National Trust to list 30 buildings

Some 30 buildings of heritage value, including the Red House, will be soon formally listed under the National Trust Act.

“We have gone through the entire process for each,” National Trust chairman Margaret McDowell told Newsday on Thursday.
“We’ve been working flat out.”

The country has as many as 400 heritage sites that could probably qualify to be listed, although the procedure is quite detailed and lengthy.

“To get a site listed, you have to do all the research and have all the surveys and architectural plans and be able to say why this particular site deserves to be listed, out of all the others.”

McDowell named other buildings in Port of Spain due to be listed this month as the old Police Headquarters, the Old Fire Station, Knowsley and the gingerbread house (Boissiere’s house) at Queen’s Park West. Also included are the old railway station in San Fernando, the Naipaul house in St James, the Wild Fowl Trust at Pointe-a-Pierre, several churches and one of Trinidad’s oldest mandirs.

She said the country so far has only 13 listed sites, including the Magnificent Seven and the old post office at Mayaro.

“The post office is in shambles and I’m trying to find someone to repair it.”

McDowell said the National Trust had wished to list Lion House in Chaguanas, but has had trouble physically accessing it. A recent news report said it was occupied by homeless people amid squabbling by relatives of the former owner.

Asked about the relatively belated listing of the Red House, Mc Dowell said her greater concern was for the smaller and more vulnerable buildings that might be overlooked.

“Nobody is going to knock down the Red House. It is not as critical as the smaller ones.”

The act says the National Trust “shall prepare a list of buildings and sites of particular national, historic or architectural interest which should be preserved as listed properties.” It defines a property of interest as “any monument and any fossil, place or site of natural beauty or national, historic, scientific or archaeological interest.”

by Sean Douglas, TT Newsday (original link: )