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Bermuda Flag

Bermuda's Sandys Parish

This western area includes Somerset Bridge, Somerset Village and Royal Naval Dockyard

line drawing

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

Sandys Parish

Part of Sandys Parish crest, from Sir Edwin Sandys. His coat of arms, copyrighted by his family, members of which still exist today, is exactly what is shown on Bermuda's Sandys Parish crest. Used with exclusive permission from the copyright owners. Do not copy.

About Sandys Parish

Basic map of the ParishSandys Parish areaBermuda's Architectural Heritage: Sandys. 1999. Bermuda National Trust.

Sandys Parish is the westernmost of all nine Parishes each of the same size, 2.3055 square miles. 

It includes Somerset Island (named after the English county of Somerset, like Somerset in New Jersey 08873, USA and other places with Somerset in their name, like Somerset in Massachusetts). It also includes Boaz Island, Ireland Island and Watford Island. They are all connected by bridges and serviced by buses and ferries. 

It was named in honor of one of Bermuda's Elizabethan patrons, English aristocrat Sir Edwin Sandys (1561-1629). 

He was the second son of the Archbishop of the city of York in England. 

He was a Member of Parliament for Andover in 1586 and accompanied King James on his triumphal progress through England when he ascended the throne on the death of Queen Elizabeth. Sandys was knighted the same year but his royal favor was withdrawn when it was noted he had nonconformist sympathies. He was a member of the Council for Virginia in 1607 and was personally responsible for the emigration of many families. He was also suspected of encouraging republicanism in those places. He joined the Bermuda Company in 1615 as one of the Gentlemen Adventurers who invested to colonize Bermuda. He was the largest shareholder in Sandys Tribe, later this Parish. In 1621 he was imprisoned, nominally for hiding the truth on the appalling conditions in Virginia for colonists at that time, but probably for his Parliamentary speeches that did not please the King. He was released after a few weeks but died in 1629.

Early settlers called the Tribe Mangrove Bay, from the profusion of mangroves. Mangrove Bay is a sightseeing area.  This Parish is both more western in direction than all others and the furthest away from the Bermuda International Airport. It is an expensive taxi ride for visitors.  But it is served by Bermuda Government ferry boats in four places to and from the City of Hamilton. It is a nice ride for visitors. It is also served by public transportation buses.

Constituencies

9 Beaches

Nine BeachesClosed since May 2010.  DiningMeeting RoomDaniel's Head Road, Sandys Parish MA 03, Bermuda. 18 beachfront acres in a national park and reserve area. The property was used exclusively by Canadian Forces from July 1963 to December 1993. In World War 2, the land was a Royal Navy wireless station. The property began in August 2000 as Daniel's Head Village eco-tourism resort. Nine Beaches opened its doors in 2003. It is so-called because there are nine small but choice beaches, in various sizes, there. There are presently 84 soft-sided cabanas - huts - on stilts, all with views of the Atlantic, with 26 entirely over water.

It is one of the two most far off places to stay from Bermuda International Airport, about an hour's drive away.  Re-opened April 2005 and re-vamped after being closed and in receivership. The land is owned by the Bermuda Government and was leased by its agency the Bermuda Land Development Company (BLDC) to IRC - Sandys Limited. Present tenants who have a 240-year lease obtained a Special Development Order on a new Master Plan that will include hotel rooms, condominiums and iconic over-the-water cabanas.

2018. February 28. Daniel’s Head is to be marketed to global developers in a bid to revive the former resort location. The Bermuda Land Development Company Ltd is working with KPMG Advisory Ltd to market the site to potential developers. The site was formerly the 9 Beaches resort. “We are delighted to have access to KPMG’s professionals,” said Francis Mussenden, BLDC’s chief executive officer. “This engagement is part of our work to position BLDC as a facilitator of land development opportunities that will yield significant benefits for Bermuda and its residents.” KPMG’s work will comprise several phases, beginning with an initial assessment of market appetite. The firm will also develop a compelling business case, analyze proposals and support BLDC in finalizing lease terms. “Daniel’s Head is a significant asset for BLDC and Bermuda,” said Stephen Woodward, managing director and sector lead, KPMG Enterprise. “We look forward to helping BLDC attract a global developer, with a successful track record in the hotel and leisure industry, in order to optimize the value of the property.” KPMG will work alongside BLDC property development and marketing manager Michele Renda, who joined the organisation in 2017 to spearhead work on Daniel’s Head, Tudor Hill, and Southside. Mr Mussenden said: “Ms Renda has been a valuable asset to our team. Her experience in marketing, civil construction, and real estate development — and as an accomplished entrepreneur — ensures we have significant insight into the targeting and selection of viable developers.” Ms Renda, who has led a number of private tours for hotel operators, investors and developers in recent months, said: “We have received a great deal of interest in Daniel’s Head since taking possession last year. In particular, a great deal of interest was expressed during the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations conference in November 2017, when every major player from the regional hotel industry was in Bermuda.” Daniel’s Head beach facilities were upgraded in early 2017, and BLDC indicates the site will be open to the public again for the summer season.

