Historic buildings listed for repair
The Carnegie Library is at the top of the list of buildings targeted for restoration by the local task force on restoring buildings of historic significance, says Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley.
Stating that the task force headed by Independent Senator Professor Henry Fraser was doing much good work in research and plans for funding, Lashley said the task force had prioritised a number of buildings and at the top of the list was the Carnegie Library, which would cost just over $1.5 million to repair.
“We’ve done a technical inspection of it to assess the state of disrepair, and I must thank the United States Embassy for providing the funding to do that inspection. The inspection disclosed that the building is not in as bad shape as we would have thought. The structure is still intact and many of the internal features are in place,” he said.
He added that the task force would also be launching a foundation and a funding appeal in Barbados and abroad with the aim of restoring this and other buildings.
“We are aware that several persons may want to contribute and the task force has established a foundation because many donors don’t like the idea of providing fundng that will go to the Consolidated Fund,” he explained.
The Carnegie Library, built in 1906, was funded by a grant made in August 1903 by Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie. It is one of six Carnegie libraries in the Caribbean region and served as a free public library until it was closed in 2006 as a result of structural damage and deterioration.
Lashley also said the main Queen’s Park building housing the art gallery and Daphne Joseph-Hackett Theatre was targeted for restoration and that provision had been made in this year’s Estimates for work to start before yearend, while at least one philanthropic organisation had indicated interest in assisting.
“What we’re seeing is the upshot of not paying attention to our structures. I hope we never get in Barbados again what is happening now with practically all of our historic structures . . . because we have not evolved a systematic policy over the years of paying attention to the maintenance of these buildings,” said Lashley. (RJ)