Tag Archives: History

How Bridgetown built the economic foundation of the British Empire – only to be discarded when the profits were gone.

Barbados_Slave_License2.jpg

Slavery Reparations have never interested me because I know that whatever we receive will never be enough for the victims class, and that anything we do receive will be stolen by the political class. No reparations will ever touch my hand. No amount of reparations will provide a steady flow of clean water from my pipes or establish a modern sustainable economy.

Britain could pay us 10 billion pounds and not one new hospital bed or surgery will appear at that slum we call the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – or anywhere else. A trillion pounds will not erase the arrogance of government employees towards citizens, nor will it cure the ‘Island Time’ syndrome that makes foreign business investors run like mad from the Caribbean once they get over the rum, sun and sand.

Barbados is incapable of receiving and delivering reparations honestly and effectively for the general good.

Whose fault is that? I’m not sure, but I do know that at one time Barbados was the driving economic force and secure military base that built and maintained the British Empire.

Whatever Tristram Hunt has written in his new book Ten Cities that Made an Empire, he’s probably 50% correct and 50% nonsense. After all this time, who can say?

But I look forward to the read.

Cliverton

Ten Cities that Made an Empire by Tristram Hunt, review: ‘enthralling and compelling’

A fascinating account of 10 cities that were shaped by, and helped shape, British rule

Bridgetown, Barbados has always held a particular appeal for the British. The legacy of empire is all too apparent, and is, indeed, exploited for tourists. The series of historical attractions based on Plantation House present, as Tristram Hunt writes, “a sepia version of the colonial past”. Nostalgia for cricket, rum cocktails and the old plantation lifestyle trumps the blood-drenched history of slavery on the island. Bridgetown is a modern city, but the colonial memory continues to reverberate.  Continue reading

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Time for the Barbados Museum to stop hoarding! Must become an active worldwide promoter of Barbados History… and of Historical Tourism

Barbados Museum

Barbados Museum & Historical Society suffers from a Hoarding Mentality

Submitted by BMHS longtime member Sinsten Merriweather (BFP editor: as contrived a name as we’ve every seen!)

The Barbados Museum’s website claims they have a collection over half a million ‘artefacts‘ (yes, that’s how they spell the word to the world online) that “tells the story of the people of Barbados and preserves our history for future generations.”

“Indeed, our history is preserved for future generations because none of the current generation can access it.”

… BFP’s Cliverton

The Museum has photos of precisely 19 of those 500,000 artifacts displayed online, with no explanation, description or provenance attached.

Do you want to know what the Barbados Museum has in inventory that might interest you? Well, don’t look for a list or a working searchable database online – you’ll have to email Mrs. Marcia Griffith and in a few days she might (or might not) get back to you with further clarifications. God forbid that the museum actually put a database online where people can search for topics, historical periods, artifacts and documents that interest them!

Barbados Museum Website

And half the time the existing website (as limited as it is in vision and function) doesn’t work, or maybe sometimes might perhaps work… if, sort of.

Missing: A vision of Telling the History of Barbados to the world

What is the Mission Statement of the Barbados Museum & Historical Society? Your guess is as good as mine and I’ve been a member for over ten years. If I had to guess, I’d say that the mission of the BM&HS is to do whatever the current management, staff and Board desire as their whim without reference to any written mission statement.

It is true that in the last ten, and especially the last five years, the leadership have done some wonderful things with little money. In particular some of the bus tours of the island (not many recently though) awakened a thirst for Bajan history amongst some of the young people.

But…

… the Barbados Museum is falling down disastrously in making history accessible to the people. In this day, that means online – not just certain items displayed in a glass case to those who visit a physical building. The mission statement should be to make Barbados history available to anyone around the world, instantly, and in so doing to encourage people to take an interest in Barbados and to visit our country (and to spend their money while doing so!)

What the Barbados Museum should be   Continue reading

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Graves Of Barbados – Respect and Love For Our Families, Our Friends and Our History… Or NOT!