2016. May 20. Occupants are to be given two months to vacate the former 9 Beaches property after the Bermuda Land Development Company confirmed that it was applying for a court order. This follows the threat less than a fortnight ago from Francis Mussenden, the BLDC chief executive officer, that IRC Sandys Ltd has run out of time. “Although the Supreme Court awarded BLDC the Writ of Possession against IRC Sandys Ltd in December of last year, the BLDC will give all remaining occupants an additional two months’ notice to vacate the property once the Order for Vacant Possession is granted by the Supreme Court,” he said at the time. “IRC Sandys has sublet the property without the prior consent, authorization or knowledge of BLDC. However, we believe that this is a fair amount of notice for the occupants. BLDC has exhausted all other options and is disappointed that we have had to resort to this, but we have been left with no other choice.” The deteriorating development at Daniel’s Head in Sandys was leased to IRC Sandys six years ago, with plans for an $80 million revamp. However, MPs heard in February from Craig Cannonier, the Minister of Public Works, that the BLDC was instead owed $2.283 million. It was originally hoped for work at 9 Beaches to break ground late in 2011, but the project persistently struggled to secure financing. The eco-friendly resort shut down in 2010

2016. May 11. After years of stalled plans to redevelop the defunct 9 Beaches resort, the Bermuda Land Development Company is preparing to seize the property off its tenant. Francis Mussenden, chief executive officer of the BLDC, said the quango had “exhausted all other options and is disappointed that we have had to resort to this, but we have been left with no other choice”. The deteriorating development at Daniel’s Head in Sandys was leased to IRC Sandys six years ago with plans for an $80 million revamp. However, MPs heard in February from Craig Cannonier, the Minister of Public Works, that the BLDC was instead owed $2.283 million. Mr Mussenden told The Royal Gazette that in the aftermath of the agreement being terminated last year, the courts found in BLDC’s favour to receive judgment for unpaid rent. “The judge also ruled on December 22, 2015, that IRC Sandys Limited must vacate the land,” he added. This Friday the provost marshall, under a court ruling, “will attempt to evict the tenant from the land as they have refused to vacate it following judgment”. Mr Mussenden added that the BLDC planned to put the property on the market “as soon as possible”. David Dodwell, who has a less than 1 per cent holding in IRC Sandys Ltd, last night chose not to comment on the matter. The hotelier is also chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. It was originally hoped for work at 9 Beaches to break ground late in 2011 but the project persistently struggled to secure financing. The ecologically friendly resort shut down in 2010 but is not deserted, with one tenant contacting us last night to say that she was still paying rent on a premises at 9 Beaches — and feared eviction now that a notice had been posted on the site.

2015. October 5. Legal action is now under way over the lease and development agreement for the long-defunct 9 Beaches resort at the West End, which has been unused since 2010. The Bermuda Land Development Corporation (BLDC) is taking developer IRC Sandys Ltd to court over the matter. Hotelier David Dodwell is president of the company and a minority shareholder, holding less than 1 per cent of shares. The majority of shareholders are said to be citizens of the United States. Mr Dodwell is president of The Reefs Hotel and chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA). IRC Sandys, which has no connection to the BTA, has been previously reported as running into financial difficulties, including running into arrears on its rent to the government quango. An $80 million renovation has been repeatedly delayed for the complex of waterside cabanas at Daniel’s Head in Sandys, some of which are showing signs of their age. 9 Beaches is still being maintained, however, with the resort’s website now saying that a $55 million upgrade is expected to have it open again in 2017. IRC Sandys acquired the lease in 2004, picking up from Destination Villages, which in 1999 set about transforming the old Canadian Naval Base into an “eco-village” resort. Asked if it was seeking merely to reclaim the lease or was also intent on getting back arrears, the BLDC said there would be no comment on the case before its conclusion. According to the Ministry of Public Works, the corporation’s board is acting in its capacity to pursue legal action, filed in a writ last month through the law firm Marshall Diel & Myers.

