AUTHORS • ATHLETES • ARTISTS
WRITTEN BY DAVID J. SAUL
Whether one is a visitor to the island or a Bermuda resi- dent, a read of Volume Eight of the Bermuda National Trust’s series on Bermuda’s Architectural Heritage—
Pembroke—will be a delight.
Written by local historian Dr. Clarence Maxwell, it reads like a
travelogue and the historical setting that begins on the ;rst page tantalises the reader and ensnares him into an enlightening tour of what is
arguably one of the most interesting books about the nine parishes that
make up this 400-year-old British colony. Bermuda’s second capital,
Hamilton, is captured within its parish boundaries and whereas the
city’s location ensured the parish’s celebrity status there is little doubt
that its many bays and numerous islands and coves attracted its early
residents and dictated much of its architecture.
Pembroke’s three stages of development, from the island’s historical
beginnings in 1609, through the second half of the 1800s to the twentieth century, and then on to the modern era of tourism and international
business, are magni;cently laid out for the reader. ;e role played by
Pembroke in the development of Bermuda’s character is encapsulated in
the story of the parish’s domestic, military and public buildings and is
presented to the reader in a way that is both captivating and educational.
Beginning with the story of the island’s Christian origins and the
building of some of Bermuda’s early churches, the book outlines the
construction of its o;cial buildings, and sets the stage for the origins of
many of the stupendous private homes that have survived the centuries
and today seemingly ;t seamlessly into the architectural scene that is
It is a credit to the practical design and construction of Bermuda’s
buildings that their character, both ancient and modern, has lasted
for centuries—through storms, extreme humidity and the ravages of
time. ;e island’s unique architecture has blended in so well with its
surroundings that this survey of so many of its “ancient” buildings and
homes surprises the reader as to how smoothly the old and the new
complement each other.
Nevertheless, a read of Pembroke and perusal of its wonderful photographs de;nitely will allow one to travel through time, and savour
the days of yore when life in Bermuda was a little less harried. It makes
it easy to sense why tourism from North America became so popular
from the end of the 1800s, and indeed it was to Pembroke that the famous Mark Twain made his many trips to Bermuda, enjoying its beauty
and its architecture.
Of great interest is Chapter 2 (“O;cial Edi;ces”) and the story of
the building of Government House, and the history of the digging
of the Black Watch Well on the North Shore and the much younger
Marsh Folly Road, whose massive cut ended up in the Pembroke dump,
Moving on from the architectural gems of Spanish Point and on
down the North Shore, with side trips into the ‘interior’ of the parish
and along St. John’s Road, the history of the early immigrants from the
West Indies, starting in the late nineteenth century, is manifested in the
homes built along the eastern portion of Pembroke and the area around
the British military complex at the Prospect.
Indeed, the role of the British military, including the construction
Pembroke: Volume Eight of the Bermuda National
Trust’s series on Bermuda’s Architectural Heritage