BFP:

Barbados Cemetery History

More discarded human bones, coffins at Barbados Cemetery

Updated June 18, 2014

Once again it’s time to report on the latest indignities to buried friends and relatives. Every six months we read of another ‘find’ in this churchyard or that: human skulls, coffin parts, bones of the dead still dressed in their burial clothing. The latest is in The Nation: Relative jolted by scene at cemetery.

We’ve destroyed all the historical buildings we can on this rock. Practically nothing remains of our slave history.

Practically nothing remains of the military forts and bases that ringed this island right up to the cold war. Now we destroy our generational history and disrespect our friends and family members. Every person for themselves! Full speed ahead with that new iPhone or Samsung big screen handset! Fancy trucks! Party Party Party!

And cast the bones of the dead on a heap of garbage.

That’s our modern Bajan culture.

Here are BFP’s prior reports on this phenomena…

Originally posted on Barbados Free Press:

UPDATED: October 11, 2012

Six skulls, bones, body parts found in open graveyard pit

With Monday’s discovery of an open pit containing burned skulls, bones and other body parts at the Christ Church Parish Church, our thoughts immediately turned to a previous article by our own Robert.

Sad. So sad. And what does it say about us?

Somebody should lose their job over this, but you know that’s never going to happen.

Here is the current story from the Nation, and then BFP’s original story…

Shocker in Christ Church graveyard

Mourners attending a burial in the Christ Church Parish Church’s cemetery on Monday evening were mortified when they stumbled upon a hole containing burnt skeletal remains.

An upset woman told the MIDWEEK NATION that they were disgusted by the sight in the graveyard.

“I counted at least six skulls and I could see teeth, hair and bones and what appeared to be…

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Was a bribe paid to Town and Country Development Planning Office?

Barbados Historical Building

Were promises made?

by passin thru

bribery.jpgWe know how it is on this rock. How many examples do we have of historical buildings rezoned and torn down before anyone knows? How many examples do we have of land-use changes that are pushed through on a Friday afternoon with no notice, and often in opposition to common sense? One of those ‘unexplained’ land use changes murdered a family, or have we forgotten?

This time another historical was building torn down without notification and in the middle of controversy.

Was someone in the Town and Country Development Planning Office paid off? Was a promise made?

We know how it is on this rock, and my stomach turns every time I see another ‘mistake’ by which somebody profits.

To HELL with them all. My anger is righteous because the rule of law is nothing in this place. If I could only get a green card I would be gone.

Landmark torn down

“We were working with a number of Government agencies to secure this building,”

“The only difficulty we were aware of, in terms of its safety, was its balcony that was overhanging the road. The fact that we got to this stage – that an historic building was demolished without any notification being given to either the National Trust or anyone else – it shows a huge failing in the system,”

The fact the building was delisted by the Town and Country Development Planning Office “for no viable reason for which a building should be delisted” was worrying, but delisting was still of no merit since it was in the World Heritage Site.

“It should have come under consideration. It is a serious matter to demolish one of these buildings,”

… Peter Stevens, Vice President of the Barbados Historical Garrison Consortium Inc. quoted in The Nation

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Amazing Barbados Photo: Blacks, Whites, Asians, Mixed Races Attend Party Together! Actually Enjoy Each Other!

BFP:

Six years ago our friend Light-Skinned-ed Girl declared May to be Mixed Experience History Month. We hope the idea catches on because those of us who are Heinz 57 and/or in mixed-race marriages need to reflect upon our roots once in a while.

If you have to ask “What’s the big deal?”, well, perhaps you need to think about it a little more. There are many more of us than ever before but when we talk with other mixies, the experience is generally the same: neither black nor white, and not really accepted by either race. Here’s a little piece written by Marcus back in October 2006. I miss him…

Originally posted on Barbados Free Press:

graeme-hall-party-2.jpg

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Site Of Astounding Happening!