3013. August 24. Still closed. Bermudian hotelier and Tourism Minister David Dodwell is a shareholder in IRC . Last year IRC said it was seeking to pump around $80 million into the resort before reopening, but it was later revealed that the company was running into financial difficulties. Mr Dodwell also runs The Reefs hotel in Southampton, said last December’s general election delayed developments, with both investors and hoteliers waiting to see what would happen. 

2012. October. The owners of 9 Beaches advertised internationally for investor partners to carry out the planned $80 million redevelopment of the resort. The 18-acre West End resort, which closed in 2010, is among at least half a dozen Bermuda tourism properties that are struggling to find investment funding or buyers in the tough global economy. IRC Sandys, which also includes Russ Urban, Mike Mellor, and Tom Childers. Nordica of Canada is a development partner. Mr Dodwell said they decided at this stage to look beyond the group to find additional capital given the tough economic climate. The offering includes the assets and development rights of the 9 Beaches property, including assumption of a 240-year lease from Government, already constructed improvements, a Special Development Order (SDO) and substantial concessions, including tax abatement, duty relief for construction and other materials and additional incentives subject to formal request. Payments for the 240-year lease are $1 million a year for the first seven years and a final payment of BD$8M in year eight, and one nominal “peppercorn” each year thereafter. The current SDO and master plan envisions 69 hotel units and 114 condos available to overseas and local buyers.  The current leaseholders have completed significant work to plan, entitle and master plan a new project on the site aimed at providing a high quality resort for tourists and more affordable purchase options for Bermudian and international buyers, a market segment with high demand and little supply. In 2010, Government approved an SDO for 9 Beaches including density of hotel and hotel/residential units, permission for basic amenities and a baseline understanding between the current leaseholders and the Government regarding infrastructure and quality. The SDO enables the subdivision of the property into six parcels allowing the future sale of developed product and phases.

Albert Row

Dockyard

2019. October 17. A former resident of under-threat historic Dockyard houses pleaded for their preservation yesterday. Roger Bendall, who now lives more than 10,000 miles away in Sydney, Australia, said the crumbling Victorian-era terraced homes in Albert Row should be restored as a memorial to the “heroic” craftsmen who lived there and worked in the former Royal Navy base in the darkest days of the Second World War. Mr Bendall wrote to The Royal Gazette after owners the West End Development Corporation announced earlier that the 16 homes, vacant for six years, would have to be taken off the list of historic buildings and knocked down unless millions of dollars were spent to make them livable again. The quango estimated that refurbishment of the four blocks of houses would cost more than $10 million. Mr Bendall said news of Albert Row’s fate had caused him “great sadness”. He added: “For my brother and for me, the destruction of our childhood home in Albert Row would be a great tragedy — but we believe, too, that for Bermuda it would be missed opportunity.” Mr Bendall said the homes were a symbol of the “epic” experience of life in Bermuda during the war. He explained: “Surrounded by U-boats, and at the mercy of enemy battleships, Bermuda was a soft target, with Dockyard workers and their families living in fear of a battery of attacks on the Dockyard munitions store and the consequent destruction of every building on Ireland Island, including Albert Row.” The buildings, built between 1845 and 1860, were home to families of skilled workers, including shipwrights, seamen and carpenters. Mr Bendall, a member of the Naval Dockyards Society, added: “Albert Row is one of the world’s last remaining examples of a unique form of Dockyard architecture, built specifically in the mid-19th century to accommodate the skilled artisans so essential to the maintenance and performance of an international maritime power.” He said that his father, Alfred “Bill” Bendall, had helped maintain the Atlantic convoys of supplies from the United States to Britain during the war. He was posted to the island in 1936, and the family left in 1950. Mr Bendall added: “Working day and night in life-threatening conditions, these men would take their small craft and tugboats out through the channel and tow sinking ships into safety and onto the floating dock for repair. U-boats sitting on either side of the channel entrance were able to torpedo and disable merchant and naval ships as they passed into and out of the channel. Our father and his workmates went out into the open waters beyond the reef in all weather to rescue the sinking ships and bring them and together with their grateful crews to safety. We know this because our home was replete with gifts from the masters of the US, Royal Navy and merchant marine vessels they saved.” Mr Bendall added the story of the civilian heroes who risked their lives deserved recognition — and could boost tourism. He said: “This is not just the chance to tell a truly heroic narrative, but also the chance to build a commercially successful tourist business. The Dockyard Township including Albert Row offers a unique story that is more relevant and accessible to the tourists of today than the laneways and colonial buildings of St George’s.” Mr Bendall was backed by the Naval Dockyards Society in Britain, which accused Wedco of a failure to invest in the houses and allowed them to “decay by neglect”. Ann Coats, chairwoman of the NDS, added: “That is not responsible management.” Joanna Cranfield, Wedco’s business development manager, said the quango had looked for a developer to take on the terrace for 15 years without success. Ms Coats said Wedco was mandated to care for historic buildings such as Albert Row, which have not been maintained since 2009. A similar block of 19th-century homes, Victoria Row, was demolished in 2016. But Wedco said that Albert Row could still be saved if a deep-pocketed investor came forward. Mr Bendall, a member of the NDS, suggested the homes could be used as an extension of the Dockyard-based National Museum of Bermuda, with the interiors depicting scenes from their history. He added: “Bermuda was our home. Albert Row was the home of generations of men who braved the North Atlantic and made its shipping and its sailors safe. Our father and the generations before him lived in Albert Row and came home to their families with stories of bravery, success, defeat and fear. The preservation of Albert Row should be our tribute to those men and their families.”

