Sunday, January 21, 2018

Restoration to magnificence


majestic: Architectural icon Hayes Court, left, looks magnificent around the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. —Photos: Curtis Chase

Mark Fraser

Plans are afoot to restore Hayes Court to its former splendour and preserve it as an architectural icon. The present Anglican administration is bent on restoring the premises given its historical significance. A cocktail reception was held last Friday to launch ‘The Restoration of Hayes Court’, on the grounds of the building. Hayes Court forms part of the Magnificent Seven Historic District Monuments of the Greater Caribbean as designated by the Organisation of American States Heritage List, as well as the Caribbean Plan for Monuments and Sites.

Among those present were Minister of Diversity and Social Integration Rodger Samuel, chairman Magella Moreau, members of the Anglican diocese, choreographer Sonja  Dumas and concerned citizens. 

After remarks by Anglican Bishop the Rt Reverend Claude Berkley about the need to raise $24 million to restore Hayes Court to its former grandeur, guests were invited to tour the mansion. Chairman of Citizens for Conservation Rudylyn DeFour-Roberts fielded questions. Guests were also given pamphlets which outlined a ‘A Brief History of Hayes Court, its Value as a Heritage Site, Hayes Court today and Sustainability’. 

An excerpt from the pamplet said: “Heritage historian Olga Mavrogordato described the edifice as ‘a typical grand house with a pleasant mixture of French and English style with its unusual roof’.” The building boasts high ceilings, a mahogany staircase, wrought-iron fretwork and wood panelling. 

On the ground floor, there were chandeliers, intricate mosaics, a floral vase, a chapel and hymnals. The ornate floor was polished. The building was free of cobweb. On the top floor, a ribbon of bay leaf (laurel) trees and an almond tree stood guard outside the master bedroom. The bathroom boasted a contemporary ambience with its beautiful tiles.

During the entertainment segment, Pierrot Grenade Felix Edinborough told the story of the history of Hayes Court which had its genesis in 1910. In keeping with the fund raising thrust, Edinborough invited “the wise men to bring us more gold.”