Yes, folks – we couldn’t believe it ourselves (what with all this talk of that one incident last week between a light-skinned homeowner and a dark-skinned young man – link here) – it is true that several hundred people of all races, colours and religion all met last Saturday at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, and actually enjoyed each other’s company!

The event was the official launch of the proposal to establish the Graeme Hall National Park – but it felt more like a party than a meeting to Shona and Marcus.

One Racial Incident At Party…

There was one very serious racial incident at the party though. For a few minutes around 5pm, the cash bar ran short of cold Banks beer and two men of different races argued over who would get the last cold one.

A Barbados Free…

View original 108 more words

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Political, religious, race-based agendas and fears are destroying our historical records

BFP:

Successive Barbados governments have been talking for at least twenty years about the need to protect our historical places, buildings and written history with laws and actions – and then offering that heritage as part of our tourism.

Yup, they have been talking about it for years. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk – and not much else. Matter a fact, successive governments have chosen a fast buck or neglect every time over spending money to preserve and restore.

So this week was no different when Tourism Minister Richard Sealy said all the right words in front of first conference of Caribbean National Trusts and Preservation Societies. And words are about all that will be done until the next conference.

“Where’s the plan, Minister? Where’s the budget? Where’s the money put aside in your government’s budget for historical preservation?”

Words are all the DLP and BLP governments offer.

Here is an article we first published back in 2010, where our old friend Jim Lynch explains one of the reasons that we never seem to act to preserve our heritage, only talk. Maybe Mr. Sealy might read it…

Originally posted on Barbados Free Press:

Our old friend and retired “Twotter” pilot Jim Lynch loves to preserve Barbados history and is a treasure-trove of information and advice for those seeking to learn about their Caribbean ancestry. He has published some very special books that will occupy you for weeks if you get one in your hands. Two years ago we covered his work in our article Old Barbados Newspapers Are A Treasure Of History.

Today Jim stopped by BFP and left the following comment that we think is worth a few minutes of your time.

Thanks, Jim! (I think the photo is about 25 years old, but you haven’t aged a bit, have you?) :-)

I have been commended – and abused – in the past for saying what others think but refuse to put into words.

In Barbados, as in other Caribbean islands (and indeed in other parts of the world), records are destroyed…

View original 430 more words

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Infanticide by Barbados slave mothers – an expression of resistance?

slavery-barbados.jpg

It is truly disturbing to think that Bajan mothers murdered their own newborns as an act of rebellion to deny human slave assets to their captors and owners.

We know that as the Atlantic slave trade and supplies of new slaves dried up due to the efforts of abolitionists, plantation owners in the Caribbean and USA placed the emphasis on breeding new stock. The record is clear that some plantation owners thought it their right to impregnate their slaves with white blood for ‘better product’.

It is difficult to think that captive human beings were treated as property to this extent, but that was the reality of the day. The master had all rights, the female slave had none.

As you read the following article, just remember this…

There are more slaves held in captivity today than at any other time in history.

The obvious response to slave infanticide is to conceptualize it as an act of desperation, a sad act, or an act of altruism, in the sense that it was intended to save enslaved children from a life of hard labor, degradation, and physical, sexual, and mental abuse.

But what if slave infanticide, in all its horror, was an expression of resistance? To conceptualize it this way places agency back in the hands of the slave women who killed their children, because it assumes that their decision was actively, discursively antagonistic and insurrectionary.

… from Infanticide as Slave Resistance: Evidence from Barbados

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Barbados History: Bajan handyman turned axe-murderer – Julian Carlton massacred seven at Frank Lloyd Wright home in 1914

Barbados Axe Murder Wright Architect

“Julian Carlton said he was from Barbados and he had good credentials, having worked previously for a prominent Chicago caterer. There was not much more known about him.”

Mass murderer said to be from Barbados… but was he?