2019. October 5. This historic terrace of homes outside Dockyard, built in the 19th and early  0th century by the Royal Navy as basic homes for ratings must either be refurbished or face the wrecking ball, according to the West End Development Corporation. The quango announced that the only other option was to leave the ageing buildings standing, which would be “not only unsightly but also dangerous and unhealthy”, according to Joanna Cranfield, Wedco’s business development manager. In a statement this weekend, Ms Cranfield said that bringing Albert Row up to modern standards would cost more than $10 million, which was “not a financially viable project”. She added that a developer for the buildings had been sought for “at least 15 years”. Organisations including the National Museum of Bermuda, the Bermuda National Trust and the Naval Dockyards Society in the UK have declined to assist. Albert Row has 16, two-bed homes arranged in four blocks. Wedco has stipulated that any plan must include the repair and re-roofing of the buildings, including maintaining their historic appearance. Attempts with various organisations to restore Albert Row date back to 2004. Signs were erected at Albert Row in July to attract developers, with a renewed appeal in September. Ms Cranfield said that Wedco held out hope for “people or organisations out there who will read this and come forward with workable solutions, inclusive of financial commitment”. But she said that without an offer within “a reasonable time frame”, Wedco would have to either leave the buildings derelict, or apply to have the buildings delisted and then apply for a demolition order. She added: “Whilst this is not our preferred choice it now does appear to be the only suitable and sustainable solution.” Wedco provided a timeline showing its restoration efforts:

America's Cup Village at Cross Island

Dockyard. Man-made in 2015-2016. To accommodate mega-yachts. Announced in November 2009 for construction in 2010. To be built under a public private partnership between Wedco and South Basin Development Ltd., a company formed specifically for this project It will include a mix of approximately 200 slips in a variety of sizes, 100 to 250 feet and possibly in excess of 300 feet long, to accommodate both mega-yachts and those smaller in size. The development will be a major step in the continuation of the redevelopment of the area where the former Royal Navy Dockyard was located.

