Tag Archives: Greyfriars

Greyfriars – latest







Govt give Greyfriars owner new proposal

Friday, December 19 2014

ALFRED GALY, owner of the historic Greyfriars Church of Scotland building on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain is currently reviewing a proposal sent to him by the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration for the preservation and reconstruction of the partially demolished building.

“We submitted a proposal to Mr Galy. He is reviewing it. He will send back his final proposal to us,” Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Rodger Samuel told Newsday yesterday.

Asked what was Government/stakeholders’ proposal for the preservation of the building which was partially demolished on Sunday, November 30, Samuel said he would prefer not to say. Half of the building has been destroyed. He assured Newsday that he had spoken with Galy on Wednesday. Samuel told Newsday that there were some options including working together in a partnership for the preservation of the church that was opened to a congregation during the period of the abolition of slavery.

The complete demolition of the building was halted after Samuel and his adviser Dr Nurah Rosalie Cordner intervened. Cordner risked her life to stop the works, climbing onto an excavator to stop the demolition crew of contractor, Don Ramdeen & Co, from tearing down the centuries’ old church.

Meanwhile, the Port-of-Spain City Corporation has obtained an emergency injunction from the High Court to prevent unauthorised and dangerous demolition work from going forward at the historic building. The demolition exercise had not been authorised.

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Greyfriars demolition video

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Greyfriars – no more….. :-(









Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Rodger Samuel reacts after arriving while the Greyfriars Church, Frederick Street, Port of Spain was being demolished on Sunday morning. Photo:ROBERT TYLOR

Greyfriars Church demolished

By Richard Charan richard.charan@trinidadexpress.com

GREYFRAIRS Church at Frederick Street, Port of Spain, has been demolished.

A demolition crew moved onto the compound this morning and tore down the church hall. An excavator was ripped into the walls of the church when Dr Nurah Rosalie Cordner, an advisor to Minister of Social Integration Rodger Samuel, arrived on the scene and was able to stop the work by standing in the way of the machines.

Samuel later arrived, and said the buildings were demolished even as talks were underway to list the site as a heritage site, which would have given it legal protection. The church was sold to aprivate developer in August, and since then, there has been widespread anger over the plan to demolish the historic site.

In the church were memorial tablets commemorating the work of Rev Kennedy and Rev Brodie, as well as congregatio¬ners who fell during the two World Wars. The graves of three children are on the compound, which is located near Woodford Square, the Red House, Public Library building and Trinity Cathedr¬al. The church was the subject of a painting by Trinidad and Tobago’s famed artist, Michel-Jean Cazabon, in 1870.

According to the record, the church site at Frederick Street was bought for £300 and the foundation stone in April, 1837, completed at a cost of £4,858 and opened for public worship in January, 1838. The church was named “Greyfriars” after the mother church in Glasgow, Scotland.

Three years later, a manse was built next to the church for its reverend, Alexander Kennedy, who was succeeded by Rev George Brodie, who died in 1875.

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Greyfriars Church of Scotland, Frederick Street, Port of Spain – early 1900s



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looking bad for Greyfriars


from today’s Trinidad Guardian  (copyright)

Businessman Alfred Galy applied to the Port-of-Spain City Corporation yesterday for a demolition notice for the former Greyfriars church on Frederick Street.
This comes a week after the corporation ordered work on the site stopped after Galy’s workmen removed the roof of the church hall and part of the roof of the church itself.
Fears that Galy was demolishing the building led to protests last week from the NGO Citizens for Conservation, and National Diversity Minister Rodger Samuel said the deconsecrated church would soon be listed as a protected historic building.

But in an interview yesterday, chief inspector at the city engineer’s office Deoraj Ramtahal confirmed Galy had submitted a demolition application to his office. He added that Galy had also met with the corporation yesterday to discuss ways to save the property by converting it into a suitable business.
“He submitted the application in order to comply with the corporation’s regulations,” Ramtahal said.
Galy is expected to meet with Ramtahal and members of Town and Country Planning at the Ministry of Finance today.