September 15, 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the mass-murder of seven at ‘Taliesin’, the Wisconsin estate home of famed Welsh/American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The murderer, Julian Carlton, and his wife Gertrude had always been reported as being from Barbados, but later accounts say the couple was ‘reportedly’ or ‘said to be’ from Barbados – indicating some doubt. It might be that the doubt originates only from the hundred years since the crime, but could it be that Julian and Gertrude Carlton only said they were from Barbados?

Can any of our readers confirm or deny that the Carltons were from Barbados? Julian Carlton was said to be 30 years old at the time of the murders, making him born around 1884.

Could it be that Julian and Gertrude Carlton only said they were from Barbados?

Frank Lloyd Wright Murder click photo for large

‘God’s judgement’ or a mentally ill man gone berserk?

In 1914 many folks said that the murders were God’s judgement upon Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress for their open adultery. Pretty mistress Mamah Borthwick Cheney was the younger wife of one of the architect’s clients when they started a torid affair in 1903. Frank Lloyd Wright left his wife of 20 years and six children for the delights of Mrs. Cheney and scandalised Wisconsin when he built an estate for her that the newspapers of the time dubbed the “Bungalow of Love”. Continue reading

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George Waldron – from Black Rock, Barbados to Guyana in the 1920’s or 1930’s

Black Rock Barbados History

I would love to hear from the Waldrons of Black Rock

I am an avid reader of the Barbados Free Press and am very happy that I can get to access your news online.

My reason for sending this email is to request some information about some long lost relatives that I would love to connect with in Barbados.

My great grandfather, now deceased, came to Guyana many years ago. His name was George Waldron and was from Black Rock. He came to Guyana sometime in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s and never returned to Barbados.

I would like to connect with the old and the young folks of the Waldron family. I am a Guyanese citizen and presently living in Guyana.

Thanks!

CG

Photo courtesy of Tramz.com’s The Tramways of Bridgetown Barbados

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“Cumba” – the story of one slave woman owned by Captain John Burch, Christ Church. From Africa to Barbados to England

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“Mr. Maverick was desirous to have a breed of Negroes, and therefore seeing she would not yield by perswasions to company with a Negro young man he had in his house…”

… from John Josselyn as recounted in Two Voyages to New England, published 1674

One story of millions

by West Side Davie

“Cumba” was her name. She died a slave in Romford, England in April, 1668 – the property of John Burch and his wife Margaret of Hogsty Plantation. (I’m not sure whether Captain John Burch of Barbados is also referred to and is the same as Colonel John Burch of Barbados, but this family history and other websites seem to say it is the same man. I remain open for correction!)

Today, Cumba is remembered as Havering’s first black resident in an excellent article by Professor Ged Martin just published in the Romford Recorder:

It was 350 years ago this year that a fabulously rich couple, John and Margaret Burch, arrived in Romford.

They’d made their money in Barbados, exploiting slave labour to produce the bonanza crop: sugar.

In 1664, they retired to England, buying Romford’s biggest estate, Gidea Hall, then usually called Giddy Hall. The mansion, demolished in 1930, stood just east of Raphael Park.

Madam Burch, as she was fawningly called, brought her personal maidservant from Barbados, the ultimate status symbol.

Cumba was Havering’s first black resident. A slave, a piece of property, Cumba survived the English climate just four years.

But when she died, in April 1668, somebody had the humanity to record her name in the register of Romford’s St Edward’s church. “Cumber, a ffemale Blackamore servant from Guyddy Hall, buried.”

Today, “blackamore” is an offensive term. But in 1668, when “black” was used to ­describe complexion, it was an attempt to identify Cumba with some dignity. The double “ff” ­indicated a capital letter.

… read the entire article Cumba: Havering’s first black resident remembered on the 350th anniversary of her arrival.