2017. May 19. An eco-friendly business hub could become the new tenant at Cross Island after the America’s Cup sets sail. In a report released yesterday, the Cross Island Legacy Committee — established to find a use for the nine-acre parcel of land currently housing the America’s Cup Village — recommended that it should be used for an “integrated blue/green business hub”. Indoor agriculture, aquaculture and renewable energy would be incorporated, said the committee. Some 300 ideas were submitted by the public, including proposals for water and dog parks, an open-air concert venue — and even a brothel. Wayne Caines, chairman of the committee, said that the recommendation followed “systematic processes. If we take all the elements of this proposal together, we think the overall value is far greater than if you take them individually. The concept could create new jobs and industry alike. It is really important to understand that we are not talking about some grow-out in the backyard here.” The West End Development Corporation originally forwarded plans that could have seen the site transformed to a new home for Marine and Ports operations, a boat service yard with superyacht capacity, and a maritime school. A Supreme Court decision, following an appeal launched by the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce, found deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Assessments completed for the possible redevelopment proposals, however. The ten-member committee was formed by Wedco last year following the court decision. All ideas, the report said, were evaluated based on five criteria: economic, environmental, financial, social/cultural, and structural. Greatest emphasis among the criteria was given to the economic benefit for Bermuda. Multiple benefits from the hub, Mr Caines said, could include international education opportunities. “It will help provide more security, reducing our reliance on imports,” he said. “It will add to the amount of healthy, locally-sourced food products and there may even be some potential for exports.” Jonathan Starling, executive director at Greenrock, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the proposal. “I think what is proposed, in the form of renewable energy helping to reduce Bermuda’s carbon footprint, boosts to local agricultural production and locally produced mariculture, is welcome,” Mr Starling said. Ray Charlton, chairman of Wedco, called the proposal an “interesting idea. We do not yet know if the America’s Cup will be coming back to Bermuda but if, unfortunately, it does not, we want to be in a position to progress with a project for Cross Island that is both in keeping with the area and which adds to the economic well-being of Bermuda.” BEST said that while the report had taken a long time to materialize, its spirit was “admirable”.

Cross Island

Cross Island, Bermuda - home of the 35th America's Cup

America's Cup Grandstand

Bermuda's America's Cup Grandstand on Cross Island, see above story

2017. April 13. America’s Cup organizers are urging people to buy tickets for the Grandstand as soon as possible to avoid missing out. The facility is described as one of the prime positions in the America’s Cup Village, offering views straight over the racecourse finish line and a dedicated large screen showing the races live. It will have a roof to provide shade, and its own exclusive bar at the base of its structure, with drinks and snacks service for guests in their seats. A press release from the ACBDA says demand has already been very high for Grandstand seats and tickets are already sold out on June 17, 18, 24 and 25. Book your place in the Grandstand via www.americascup.com/tickets.

March 9. More than $10 million has been invested in renovating historic buildings at Dockyard ahead of the America’s Cup. The money has been used to make new office space and upgrade homes. Andrew Dias, General Manager at the West End Development Corporation (WEDCO), said: “The work was always in the pipeline but was given fresh impetus as a result an insurance payout from recent hurricanes and the America’s Cup. Many of the buildings being renovated will be used by people from the America’s Cup as well as the ACBDA team, but after that, they will be available to locals. We always wanted Dockyard to be a vibrant, 24/7 place and hopefully these developments will go some way towards that ambition. We are investing an enormous sum of money and we will see the transformation or protection of many buildings. When finished, we anticipate that it will be home to a range of commercial activities adding even more life and more attractions to Dockyard. People will be able to work, rest and play in the Royal Naval Dockyard.” Some of the major restorations include work on Prince Alfred Terrace which is being renovated and restored to apartments at a cost of approximately $4.5 million. Once the renovations, which include a complete interior restoration including additional bathrooms and layout improvements, have been completed, first use will go to the ACBDA until the end of the America’s Cup. The Spar Lane Apartments are being given a new lease of life and once work is finished they will again be used as homes. Moresby House, or HMS Malabar, is being restored and will be office space, the Sail Loft has been restored and will also be available for use after the America’s Cup. The old Police Barracks is enjoying a new life as home to Artemis Racing, one of the teams taking part in the America’s Cup. As well as major work, Wedco has tended to less obvious projects including roof upgrades, asbestos removal and electrical, plumbing and painting work. North Basin Building #10 — the Canvas Shop — on Smithery Lane, has been restored over a four-month period and North Basin Building #14 — West End Yachts — on Camber Road, has been restored. The North Basin Building #3 — the Anchor Restaurant — has also undergone renovation work including a roof replacement. Mr Dias added: “Dockyard is a very important part of Bermuda’s tourism product and it is imperative that we at Wedco do not stand still. We have to continually invest and reinvent ourselves to keep us ahead of the competition.” 

