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NEWSLETTER April 2011

Dear Members and Friends,

It is that time of year again. The Annual General Meeting of the Bahamas Historical Society will take place at the museum Thursday 14th April at 6pm – The reports of the last year will be read and election of Officers will take place.

And of course it marks the start of the new financial year and membership fees are due. Thank you if you have already paid for 2011/12. Please note that we only send the yearly journal to paid up members.


The sharing of a meal together has been a mark of the great civilized societies through time. For example Plato wrote of the Symposium, a love feast and Christians share bread and wine reminiscent of the Last Supper.

The yearly Bahamas Historical Society Lunch Fashion Show does not pretend to rise to those heights but it is an enjoyable fun day where members and their friends get together and have excellent food and a good gossip plus there is the excitement of winning door or raffle prizes.

The details of the day are:

Bahamas Historical Society
Buffet lunch/Fashion Show
Nassau Yacht Club
Thursday 5th May 2011 at 12.30 pm
Donation $60
Tickets: Clarice Granger 362-4600 or cgranger@templeton.com


Paul Aranha sent this interesting snippet which he titled: “The Man has spoken”


Paul Albury (from "Paul Albury: The Man and his Writings" by Jim Lawlor – still not published)

In August 1921, the largest Bahamian built four masted sailing schooner the Marie J Thompson slid down the slipway into the harbour of Harbour Island. As the band played stirring music to herald that event, Ma Lolly Albury, watching from under the shade of the fig tree, felt that joyous stirring in her womb that announced the impending birth of her fourth son - Edwin Paul Albury was born on the 13th March 1922.

Although moving to Nassau at the age of fifteen, Paul never forgot his precious upbringing in Harbour Island in the midst of a loving family, relatives and neighbours, who looked out for each other in times of hardship and rejoiced at family occasions. The community was made up mainly of hardy seafaring men and their industrious wives, who ran their homes. They were typical examples of the protestant work ethic with strong moral values that St Paul calls ‘the fruits of the spirit’.

Paul carried these ‘fruits of the spirit’ to school at Queen’s College, Nassau, Her Majesty’s Royal Canadian Navy and at McGill University, where through self-discipline and hard work he qualified as a dentist. He settled back in Nassau, setting up his dental practice, raising a family and finding the time to serve his country as Head of the Dental Association, Founding member and President of Nassau East Rotary Club, President of St Andrew’s School Board, Commodore of the Nassau Yacht Club, Senator in the Legislative Council and as he is best remembered – as President of the Bahamas Historical Society, of which he was a founder member.

In his beautiful eulogy on the death of his friend in 1987, Sir Geoffrey Johnstone wrote about Paul’s love of Harbour Island:

Harbour Island. It never got out of his system. When he could afford it, he bought as his summer residence "The Bat­tery", perched on a rise overlooking the harbour and the Eleuthera commonage to the west. His face would become wreathed in smiles at the mere mention of its name. Every August it became his retreat for the entire month. It was the wellspring of his labour, the subtle alchemist that could transmute life's leaden metal into gold. There he could return to his roots. From this spot, he could go "haulin" with Robbie and his kinsmen and his friends in the long boat. Here he held court and rejoiced in the company of old friends. From this place he could see the boats come and go. And as the heat of the summer's day subsided, he could watch the incandescent beauty of a Bahamian sunset stain­ing the waters of the harbour with its crimson hue. This place gave a man space to breathe, time to think. Time to think about the meaning of life. About eternity. About the richness of God's grace and the boundless measure of His love[1].

The subtle alchemist in his lifetime wrote two books, many articles and speeches that were published but at his death he left many nuggets of gold unpublished and some unfinished.

This is Paul’s description of the inaugural meeting of Bahamas historical Society in 1959:

The inaugural meeting of the Bahamas Historical Society is still fresh in my memory. It was the sort of gather­ing which is not easily forgotten, because of the general excitement, the great throng which was anxious to be enrolled as charter members and the prominent and cap­able men and women who were to lead the organization. Lady Arthur must have experienced the most exquisite feelings of satisfaction, for it was she who had undertaken the task of launching the Society into the cultural arena of Bahamian life.

We would appreciate your support as the donations go toward the maintenance of the museum which is badly in need of an extreme make-over.

Reminders: Thursday 7th April at 6pm. Dion Hanna - Land and Freedom: One Bahamas and a Tale of Two Cities.
All talks at our museum corner of Shirley Street and Elizabeth Avenue Parking at the ex Psilinakis carpark north of the museum on Elizabeth Ave. Entrance via First Caribbean Bank on Shirley Street.

The Annual General Meeting of the Bahamas Historical Society will take place at the museum Thursday 14th April at 6pm

AND Membership fees are due in April......If you cannot attend the luncheon please add a few dollars to your fees to support the cost of maintenance.


