I did this sketch of the Old Police Headquarters in the city of Port of Spain yesterday. I got 4 drawings done… which always feels good. This building has historic significance in Trinidad and Tobago, from its commissioning in 1876 to its destruction by fire (for a second time) in 1990, and its restoration in 2004. Another link >>>
The Port of Spain Police Headquarters, built on St. Vincent Street and commissioned in 1876, was gutted by fire in 1882 as a result of a fire started in the lamp room, and restored two years later. It is polychrome Italian Gothic revival, with machicolations in the parapet of its square tower. The major Gothic arch has interesting subdivisions, with a wheel window located above. In the attempted 1990 coup, the building was again gutted by fire. On the site of this building once stood the barracks of the old West India Regiment which was brought back from Martinique in 1802. It was built in the Italian gothic style of limestone quarried at Picadilly Street in Port of Spain and cost some £90,000 altogether. It was equipped with an iron ball on a flag post, which fell precisely at midday Greenwich mean time. It contained a residence for the head of the force as well as quarters for the volunteer fire brigade and the volunteer corps. At one time, the stipendiary magistrate of Port of Spain held his daily court here.
On July 27th, 1990 there was an attempted coup on the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Led by Abu Bakr and the Jamaat al Muslimeen they invaded The Red House (seat of the country’s parliament), and took the Prime Minister hostage, along with members of his cabinet, government and opposition MPs, and others – some seventeen in all. One small group attacked the Police Headquarters, shot the sentry on duty and detonated a bomb which eventually burned the century-old building to the ground (again).
The building has since then been restored (as seen in photo above) and includes police offices and a Museum of the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service.
Historic Architecture in the Caribbean Islands by Edward E. Crain
Radical Caribbean: From Black Power to Abu Bakr by Brian Meeks
This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.