2017. January 18. Rising from the South Basin, Bermuda’s newest landmass and soon-to-be-home for the America’s Cup Village is a hive of activity. Construction crews, asphalt teams and heavy machinery operators are working around the clock, seven days a week, to ensure that Cross Island will meet its mid-May deadline in preparation for the sailing spectacle. Scores of workers from a dozen Bermudian firms are presently involved in the multimillion dollar development, which project managers say will be brought in on schedule. “Last week, 38 containers with the structure of the Club America’s Cup building arrived in Dockyard,” Shane Rowe, head of operations and infrastructure for ACBDA, said. “The containers, which originated in Brazil, are in quarantine on-site at present, but as soon as they are cleared in about two weeks’ time, then work can begin on the Club building. Meanwhile, next week, we have a further 40 containers of grandstands and stages arriving; they will be stored on Moresby Field until we start erecting them.” Parts of Cross Island have already been tarmacked in preparation for the construction of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup headquarters and the Emirates Team New Zealand team base that will begin at the beginning of next month. While the asphalting continues, contractors will also start on the Club building; the main hospitality arena for the event, that will look directly out to The Great Sound over the racecourse. Project manager Richard Noel from BCM McAlpine’s told The Royal Gazette: “The island’s infrastructure is about 80 per cent complete; underground services like water, power and waste water have been installed, but there is still some work to do. October’s hurricane did have an effect on the schedule, but a lot of the damage was cosmetic and required a clear-up operation rather than anything else. All in all, the island stood up well. It was a good test of the work that has been done. It’s going well. We have had our challenges along the way, just like any construction project, but we have worked with the ACEA, the ACBDA and Government to get through them.” The land reclamation phase of the project involved about 140,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the North Channel and 160,000 cubic yards of imported crushed granite being deposited in the South Basin. The aggregate was spread across a nine-acre area and held in position by vast sheet piles that were driven into the seabed to form the boundary of the new island. Power lines and sewage pipes as well as other infrastructure have been installed in recent months, and work to raise the South Arm, which will provide the backbone to the superyacht berths, is ongoing. The bridge linking the island with the mainland has been completed, as has the protective splash wall, while Land Rover BAR is expected to officially open its base in the coming weeks Next month, construction of the Groupama Team France base will begin, while Artemis Racing will move up to their new, smaller base on Cross Island from Morgan’s Point in April. Mr Noel added: “We are 90 per cent there now. But, the last 10 per cent always seems to take the longest time. “We expect it to come together quickly from here and finish on schedule.”

2016. October 7. The first phase of Cross Island — the land reclamation project in Dockyard — has been completed. Economic development minister Grant Gibbons joined key players at the site for a celebration today, with organizers saying they are “ahead of schedule and on budget”. Now that the infill phase is finished, the next part of the project involves installing the infrastructure, including electricity, water, sewage and telecommunications before the new nine-acres of land is handed over to the America’s Cup Event Authority, which will create the Event Village for the 35th America’s Cup. The overall village site will also hold the team bases for Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France, alongside the bases for Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan, which have been operational for some time. Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing will have bases on Cross Island and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, the media centre and the various hospitality facilities will also be located on the infill site. Peter Durhager, chairman of ACBDA, said the project was a collaborative effort between the stakeholders of America’s Cup Bermuda, Wedco, Ministry of Public Works, planning department, construction managers BCM McAlpine and a range of vendors and contractors. Mr Durhager said in a statement: “It wouldn’t have been possible to complete a project of this scale ahead of schedule and on budget without the concerted effort of these agencies. “On behalf of the ACBDA, I would like to thank everyone who was involved in helping us to achieve this significant milestone.” The project began last November when a portion of the South Basin was filled with seven shiploads of granite. The aggregate came to the island on the MV Balder, a specialized ship that allowed the fill material to be offloaded by conveyor belt into the South Basin. The total amount was 310,000 cubic yards of aggregate — 165,000 cubic yards of granite from a quarry in New Brunswick and 145,000 cubic yards from last year’s dredging project by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. That project was part of multiyear contract between Bermuda Tourism Authority and RCCL to accommodate large RCCL cruise ship visits to Dockyard. The Balder was one of the largest vessels to have ever sailed into the South Basin and the process involved two highly specialized tractor tugs to assist the vessel entering and departing. The tugs were assisted by staff from the Department of Marine and Ports. Dr Gibbons stated: “This milestone shows what Bermuda can accomplish when we set our minds to a task and work together. I congratulate and thank everyone involved in ensuring that Bermuda honours our commitments. We are proud of our relationship and partnership with the America’s Cup and look forward to welcoming the remaining America’s Cup teams, sponsors, fans and visitors for the 35th America’s Cup.” The infrastructure portion of the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the Event Village taking shape soon after. While the first use of the space will be for the America’s Cup, a process is under way to ensure the long-term deployment of this land by Wedco for lasting legacy and value. Andrew Dias, general manager of Wedco, stated: “This project had been in the pipeline for quite some time and its completion is a dream come true for Wedco. Our focus going forward is to create a lasting legacy for Cross Island. We have received hundreds of submissions as part of our long-term strategic planning for the further development and use of this wonderful waterfront resource following the America’s Cup and I look forward to helping to make some of those ideas reality.” For more information, visit www.acbda.bm.