Mrs Karen Cargill of Kerzner International asked if we had any information on the little chapel on Club Med grounds on Paradise (Hog) Island. She sent the pictures below:

Charles Stronach who worked on Club Med told me it was built by the Killams of Grey Leath and that it was French. I met Mrs Clap (a former teacher of English at Queen’s College with Roger Kelty) at the airport and she also said that the stones came over when Huntington Hartford built the Cloisters.
I researched the following about it and Anne and I will write something in the upcoming 2nd update of the Paradise Island Story.
What is going to happen on the Club Med property?…Barrie Farrington says it is not decided yet.

Research So Far:
Izaak Walton Killam (July 23, 1885 – August 5, 1955) was one of Canada’s most eminent financiers. Born in Yarmouth Nova Scotia, Killam rose from paper boy in Yarmouth to become one of Canada's wealthiest individuals.

After prohibition Graycliff was the private residence of Canadians Mr. & Mrs. I. Walton Killiam. They summered in Montreal and wintered in Nassau. They completely renovated the mansion and built the swimming pool and tropical gardens next to the pool cottage. After her husband’s death Mrs. Killam stayed on at Graycliff until her death in 1964.
Was Gray Leath Paradise island built by the Killams in the 1930s along with the French Chapel (was it the same stones as the cloisters?)….The pool of Grey Leath was used to film the shark scene in the James Bond movie Thunderball.

Scott Campbell, executive chef of Vince & Eddie's and Fishin Eddie, believes so strongly in the curative and health-promoting properties of garlic that for the past six years he has had a Garlic Festival in August at Vince & Eddie's in New York, creating special recipes for the event.

Taking this garlic interest a step further -- from August 23-30, Chef Scott will test the superstition that garlic keeps ghosts away during his visit as part of Club Med's "Finer Things in Life" celebration at Club Med Paradise Island, Bahamas.

The ghost in question is millionairess Mrs. Killam, the former owner of one of the three elegant estates (Killiam, Mcclory and Sam Clap) that make up the 23-acre Club Med property. Locals have confirmed sightings of Mrs. Killam's ghost floating in the luxuriant estate gardens and the million-dollar swimming pool at Greyleath.

To keep Club Med's ghost away, Chef Scott will demonstrate and provide samplings of a variety of unusual and tasty garlic specialties around the same swimming pool and manor house during a week of epicurean events. Featured recipes include: Garlic Ice Cream; Mexican Scallop Ceviche ce·vi·che or se·vi·che
n.
Raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice with olive oil and spices and served as an appetizer.

[American Spanish, from Spanish cebiche, fish stew, from with Sweet Garlic and Cilantro; Garlic and Scallop Flan with Lobster Tarragon Sauce; and Roasted Garlic.

On Hog Island is the Porcupine Club, for swanky and exclusive food, drink and bathing. Nearby is also the home of Nassau's greatest dowager, Lady Williams Taylor
1913 Porcupine Club, an elite club for the "very rich," opens on Hog Island. Members would include Andrew Mellon, J.P. Morgan, Howard Hughes and Vincent Astor.

The Cloisters (Excerpt from “The Paradise Island Story” by Paul Albury and updated by Anne and Jim Lawlor
The gardens (at Shangri-la now Ocean Club) are indeed a scene of singular attraction and timeless beauty. Across the roadway from the gardens and up a flight of stone steps stands an interesting structure on the very crest of the hill. This is The Cloister, an edifice of great interest to visitors. A fourteenth-century Augustinian cloister, this structure was purchased in France a number of years ago by the American newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, who had it taken down and brought to Florida where the pieces remained in crates. The lot was subsequently purchased by Hartford who employed J J Castreman, an expert in the recreation of stone structures, to reassemble the cloister on Paradise Island.
To Castreman's astonishment there was not a single written clue as to how the stones were to be put together. Consequently, the reconstruction took a full year. It is a roofless structure with multi-columned sides and many arches which lend grace and beauty to the austere interior. In the centre of The Cloister stands a white marble statue of a meditating madonna. In its original time and place, the cloister had a fountain in the centre, round which monks walked while engaged in prayer. We are unable to say how many people go there to pray or meditate today, but a large number of bridal parties look on The Cloister as a romantic background for the taking of wedding pictures.

Down the other side of the hill, looking across the harbour and on to Nassau is a small Greek gazebo which once stood in the garden of Shangri - La. Hartford had it moved to its present commanding position. It is called a love temple with rounded seats for those who like just to sit and think about the days gone by and the inscrutable future which lies ahead."

Any further information would be appreciated

Kind regards,

Jim Lawlor,
President.

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