HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Big plans for Tyrol Cot
THERE’S A push on to restore the home of one of the island’s national heroes and his son to its former glory.
Tyrol Cot has been a tourist attraction for many years. The history associated with its most famous owner Sir Grantley Adams, his wife Lady Adams and his son J.M.G.M. “Tom” Adams, along with the treasure trove of antiques it contains, draws visitors and locals alike.
But in the past few years the Palladian-styled 1854 house has been looking the worse for wear.
Tyrol Cot was built by master builder William Farnum, who also designed and built the main block at Glendairy Prisons. Grantley Adams acquired the house in 1929 as part payment for legal work he had done.
The head of the National Trust’s Sentinel Committee, Sir Henry Fraser, has submitted a proposal to redevelop the grounds and to restore the chattel house village, the slave hut, original privy, as well as the 160-year-old house to the glory of the days when Tyrol Cot hosted the who’s who of Barbados and its neighbours.
Sir Henry said there were plans to extend the car park on the grounds to encourage more people to visit; the gardens would be rejuvenated and a possible rock and rose garden would be added; a stone mason is being sought to restore the original walls of what was then Lady Adams’ patio; the different versions of the iconic chattel houses would be renovated and would again house assorted crafts people; the exact replica of a Barbadian slave hut would be repaired and signage would be replaced.
He said the property once had a manager, full-time gardener and volunteer tour guides.
“Cleaning, polishing furniture, looking after crockery, keeping the place really smart does require staff and the Trust does not have that staff, so I can only say we need money, we desperately need money to maintain any property in good nick.”
But he is sure that when completed, Tyrol Cot could be a money earner for the entity charged with protecting the built and natural heritage of the island and an educational tool for young people.
“Tyrol Cot is a further aspect of the education of the young people. I keep saying preservation is for pride, pleasure and profit.”
But the restoration effort will take money, said Sir Henry, money the National Trust does not have. And that is where an aggressive campaign comes in.
“There are people in Barbados who are willing to give for a good cause but most of us are too conservative to ask,” he declared.
Sir Henry, however, noted it was difficult to say how much the proposed works would cost. Even the cost of current maintenance was high.
“The fact is it takes more than the National Trust thought it had. The National Trust got into serious debt because it was given Wildey House and it was bequeathed Andromeda Gardens. And it had to restore, preserve and operate in a commercial way those two large properties with no funds and that got the Trust into debt.
“The Tyrol Cot situation – paying back a loan that we did not expect to have to deal with – added to that debt and that is why we haven’t had the money to maintain it,” he admitted.