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A storied tour of The City – and more


DONNA SEALY

A storied tour of The City – and more

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ON ANY GIVEN Sunday evening, it is not unusual to see a group of people walking through Bridgetown with historian Trevor Marshall.

He tells a delightful story of The City, cleverly weaving several historical facts about everyday places and bastions of a bygone era – invisible now, mere footnotes in 21st Century Barbados.

For Deborah Grant, whose company Chattel House Audio Tours started offering these journeys of historic Bridgetown after taking in one herself, she knew she had to do something to share the tale.

“It’s not only going to be tours of Bridgetown but many places of interest in Barbados. So anywhere there is a story, especially an untold story, I’m going to create a tour for that. I started with Bridgetown because I knew pretty much the story I wanted to tell,” she told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.

“We do tours of Parliament, but I wanted people to get a sense of where it started and how we got the name ‘Bridgetown’. I didn’t know how we got our name until a year or so ago when I did a tour with Mr Marshall, it was the [Chamberlain Bridge].

“There are so many stories. Once we take the time to listen, you will see things in a completely different way and you will appreciate the space differently once you capture what was happening there before. I get excited about my story.

Another reason she was compelled to offer the tours was the length of time between those offered by the National Cultural Foundation and one or two others.

“I remember going on a tour of the Garrison [Savannah] when we first got our designation and one of the persons lamented that we don’t have enough of these tours. I thought that maybe there are people who want to attend these different tours,” she said.

Whenever she travels, Grant tours the cities and towns. A recent trip saw her taking in places in New York, and after being told she had to tour the High Line, a redesigned elevated old train line, she toured it twice.

“Someone decided to clean it up, planted what Barbadians would say is grass – they’re not many flowers – and they have created a story out of that,” she said.

The tour operator believes that Barbados has “so many stories that are waiting to be told” and over time, she wants to undertake her own “knowledge building” given that she remembers things from her childhood and has listened to countless stories from the older people.

“Bridgetown is just a fascinating place. I no longer park in the [BTI] carpark in [Lower Bay Street] the way I used to because now I know this is where my ancestors are [buried].

“When you get that kind of knowledge, then you feel a little different.

“I want other people to be aware of what a gem we have,” she added.

So far each week, the tour has been making stops at the Screw Dock, the Independence Arch, the Wickham/Lewis Boardwalk, St Mary’s Church, James Street, and Swan Street.

But what is interesting is the stories and the way Marshall tells them.

After having the first tour on July 13, Grant said the plan is to have different routes on specific days of the week, because she will be looking to move away from Sundays only.

“All those logistics have to be worked out.

“It will not only be ongoing for locals, but tourists as well,” Grant added.

During November and in time for Independence, Grant hopes to get a Garrison tour started. Soon after that, it will be Speightstown and Holetown.

She also wants to offer them in languages other than English. (GBM)

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