Monday, 7 July 2014

The Main Guard

Another beautiful building situated in the historic Garrison area is The Main Guard.

Situated on the western side of the Garrison area, The Main Guard with its beautiful clock tower overlooks the Garrison Savannah which was once the military's Parade Ground and is now the race track.

The Main Guard

This beautiful Georgian architectural building with its Roman arched portico and pediment was built in 1804 and is located in the center of the Garrison Historic Area.
It consists of the main house, clock tower, gallery and a small guardhouse at the rear which was used to house prisoners during court proceedings at the Main Guard.
It was the main guard command of the British military on the island until 1905.
In 1906, the building was purchased and became the exclusive and controversial "Savannah Club."  The gallery with its cast iron trimmings was added during this period.

It was then purchased by the Barbados Government in 1989 and renovated in the year 2000.

The octagon domed clock tower

The clock itself is dated 1803 and was made by Dwerrihouse and Carter of London a noted clock maker.
During the government renovation in 2000, the original clock mechanism was replaced by a modern electronic  system and the clock now chimes every fifteen minutes.
George III Coat of Arms adorns the front of the building.
The unique Coat of Arms dated 1803 is made of Coade stone (a ceramic made to resemble stone) and was designed specially for the building.
Coade stone is named after Eleanor Coade who invented and perfected the formula of this vitrified ceramic in is more durable than stone and was popular in Georgian times.

The Coat of Arms features both the motto of English monarchs "Dieu et mon droit" (God and my right) as well as the motto of the Order of the Garter "Honi soit qui mal y pense" (Shame upon him who thinks evil of it.)
It must be noted that the hind leg of the lion standing on the crown is missing after a mishap with a cricket was decided to leave it as is.


 The Main Guard property is currently the home to several organisations including the Garrison Committee, Barbados Legion and Barbados Poppy League.

 Sentry Box
Sentry boxes stand on either side of the entrance.

The Main Guard is the location of the "Changing of the Sentry Ceremony"...the Barbadian version of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
This authentic recreation takes place every Thursday. The fifteen minute ceremony begins at 11.45am and ends when the clock strikes 12 noon.
The men taking part in the ceremony are all retired military personnel and also includes members of the Barbados Legion.

 Image borrowed from the website

Let's say goodbye to the Main Guard for now.
For ages I have been meaning to attend the Changing of the Sentry ceremony, and so in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger...."I'll be back."

There is so much to see in this historical area. let's walk around just a little bit more.
There are two poignant memorials located in the area as well.  In the southwest corner there is a monument erected to the memory of those lives lost in the "awful" hurricane.

"Near this spot rest the remains of fourteen soldiers and one married woman of the 36th Regiment who were killed by the destruction of the barracks and hospital during the awful visitation of the hurricane August 18, 1831."

 Also in the northeast corner and just across the street from the Barbados Museum stands another monument dedicated to the memory of the men of the Royal York Rangers who fell in action against the French in Martinique, Les Saintes and Guadeloupe in the 1809/10 campaign.

We have not even begun to scratch the surface of The Barbados Garrison Historic Area, for there is so much more to see.
I will definitely be going back to envelop myself in history once more, and I hope you'll accompany me again on that trip.....see you then.


  1. Great blog!!

    If you like, come back and visit mine:

    Pablo from Argentina

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Pablo!!

  2. Another enjoyable and informative visit. Thank you. Of particular interest to me this time was learning about Coade stone. I am now wondering how many more coats of arms and the like I will have seen which were made of it. It's quite odd learning about an entirely new form of pottery about which I knew nothing (and of which I would have expected to have heard).

    1. GB, I myself learn quite a lot when I sit down to write these kind of posts....don't feel bad, I knew nothing of Coade stone either....but hey now we do.


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