Above is a drawing of the Audrey Jeffers House a.k.a Sweet Briar House (a three-story, stuccoed, late Victorian house built by the first black resident in St. Clair) by my mentor Colin Laird. The house belonged to an honorable, giving woman and was drawn here by wonderful, giving man.
Firstly, who was Audrey Jeffers? Audrey Jeffers was a woman who worked very hard for the under-privileged people of Trinidad & Tobago. She gave of her time and efforts freely to help others have an easier life. Born into an upper middle class family on Baden-Powell Street, Woodbrook, on the 12th February, 1898, she did not let that deter her from her mission in life; to work for the upliftment of the under-privileged, to dedicate her efforts in their service. She could not accept that some people could live in such good circumstances whilst for the vast majority misery and depression were the order of the day. In 1921 along with young women who shared her vision, Audrey formed the ‘Coterie of Workers,’ a women’s organization for black and colored middle class women. In the opening address, Ms. Jeffers stated: “Our aim is not to copy man, no sensible woman ever wants to do that, but it is rather to see womanly and courageous women, honest-minded and good, making themselves an intelligent counterpart for men.” During her student years in Britain, Jeffers had been one of the founders of the Union of Students of African Descent, later the League of Colored Peoples. During World War I she had served among the West African troops and started a West African Soldiers.
Who is Colin Laird? Colin Laird is in my opinion the best architect in Trinidad and Tobago, and one of the most generous persons I know. In early 1997, I met and started training with Colin Laird after using the Brian Lara Promenade as a case study for one of my classes. Colin taught me about professionalism, ethics, good design, and writing. His proposals read like poetry! I remember asking him what classes he took to learn to write like that… pure poetry I tell you. This poetry is visible in his writings, his love of music, his drawings, and his buildings. I will dedicate the next days posts to Colin, thanking him for his contribution to the art of architecture, the profession of architecture, and to the Caribbean’s built environment. He has given so much to so many people, and continues to today. Colin, you’re the best and a bookmark in my life!
Caribbean Women Writers: Essays from the First International Conference. Contributors: Selwyn Reginald Cudjoe
Abstract Architecture of the day:
This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.