU) stationed at Oakes Field and the 113th Wing Transport Command unit based at the Satellite (Windsor) Field. Somewhat later, once the Florida Strait and other Bahamian channels were regularly prowled by German U-boats, Windsor Field became the base for two squadrons of antisubmarine patrol planes. At the Oakes Field OTU, some five thousand pilots already qualified for single-engined planes were trained to fly twin-engined Mitchells and four-engined Liberators, along with about six hundred bomber crews-another five thousand men - while untold further thousands of airmen passed through New Providence in ferrying aircraft from American factories to North African and European war theaters, by way of South America.

All these sacrifices were in the service to humanity. The poppy is the symbol of our appreciation of the courage and suffering of those ancestors, who sacrificed their life in both world wars. There are many more stories that can be told about the Bahamas during World War 2 - a period just on the edge of living memory.


Dame Marguerite Pindling gave a gracious and interesting talk last Thursday 28th October. Here are the youtube links for Dame Marguerite's presentation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjOhYy3ohg4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-7vE4JoPxo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY96UtVKN7I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTcSjvITlCs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZD_vGSvVWY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM3Cb0_fycw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmSm8K1bkBY


We have a new artefact on show in the museum. John Ansell kindly retrieved the finial ball crown of the roof of the Isolation Hospital on Athol Island and gave it to us to show.

The following information about the Quarantine Station is an excerpt form Colin Brooker’s artice "The Quarantine Station at Athol Island, New Providence" in the 2005 Journal of the Bahamas Historical Society.

The Quarantine Station

Despite legislation passed in 1845 requiring quarantine for ships coming from places "where any contagion or malignancy exists" Nassau was still without an official quarantine station ten years later when the brigantine Marietta from New York was brought into port "on account of having three of her crew sick with small pox." To head off similar threats posed by vessels carrying smallpox, yellow fever or other infectious diseases, Thomas Chapman Harvey, C.E. (Out-Island Civil Engineer, later Chief Civil Engineer of the Colony)" acting upon instructions from Sir Alexander Bannerman (Governor, 1854-57) visited Athol Island during the following year to assess its suitability as a permanent Quarantine Station. On October 5, 1855 he reported:

Athol Island appears to be peculiarly desirable locality for such a purpose as Your Excellency has in contemplation, the island being dry, free from swamps and rising in one part to a height of 30 feet above the level of the sea, would naturally lead to the conclusion, that it must be a healthy situation ...
The spot that I would recommend as the site for the proposed Hospital, is nearly the highest point of land on the island, about half a mile from the west end. Not very far from this point is a well of excellent water, and another might be dig just at the foot of the hill.

Subsequently, Athol Island was purchased by the government, legislation receiving final passage on 7 March, 1856. Shortly thereafter (August 26, 1856), Harvey submitted drawings and cost estimates for the Quarantine Station which was to include a series of buildings strung out linear fashion along the crest of high ground located toward the island's western end. His schematic site plan shows two large octagonal buildings (each labeled "hospital") distanced about 100 feet apart, with an octagonal tank or cistern positioned between them. The same drawing illustrates another building group (erected to the east) consisting of an Officer's House (also octagonal) flanked right and left by paired structures of similar form labeled "kitchen" and "wash house" respectively. Construction costs were estimated at £1,007.0.0. this figure including erection of the two hospitals (each £374); officer's [Keeper's] dwelling (£147); kitchen (£60); and wash house (£52).Harvey explains that he "decided on adopting the plan of detached octagonal buildings, after duly considering various other styles of building with reference to their adaptation to a hot climate and the peculiar requirements of a quarantine station."

Fallen and disassocrated elements ot the roof frame found in 2004 follow specifications for re-roofing the Main Hospital drafted by the Board of Works in 1883 (Department of Archives, Nassau) which read: "Roof building with a sound yellow pine roof Hip or angle rafters to be 6 by 3 inches, with heels well bolted to plates and upper ends framed by mortise and tenoned into ten inch diameter turned hardwood ball of such shape and size as may be directed- and further secured by a 192 by 3/8 flat iron by passing around such ball. Regarding the roof covering, the contractor was instructed to: "Close board roof with inch of pine ... one side with beveled edges and well nailed to rafters with [no) 10 nails, and then shingle with the best 22 inch Cypress shingles, laid to a five inch gauge, two nails to each shingle." Nothing remains in situ but we did discover the ball finial crowning the roof to survive intact beneath masses off alien debris.

Kind regards,

Jim Lawlor,
President.

Current Newsletter

Archived Newsletters

2012

October
September
July
May
April
March
February
January

2011

December
November
October
September
May
April
March
February
January

2010

December
November
October
September
May
April
March
February
January

2009

December
November
October
September
August
July
May
February

2008

December
November
October
September
June
May
April
February

2007

November
October
August/September
June
May
April
February
January

2006

November/December
October
September
May/June
April
March
February
January

2005

November/December
October
July
June
May