G-G’s house open for viewing
Large numbers flocked to Government House yesterday for an intimate view of the official residence of Barbados’ head of state, Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave.
The 300-year-old house was included in this year’s National Trust Open House Programme, now winding down, and drew an overwhelming response according to members of the Trust. Historian Dr Karl Watson told the DAILY NATION that although there may have been a downturn in tourism, several visitors had been taking advantage of the open house programme which affords the opportunity to go inside some of Barbados’ stately homes.
Visitors began arriving early and long lines formed as they awaited their turn to inspect the stately dining room where royalty and heads of state have dined.
Yesterday the Regency dining table with 48 chairs was set with full service for 28 and visitors gazed in awe at the magnificent crystal chandeliers overhead, the Victorian gilt mirror and some fine pieces of Victorian and Regency furniture in the drawing room.
Many paused to admire the imposing painting of Queen Elizabeth 11 in her coronation robes, as well as portraits of Edward II, Queen Alexandra, Queen Victoria, George V, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and other royalty, left by members of the Royal Family visiting Government House.
People lingered in the bedroom wing of the house where the suite reserved for members of the Royal Family is located. Britain’s Prince Edward slept there.
Government House was once called Pilgrim Great House, named after its Quaker owner Thomas Pilgrim. It has been the residence of Governors of Barbados since 1703 when it was leased by the Government who eventually purchased it in 1736. The house was rebuilt in 1755 and has remained largely unchanged since, despite instances of repair of damage caused by severe hurricanes over three centuries.
Following yesterday’s tour, visitors were entertained by the award-winning Springer Memorial School Orchestra And Choir. (GC)