Historian/writer and curator of the Virtual Museum of T&T Angelo Bissessarsingh has received the Citizens for Conservation’s award for his contribution to history in Trinidad and Tobago. The award was presented by Citizens for Conservationby Geoffrey MacLean, an executive member, during Sunday’s Bocas Lit Fest at the San Fernando Hill.
Bissessarsingh has been researching the history of Trinidad and Tobago for the past 20 years and has thousands of following his research online. A student of Naparima College and the University of the West Indies, he has written widely on his pet subject and has been a contributor to several magazines. He has, through his publications and social media with his Virtual Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, shared his knowledge of Trinidad and Tobago’s complex history. His work has appeared in Caribbean Beat magazine and he has written for Bocas magazine (a periodical aimed at the yachting community) for several years. He was a researcher and contributor to the inaugural publication of the UTT Press, “Golconda, Our Voices Our Lives” which was a well-received example of oral history edited by prize-winning novelist Lawrence Scott. He hs also contributed to entries to the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography published by Oxford University Press. His articles in the Trinidad Guardian number in excess of 140 since 2012, these ranging from our social heritage to our built heritage. He has published Walking with the Ancestors – the Historical Cemeteries of Trinidad – which deals with the colonial-era graveyards, a project long in the making. He is soon to launch his second book, “A Walk Back in Times : Snapshots of the History of Trinidad and Tobago”.
|Hayes Court | Photograph: Courtesy Geoffrey MacLean, 17 May 2009|
The plan to build a house for the Anglican Bishop was conceived in 1904 by Mr. Protheroe. In 1908, an anonymous gift of the site by two gentleman enabled construction to begin. Hayes Court was completed by the firm of Taylor & Gillies in 1910.
One of the Magnificent Seven buildings on the Queen's Park Savannah, Hayes Court was named after Bishop Thomas Hayes, although he died in 1904 before the completion of the building. Bishop Hayes had served from 1889 as Bishop to Trinidad. He died in England, in 1904, while preparing to return to the Diocese after a short leave of absence.
Hayes Courts' first occupant was the third Bishop of Trinidad, the Right Reverend John Francis Welsh. The building has traditionally been used as the residence of the Anglican Bishops to Trinidad. The only Bishop not to reside at Hayes Court was Bishop Arther Anstey, who arrived as Bishop to Trinidad in 1918. Bishop Anstey was forced, for financial reasons, to lease the house to the French Consul. The funds from this transaction were used to provide church schools in Trinidad & Tobago.
Hayes Court, as seen from the exterior, appears to be in a relatively sound state. This is probably because the building has been retained for use as a residence and has been consistently occupied and maintained. New structures have been added to the western side of the main house as the offices for the Diocese.