Yesterday, the site remained quiet, with no signs of workers.
In a letter to the editor in today’s T&T Guardian, historian Michael Anthony, appealing for the church to be preserved, recorded that it was founded by the Rev Alexander Kennedy of the Church of Scotland, a man he described as the most dynamic and zealous of local missionaries. Anthony said Kennedy came to T&T in 1836 and converted an unused building on Cambridge Street (then part of St Vincent Street) into a little chapel, then began building his own church the next year. Kennedy was an ardent abolitionist. (See letter on p25)

A petition calling for the preservation of the property and addressed to the Town and Country Planning Division had gathered over 600 online signatures as of yesterday. The petition, started by concerned citizen Joshua Lue Chee Kong, expresses concern over the potential demolition of the church, and says it should be preserved at all costs to benefit future generations.
“Therefore we wish with all the power granted by your office, that this matter be resolved immediately and that the church gains the necessary protection it deserves as a heritage site as quickly as possible,” it reads.

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More on my old Church – Greyfriars, Port of Spain

from the Trinidad Express


‘I felt compelled to buy Greyfriars’

By \\\\\ Michelle Loubon

Port of Spain businessman/Natrust Ltd chief executive officer (CEO) Alfred Galy said a team comprising an architect and an engineer will advise him on the future of Greyfriars Church of Scotland, on Frederick Street, Port of Spain, by mid-September. He also said the National Trust should prioritise which buildings it intended to save since it was virtually impossible to save all the dilapidated historical edifices.

Galy also said he felt compelled to purchase Greyfriars Church since he is a patron of the arts, appreciates fine architecture and aesthetics.
Greyfriars shot into the spotlight after the Presbyterian community, historians and conservationists feared the edifice would be destroyed. The Trust issued a statement indicating the building will be listed ‘afforded protected status’. But the process is tedious and requires surveys, valuations and planning.
Interviewed at his Frederick Street office yesterday, Galy, 84, said: “I have an architect and an engineer looking at it. They will get back to me by mid-September. They will advise us on the way forward. I can’t disclose their names right now. In due course, everything will come out.”
Asked about Greyfriars cost, Galy added: “We bought it at market price. It was no deal. I can’t give the exact figures. Anybody who has an idea about real estate would have an idea about the market prices. I am the middle man. I bought it for a company. I can’t say which company. I can’t disclose too much yet.”
Sharing his sentiments on the church, Galy said: “I am not responsible for it. The church is derelict. The congregation left it. There was nobody to pay the stipend which might have gone to the upkeep. Maybe it was because of health and safety issues. Maybe they lost their faith in God. Everybody ran for cover. I know they fixed up St Ann’s Church of Scotland on Charlotte Street real nice. Inside they did a lot of work.”
Galy likened the church to a sick patient.
He said: “It costs to upkeep a sick person. At one point, you might have to pull the plug. The church is derelict. It is very expensive to upkeep a derelict building.”
Asked about his particular interest in Greyfriars, Galy said he has always been a devotee of the arts.
“I commissioned the late sculptor Pat Chu Foon to do a piece for Trinity College. I paid him $15,000. I had a copper designed by Conrad Rogers from Belmont. He is now living at Diego Martin. It is in my office and it features the elements like Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. “
Galy developed a passion for the church. He said: “I used to pass there as a boy on my way to St Mary’s College. I used to hear a lot of singing and music. The hall would be decked out at Christmas time.”
But he noticed a falling away at Greyfriars. Galy said: “About 10 years ago, not an ants.”
Asked if he had ever worshipped there or attended an event, Galy said: “No. I am a Roman Catholic. The site is strategic. It is more than 120 years old.”
Turning his attention to the National Trust, Galy said: “Not all buildings are good for restoration. The Trust has to understand they cannot save everything. Some of the buildings artists have to draw drawings, put the dates and say these buildings were once part of our landscape.”
Galy added: “Queens’ Royal College (QRC) is a beautifully restored building. I know the Anglican Church (Rev Claude Berkley) is struggling with Hayes Court. Restoration is expensive. Stollmeyer’s Castle is there about 35 to 40 years and they are not fixing it. Mille Fleurs is in need of work.”
He said the Port of Spain hospital’s architecture should be salvaged.
“Gut the inside of the building, fix it but keep it. It is a beautiful building,” said Galy.
When contacted yesterday, Dr Rodger Samuel, Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration, said: “I met with the Trust and the Ministry and the National Trust will be looking into the matter.”
 ‘Derelict’ Greyfriars
Meanwhile, passersby and motorists would have noticed contemporary Greyfriars does not have any window panes, mortar is falling from the blocks and electrical fixtures have been destroyed. While the back gate is closed, the front fence is overgrown with vegetation and the entire building is in dire need of a fresh coat of paint. Pigeons frolic on the rooftop and vagrants sometimes sit outside the entrance begging for alms.

