Queen???s Park Celebrates 100 Years

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A view of??the Steel Shed in Queen’s Park

Queen’s Park is 100 not out!

Tomorrow?? will mark 100 years to the day when Lady Gilbert Carter, the wife of then??Governor?? General,??Sir??Thomas Gilbert Carter, unlocked the gates of Queen’s Park with??a golden key, to officially open the venue which??has become an??integral part of the island’s social landscape.

From the Annual Exhibition, to Christmas in the Park with the Royal Barbados Police Force Band, and the Promenade of yesteryear, to art exhibitions, cricket, dramatic productions, calypso tents, political meetings and the popular Agro-fest showcase, Queen’s Park continues to be the site of many happy moments and memories for Barbadians of all ages and walks of life.

Boasting a rich history, it was in November 1907 when work commenced on the ???Park’ after the Vestry of St. Michael received a $4,800 grant to assist in its construction.

At the abolition of the Vestry system in 1959, the facility was passed on to the Bridgetown Council and in 1970 it was entrusted to the Parks and Beaches Commission, the forerunner to Government’s National Conservation Commission (NCC), which continues to be responsible for its upkeep. The National Cultural Foundation since 1984, however, has held responsibility for the Queen’s Park House, the Stables and the Steel Shed.

A major facet of Queen’s Park is its architectural heritage, and while some features have been tarnished by age and the elements, elaborate designs are still evident on many of the park’s major landmarks, including the fountain, the pump house, the gazebo, the terrace and the bandstand. These continue to be of much interest to both locals and visitors traversing the park.

Queen’s Park is also home to one of the island’s two Baobab Trees, a tree of African species which is approximately 90 feet tall, 81 feet wide and believed to be over 1,000 years old. It is located near to the playing field which has been used by the Spartan Cricket Club since the 1920s.??

So, whether utilising the Park for various entertainment or sporting events, or simply for an evening stroll, Barbadians have in their numbers, over the years, entered one of its three gates – the ???Nelson Gate’ which is the one nearest to Bridgetown; the ???Governor-General’s Gate’ which stands at the opposite end, and the ???College Gate’ in the middle, leading down to Constitution Road.

As the NCC prepares to celebrate the Park’s 100th anniversary, Barbadians and visitors alike are being urged to meet there to join in the festivities, which promise to evoke memories of Queen’s Park of old.

Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, will tomorrow officially launch the 100th anniversary celebrations at 10:00 a.m.?? Patrons will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful music from the Royal Barbados Police Force Band as well as a cultural presentation featuring poet Deanne Kennedy, the Harrison College School Band and the Hindsbury School Choir.

On Sunday, June 14, the St. Michael’s Cathedral will be the venue for the 100th Anniversary Church Service which gets under way at 4:00 p.m. Following the service, there will be a procession to the nearby Queen’s Park, where patrons will be entertained by the Royal Barbados Police Force Band. Refreshments will be on hand and persons will be able to enjoy old time delicacies, including comfort, snowballs, sugar cakes and old time ice-cream.

Several activities will be planned during the rest of the year to observe the milestone of this truly Barbadian stomping ground.????

cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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