Do the names Iron Duke, Cornwall, Queen Victoria or Sydney mean anything to you or someone you know?  These are just a few of the names of Landship Docks that were once vibrant across the island.  

 Docks, headquarters of Landships, are usually small chattel house structures that were typical of black working-class homes in Barbados.  They served as a hub of activity for the community, where members met on Friday nights; paid their dues, and conducted Landship business.  

In recognition of the 155th anniversary of the Barbados Landship movement, the Division of Culture through the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) has embarked on a community-based programme to recognise and safeguard the rich heritage of the Barbados Landship and its Docks.  

The Landship Sites of Memory Project is a mapping exercise to locate the precise sites of former Docks and will oversee the installation of plaques at 17 locations across the island.  They will also be collecting stories about the various Docks. 

The Barbados Landship is best known today for its festive public display at cultural functions.  However, knowledge of their roles as “friendly societies”, complete with “meeting turns” (collective savings), community counselling and as an outpost of village welfare has nearly disappeared.   

If you or any of your family members have any memories of Docks, such as the Iron Duke in Licorish Village; The Despatch in Newcastle, St John; the Cornwall in Carrington village or others, please contact the Cultural Officer for Research and Documentation at the NCF, Michelle Springer, by calling 417-6628, or emailing michelle-springer@ncf.bb.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

National Cultural Foundation

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