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NEWSLETTER September 2012

Dear Members and Friends,

September (the start of the academic and historical year) is here again and the museum is open.
Already we have a full schedule of events for the year.

NEXT TALK: Thursday 27th September 6 pm – Marion Bethel on Women’s Suffrage

POSTPONED: Due to the electrical power outage we had to postpone Marion Bethel’s presentation of 27th September. The new date will be: Thursday 25th October at 6pm – Women’s Suffrage in The Bahamas by Marion Bethel.

Marion Bethel was born and lives in Nassau, The Bahamas. She read law at Cambridge University, Cambridge, England and has worked as an attorney since 1986. Marion was awarded a James Michener Fellowship by the Caribbean Writers Summer Institute in the Department of English of the University of Miami, Florida in July 1991 and the Casa de las Americas Prize for a volume of poetry called Guanahani, My Love which was published in a bilingual edition (Spanish/English) in 1995. She is completing a documentary on the women’s suffrage movement in the Bahamas and will show a short preview of the film which is due to be shown at BIFF.

Shakespeare in Paradise October 5th to October 13th 2012. One play will feature at the BHS museum. "Speak the Speech" is a new work created by Philip A. Burrows and compiled by Nicolette Bethel. Research for this work comes mostly from the College of The Bahamas with help from Stephen Aranha, Christopher Curry, Clifford Rahming, Michael Stevenson, Nicolette Bethel and her students. Other research help comes from Reva Cartwright-Carroll, Dr. Gail Saunders and Philip A. Burrows. This production will consist of a series of speeches and correspondences from the landfall of Christopher Columbus to the present day Bahamas. Toni Francis, Nicolette Bethel and Philip A. Burrows will handle the staging for this work. Appropriately, this production will take place at The Bahamas Historical Society Museum and performance dates will be the 8th, 10th, 11th and 13th at 8:00pm. Tickets for Shakespeare in Paradise productions are $25. We also offer discount ticket rates for students, seniors and groups. We believe that the best deal is our Season Ticket that gives you the opportunity to see all five productions with a savings of $25. The Box Office for Shakespeare in Paradise will open on September 17th at the Dundas Centre and will run Monday thru Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm until October 13th, the closing day of the festival. If you have questions about advance bookings please feel free to contact us at 431-7197. A full calendar for the festival will be posted online soon and there will also be further information added to our website as we move closer to opening, so please check shakespeaereinparadise.org and also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Some time in October/November we will launch the book “The History of The Bahamas in Pictures”

Thursday 25th October at 6pm – Anne Lawlor will present “Creolizing Tempos in Bahamian History”

Sunday 18th November concert by Nassau Chamber Ensemble (tentative)

Early December Christmas Social and booksale.

Thursday 31st January at 6pm – William Whobrey ‘The background to the Cloisters Paradise Island’

February: Neil Sealey will talk on old Bahamian books

Thursday 14th March 6pm - Claire Simpson on Neville’s Island (Chamberlain’s sisal in Andros)

We can be proud of a Bahamian Inventor. A member of the Bahamas Historical Society, Mr. Moses F. Daxon, has been honored for his recent Pateneted Invention. He received a gold medal for inventors, at an Inventors Fair. Mr Daxon has a Patent for "The Boxing Ring Corner Mat."


Ron Lightbourn sent me this mystery picture then solved it!

I am now certain that the house behind (to the east of) the tennis court is Glenwood, originally the home of Chas. E. Bethell, then later Mrs. A W Erickson. It was on East Hill Street, at the top of the Frederick Street Steps. The house to the left is 'Hill Crest', the Moseley home where Edwin Chas. Moseley produced the Guardian for many years. It was adjacent to the top of the Frederick Street. A picture of both houses can be seen in Reminiscing I, pg.7.

The tennis court became the eastern yard of the Kirk's Manse, built in 1894.


Satisfying our historical curiousity:

My daughter Vikki sent me this image of the house Buen Retiro (I am speculating tha the area of Buen Retiro off Shirley Street was an estate belonging to The Hon John Cooke).

I have been looking for this image for a long time after finding the following letters some years ago in A SHORT HISTORY OF ST. MATTHEW'S CHURCH On the occasion of the Church's 180 Anniversary By C. SEIGHBERT RUSSELL:

On November 8th, 1850 The following letter from th HON. JOHN COOKE was laid before the Vestry:

Sir,

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday acquainting me that the Vestry of St. Matthew's Parish have received the sanction of His Excellency the Governor in Council to hire the premises "BUEN RETIRO" as a Rectory for a period of two years commencing from the 6th of June of the pre­sent year and at an annual rental of 52 pounds per annum. To prevent any mis­understandings hereafter I deem it proper and to repeat that the Vestry are only entitled to the use of the dwelling-house and kitchen, stable, stone water closet, lawn and garden, RESERVING TO MYSELF the use of the stone build­ing situated at the north-east corner of the western orchard, all the orchards, and their enclosed grounds contiguous thereto and all the enclosed land. I also stated at the time of offering the premises to the Vestry, I was not to be called upon for any repairs or alterations, nor would I consent to the latter during this period, and moreover that goats and sheep, animals very harmful amongst fruit trees must not be allowed to roam at large on the said premises.

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant, JOHN F. COOKE

On June 29th, 1852 the following letter from the Hon. John F. Cooke was laid before the Vestry.

Gentlemen,

After I had received the keys of "BUEN RETIRO" yesterday I went and inspected the premises which I regret to say I found in a very damaged condi­tion, owing, as it would appear, to the wilful negligence of the late occupant or persons employed under him. Serious injury has also been done to the orchards and the garden by the Rev. Mr. Gray's goats; and some of the servants' rooms I found in a most filthy condition, apparently as having been used as pens for their very noxious animals. A few things are missing which I suppose may be accounted for. All I would now ask is that you will have the premises put in the same condition as they were when Mr. Gray took possession. A demand, which I hope, will not be considered at all unreasonable under all the circumstances.

I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, JOHN F. COOKE

The following letter was received by the Vestry on March 28th, 1854.

Gentlemen,

The Rev. Mr. Chambers having made application to rent my premises known as "Shooters Hill" immediately opposite St. Matthew's Church - the fol­lowing are the terms on which I will agree to rent the same-say 62:10:0 per annum payable quarterly - three months notice required before the premises can be given up. No fruit trees to be cut down or fences or walls to be removed or other damage done to the premises more than the usual wear and tear.

I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
Your Obedient Servant,
FRANCES FERGUSON


P.S. I promise to paint the dwelling house and put it in tenable order and keep the premises in tenable repairs during the term of rental.
Signed W.R. Butler For FRANCES FERGUSON

On November 28th, 1856 the Vestry wrote to H.F. Butler, Agent for Mrs. Frances Ferguson stating that they intended to give up "Shooters Hill" as a Rectory at the expiration of the year ending May 1857. So we have a written description of some of the land opposite St Matthew’s Anglican Church. It would be nice to see a map of that time.

Kind regards,

Jim Lawlor, President

 

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