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Greyfriars Church of Scotland – Update

National Trust moves to protect historic Greyfriars Church

By the Multimedia Desk – from the Trinidad Express

THE historic Greyfriars Church of Scotland, in Port of Spain, reportedly sold recently to a private developer, is in the process of being listed by the National Trust, which will give it legal protection.
Conservationists have reacted with alarm over the news that the church would to demolished, with a social media campaign and appeal to have the State step in.
In a press statement yesterday, the Council of the National Trust “noted the public’s concern regarding the sale of one of our architectural treasures, Greyfriars Church of Scotland located on Frederick Street, Port of Spain”.
According to the National Trust: “Prior to its sale the National Trust through its member and technical advisor, the Historical Restoration Unit, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, advised the Town and Country Planning Division as to how this property should be managed as one of our built heritage monuments, in keeping with conservation guidelines. The building is on the Trust inventory and is soon to be listed by law.The National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago is established by law (Act 11 of 1991, amended by 31 of 1999), to oversee the preservation of our built and natural heritage. The major responsibilities of the Trust include the following:-
– Listing and acquiring such heritage property as the Trust deems appropriate;
– Permanently preserving lands that are heritage sites and as far as practicable retaining their natural features and conserving the animal and plant life;
– Preserving, maintaining, repairing and servicing or, arranging for the preservation of heritage property and where such property comprises buildings, augmenting the amenities of such buildings and their surroundings;
– Making provision for the access to and enjoyment of heritage property by the public;
– Encouraging research into heritage property;
– Making the public aware of the importance of our heritage;
– Advising Government on the care of our heritage

The Greyfriars Church of Scotland, is one such heritage property identified on the National Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage as an historical site. It is also one of the sites which is in the process of being listed by law. Once listed, in accordance with Section 8 of the National Trust Act (No. 11 of 1991 and Amendment No. 31 of 1999) the property is deemed a heritage property and is entitled to legal protection.

The first minister, Rev. Alexander Kennedy of Greyfriars Secession Church, Glasgow, arrived in Trinidad on 25 January, 1836 to begin a mission to the newly emancipated Africans. At that time, there were in the town of Port of Spain, the Roman Catholic Church (Immaculate Conception), Church of England (Trinity) and a Wesleyan chapel (now Hanover Methodist Church). Rev. Kennedy opened the first place of worship on 25 September, the same year. This building, soon discarded, was on Cambridge Street (formerly, the section of present day St. Vincent Street from Park Street to Oxford Street). The first moves to build a church in Port-of-Spain were in 1837. The building commenced on 10 April, 1837, with the first service being held on 10 January, 1838. It then opened under the historic name of Greyfriars on 25 January.

The National Trust considers it a matter of great significance to protect and preserve this monument of our heritage and wishes to assure the public that it is working assiduously to safeguard our nation’s heritage.

In addition, the Trust wishes to urge citizens to be aware of other historical structures in their community which may be added to the National Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage.
The Trust encourages all Trinidadians and Tobagonians to join with us in preserving our heritage in any way possible. It is incumbent upon this generation to preserve all aspects of our heritage for the benefit of future generations”.

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