We know very little about Cumba, but we still know far more about her than we do about millions of other people who were enslaved with her and since. We know about the times in which she lived, and we also know a little about the socially-condoned cruelty of slave owners. I believe that much of history has been ‘cleansed’, but not all of it. What passed for ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ when Cumba lived gives us some idea of her personal circumstances, what she probably saw even if she was not herself subject to all of the abuses. We simply don’t know the details of her life, but we know the times.

So to learn more about Cumba, we will talk of the people around her: the powerful elites of society at the time… Continue reading

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Barbados 1780 rum made by slaves fetches highest price ever

harwood rum barbados

Queen Elizabeth’s cousin sells 12 bottles from secret stash for US$127,555.65

In 1780 on the island of Barbados, unknown slaves without names distilled and barreled rum for their master: Edward Lascelles, the first Earl of Harewood. The rum was shipped to jolly old England in barrels where it was bottled and tucked away in a cellar at the family mansion… where it sat for 231 years before being discovered. Wuhloss! It wouldn’t have lasted a week ’bout my home!

Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, the Earl (later promoted to Viscount Lascelles) owned some 22 plantations and 2,947 slaves in the Caribbean – including Lascelles House near Holetown.

All these years later his descendant, David Lascelles, 8th Earl of Harewood, is the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and great-grandson of King George V.

Mount Gay Rum owns the Barbados estate.

What did the 8th Earl of Harewood do with all that money from the sale of slave rum? Good for him… he gave the money back to the Caribbean people – to the Geraldine Connor Foundation.

Good for the Queen’s cousin!

But he only gave back the money from 12 bottles of rum.

We still waiting for the money from the sale of the family mansion: bought an paid for with the blood and tears of thousands of slaves.

Robert.

Further Information about this event:

Harewood House Auction and the Rum Ambassador

 

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How Sir Ronald Sanders swayed Caribbean support for Britain during the Falklands War

caricom-barbados-ronald-sanders.jpgSue Onslow of the University of London interviewed Sir Ronald Sanders as part of the Commonwealth Oral History Project. The entire interview available to read online at Commonwealth Oral Histories, or you can download the PDF at the bottom of this post.

Sir Ronald was a diplomat starting in the 1980’s and was part of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group reporting in 2011. The first Eminent Persons Group included Barbados future Governor General, Dame Nita Barrow, who famously dressed in African garb to sneak into Soweto in South Africa and also met with Nelson Mandella in jail.

The interview covers a wide range of topics where Sir Ronald gives the perspective of someone right in the middle of the chaos that is international politics. Topics include South Africa (people, politics and apartheid), the US invasion of Grenada, the Falklands War and stories and opinions about famous people including then Barbados Prime Minister Tom Adams and lessor public figures like Reagan and Castro. ;-)

It’s a good read for anyone interested in history or politics.

Here’s a passage about how the Caribbean had decided to side with Argentina in the Falklands, but then Sir Ronald decided to convince the leaders that our collective interests favoured the UK…   Continue reading

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Guide to tracing your Barbados roots

Convent School Barbados 1944 click photo for larger

Everywhere you go… you’ll find a Bajan

My great-great-grandfather Sandy Powell Sr. moved to North Carolina in the late 19th century. The story is that he came from Barbados after 1865, as a free man. No one knows why or under what conditions. We don’t know from where in Barbados he traveled, either. Was he part of a larger migration from the Caribbean to the Carolinas? If so, how do we trace that information? —Bettina Judd

It is true that everywhere you go today, you’ll find a Bajan. Here at Barbados Free Press we’ve been contacted by Bajans in China, Greenland, Panama, Russia, Antarctica and Peru to name a few. And way back when during the aftermath of Britain’s anti-slavery laws and movements, Bajans also traveled far and wide… but not always at their own desire. Over-crowding and poverty on Barbados was the catalyst for many young men and women to seek better lives over and away. They still do, and many for the same reasons – deny it as you will.

Many Bajans ended up in North and South Carolina both before and after slavery and the civil war, and many Americans from the Carolinas combine an annual vacation in Bim with the search for their roots and relatives.

