From the Crow’s Nest | THE SCENE
IT READS LIKE A NOVEL.
This volume, the seventh in the series
about Bermuda’s nine parishes and its current
capital, must rank high on the list of achievements, and may be the best yet. Certainly it has
all the convolutions of a Victorian drama. There
are heroes and heroines; dreamers, financial
daredevils, and family dynasties; enterprising
foreigners play an important role. Inherited wealth and borrowed
money each contribute to the development of this vital town, turned
city—Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital.
Dedicated to the memory of the late David L. White, and mostly
written by him, those who were responsible for the writing and research
must be congratulated for the captivating content. Every page brings a
wealth of information, and the choice of photographs helps to graphically illustrate and complement this fascinating history of Hamilton.
It is hard to put this volume down. Whereas it might be difficult to
consume this treasure in one sitting, it is so engaging that even the casual reader will pick it up again and again to learn what comes next. Can
the planned road system overcome the huge blocks of Walsingham rock
that stand in the way of commerce; can Burnaby Hill be surmounted;
can the Pembroke Marsh and its waterways be overcome; who built the
docks of Hamilton, and how
was this achieved? Who put
up the early capital? Who
were the architects who
designed the buildings, many
of which still stand, over a
hundred years later, despite
the predictable advance of
“modern” architecture and the
steady growth of international
The businessmen and
women (and indeed many women, and seamen’s widows,
who play their vital role), various governors, and even ab-
sentee landlords are identified in the growth of Hamilton.
Did you know that there were many hotels in Hamilton a
hundred years ago? Today there are none!
As one reads the text, and admires the sidebars and
photos, it seems that one is carried along in an unbelievable
saga. The years, let alone the pages, simply sweep along ; you are mesmer-
ized by the plot and its characters.
One of the most interesting of the many facts in this publication is
the incredibly important role played by “Bermudians of colour” in the
growth and development of the capital of Bermuda. This publication
should put paid to the conventional wisdom of “the Forty Thieves.”
Although many families who played a vital role in Hamilton’s history,
and whose drive, money and vision built the town are no longer in our
social register, their contribution, let alone their bloodline, is exposed
in this fascinating publication.
One interesting piece of trivia is the revelation that one street away
from where I grew up in Hamilton are three homes, a stone’s throw
from each other, that produced five Rhodes Scholars between them;
each of the three families was unrelated. Quite a record for one Hamilton neighbourhood!
Hamilton: Town and City is a “must”
for anyone interested in Bermuda
history and the story of the embryonic
years of its present capital.
The photographs contained in this
volume are simply captivating, and
will draw your attention again and
This work is a truly excellent read.
Hamilton Town and
City: A Review
The National Trust’s 7th in the series
of Architectural Heritage books,
tackles the birth of the
city of Hamilton.
WRITTEN BY DAVID J. SAUL Above: Brooklyn Manor in 1885 shows the Jackson Family in front of the wooden porch.
Thomas Miles advertisement in
the Bermuda Pocket Almanack,