We hear in the rum shop that a year ago former Prime Minister Owen Arthur received a young family from South Carolina who are related in some way to him a long time ago. It is a small world sometimes.

Places to look and see…

The Root: How Did My Free Bajan Ancestor End Up in North Carolina?

Ursuline Convent School of Barbados: A short history.

Photo credit: Ursuline Convent School of Barbados Photo Book

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Former colonial officer William Bell’s obituary offers some clues on the demise of the West Indies Federation

William-Lewis-Bell Barbados

Initially the appointment of Bell, a former colonial administrator in Uganda, was greeted with suspicion. The press in Barbados heralded his appointment with the headline “Britain sends us another colonial cast-off”.

“The appointment of Bell was greeted with suspicion.”

And well it should have been. After three hundred years of sucking everything it could from its ‘colonies’ in the Caribbean and around the world – with strategies including the use of slavery, genocide and enforced drug addiction – in the late 1940s post-war Britain looked at the balance sheet and discovered that many of her former assets had become economic and political liabilities.

So Great Britain finally decided to heed the calls for independence – not out of any sense of duty or doing the right thing – but like a business that casts aside a long-term employee who was injured on the job, Britain started dumping the old colonies that were no longer strategically or financially useful. That included Barbados and a host of other Caribbean islands.

And what of all that revenue from sugar’s heyday? What about the benefits to The Empire when Bridgetown was a strategic military base and supply centre? What about the revenues from the slave trade?

Doan talk about that boy.

William Bell: Oppressor? Neutral functionary? Midwife of Bajan independence?

You decide.

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Bajan Ralph Straker passes in the UK – One of thousands recruited from the Caribbean by London Transport in the 1950s

Ralph Straker Barbados London Transit That’s Ralph on the left!  :-)

Left Barbados for London Transport in 1956

Many of those who came to Britain had expected to stay for a few years, but remained for most of their working lives. They often maintained strong links with home, as well as making new friends at work and in the community.

Ralph Straker, recruited as a bus conductor in 1956, agrees.

He said: ‘I have a house already waiting on me there.

‘But my wife isn’t quite ready yet.

‘She’s waiting on the grandchildren… I am waiting to put my foot on the sands and sip my rum punch.

‘I’m looking forward to the day when we can do that.’

… from a 2010 article in Transport for London (here)

Ralph Straker passed on Saturday October 12, 2013 at 77 years old – which is not that old in Bajan terms, but he’d been living in the UK since 1956 and that fast pace must take a few years off a person. But Ralph and his wifey Monica had been married for 54 years, had hundreds of friends and their children and extended family, so Ralph by all accounts led a good life. He was a verger at his church for 45 years and you can’t call a man like that anything but a bedrock of the community and a true leader by example.

Mr. Straker was one of thousands from the Caribbean recruited in the 1950s by London Transit to counter the exodus of Brits after the war to places far afield like South Africa, Australia, America, Canada and the orient. That adventure alone is worth a read.

Our prayers for the Straker family and friends.

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“Better to be poor and in control of my own life”

A few wonderful pieces from our old friend Ian Bourne at The Bajan Reporter.

That man has a nose for news and a belly for a story. A pity he’s not in charge of CBC’s news department…

“Your Condo does not impress me much!”

Money dictates the quality of life that you live, and without money you cannot survive: that in itself is a true statement. Unfortunately, a lot of times we make less money -even though we might do the same quality, and quantity of work as a man in the workplace.

This then leads you to perhaps marry for stability, to ensure that you will live comfortably. Money does not make you happy, so don’t ever throw in the towel and settle with a man just because he is financially stable. Great if you find, and love someone who is wealthy and you two have decided to make a life together. However, succumbing to fear and marrying for money while you stare at your dwindling bank account is not the answer.

Read the entire article at The Bajan Reporter: Your Condo does not impress me much!

Dido elizabeth belle

Belle – Illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral

Based on a true story, Belle follows the story of an Dido Elizebeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Royal Navy Admiral Sir John Lindsay and a Jamaican slave woman known only as Belle. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing.

“Dido Elizabeth Belle was born around 1761. She was baptised in 1766 at St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury. Her father, John Lindsay, nephew of the Earl of Mansfield, was at the time a Royal Navy captain on HMS Trent, a warship based in the West Indies that took part in the capture of Havana from the Spanish in 1762. It has previously been suggested that her mother was an enslaved African on board one of the Spanish ships captured during this battle, but the dates are inconsistent and there is no reason why any of the Spanish ships (which were immobilised in the inner habour) would have had women on board when they were delivered up on the formal surrender of the fortress. Dido’s baptism record, however, shows that she was born while Lindsay was in the West Indies and that her mother’s name was Maria Belle.”

Thanks to Ian Bourne for pointing us to a new movie about this fascinating bit of Caribbean history.

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Those darn Bajans are everywhere – including in The Bronx

That’s a four pass Scotch marine boiler you’re looking at – made by EASCO in the Bronx, New York City, United States of America. EASCO stands for A.L. Eastmond and Sons Inc., a multi-million dollar company that is one of the largest boiler manufacturers on the Eastern seaboard. With almost one hundred employees EASCO is also the largest black-owned boiler manufacturer pretty well anywhere.

And who, really, is EASCO? Glad you asked. You see, almost a hundred years ago a blacksmith named Eastmond left his home in Barbados and headed for New York City…

Here is a wonderful piece of history and an uplifting read to start your day…

EASCO is a family and community affair

A.L. Eastmond and Sons Inc. (EASCO) has made its mark all over New York City. Chances are that the boiler in your apartment building was built by them. This successful multimillion-dollar business, started by a blacksmith from Barbados nearly a century ago, now spans three generations.

EASCO’s CEO is 85-year-old Leon Eastmond Jr. He told the AmNews how it all began in 1925.

“My dad came from Barbados and worked for other companies for several years. He bought a fleet of taxicabs. In those days, there was no permanent antifreeze and you had to let the water out of the motors at night so they wouldn’t freeze. The drivers left the water in the blocks and the motors froze overnight and cracked, making the cabs useless.

“So he said, ‘Let me go back to what I know.’ He was a blacksmith. He opened a place at 37 W. 144th St. in Harlem and began shoeing horses and putting springs in cars. He eventually bought a welding machine that you push like a wheelbarrow. After several years, he bought a welding truck…

… read the rest of the story at New York Amsterdam News

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One British tourist’s view of Barbados history

Should Barbados look to Germany and the Holocaust camps for guidance?

by John Slapp

I have visited Barbados many times over the past years and each visit is preceded by excitement at the prospect of reacquainting myself with friends made in previous years and the beauty of the island.

This excitement is, however, tempered by the knowledge that Barbados has denied and neglected its history, both architectural and human, in favour of the “Luxury Dollar”.

Architecture

Walking around Bridgetown one is struck by the number of neglected historical buildings left to rot and decay. Just one example of many is the Eye Hospital. There are many more. They are treated no better than the eyesores of empty hotels along the Boardwalk.

The Garrison area is one shining light, however Needhams Point, with its guns rusting in the sea, is now a part of the Hilton, for goodness sake! An example of the Dollar being more important than Heritage. It also seems that the Gun Collection in St Ann’s Fort is a national secret if direction signs are anything to go by.

Driving around the island one comes across many old sugar mills and boiling houses. Maybe I am at fault but I have yet to see one restored to give visitors an idea of what they were like. A few days of cane crushing at Morgan Lewis is commendable but hardly inspiring.

I could go on and on, but I think that you get the point.

Human

Barbados has a history. Much as we all wish it had been otherwise the fact remains that slavery, both white and black, is a major part of this history. Continue reading

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