2016. July 20. More than 100 suggestions have been submitted on how to use the nine acres of reclaimed land in Dockyard after the America’s Cup next year. But the Cross Island Legacy committee — tasked with generating ideas for the future of the land — want at least another 50 before the deadline closes in less than two weeks. Committee chairman Wayne Caines spoke earlier this week at the Chewstick Open Mic session and will do again this Sunday, appealing to young Bermudians to get involved. “We have addressed many stakeholders, such as BEST and the Chamber of Commerce, and we have been extremely active in reaching out to people on social media,” said Mr Caines. “However, we want to be inclusive in this process and I thought it was important to engage as many young people as possible which is why I went to Chewstick. We want to create a legacy that will help Bermudians for years to come.” After the deadline for submissions, the committee members will score each idea against agreed weightings on a series of objectives. They are:

Financial is weighted 16; economic is weighted at 25; environmental 20; social and cultural is 19.5, and structural is also 19.5. The committee will then recommend the best ideas, or the best combination of ideas, to Wedco, whose board will review and shortlist the ideas further to form part of a public RFP process. Mr Caines said he was convinced that Wedco was committed to carrying out an inclusive and transparent RFP process. “We’re not asking for your proprietary business secrets,” he said. “The ideas we are looking for are at a high level, not necessarily hugely detailed. The detail will come with the RFP submissions. We are being as open and transparent about this process as we can be because we want to engage the community in generating ideas but we also want to see and hear discussions about those ideas. We want to hear what you would support — and you can see them all so far, even an idea for a brothel, on our Facebook page, ‘Cross Island’.”

2016. July 12. By Wayne Caines,  chairman of the Cross Island Legacy Committee.  "It is very rare in Bermuda that nine acres of land suddenly appears on the market waiting for an entrepreneur, or entrepreneurs, to come along. But that’s what is happening at Cross Island, at the Royal Naval Dockyard, and this presents an unheard of opportunity to create a legacy for Bermuda that will benefit the community for decades to come. I accepted an invitation to become the chairman of the Cross Island Legacy Committee because I feel passionately about this country and its future, and saw in this a chance to help to create a game changer that could benefit Bermuda economically and culturally. Cross Island will be the home of the America’s Cup Event Village next year and there is always the possibility that the “Auld Mug” will return to Bermuda in the future, using the same land. However, at some stage, there will be a need for a long-term use and it would be foolish not to plan for that now — and that is what the committee is doing, by asking for the input of the entire community. So far we have had some brilliant ideas: a sports centre, conference centre, a shipping container city for small businesses, a fish farm, and a sailing centre to build on the America’s Cup legacy. All these, if they went ahead, would provide jobs and help to bring investment to the island. That is why this opportunity — I call it “nine acres of opportunity” — is so exciting because it has the potential to further boost Bermuda’s economy, thereby creating jobs and wealth for all of us. Helped tremendously by Deloitte, the committee has been, and will be, asking stakeholders, community groups, professional groups and everyone in between for ideas. If you have not contributed already, you can via www.surveymonkey.com/r/CrossIsland. Importantly, we do not want just your ideas, we also want your input on other people’s ideas — ideally, we would like to get a really good conversation going. You can see and comment on many of the ideas on our Cross Island Facebook page. Please tell us which ideas you support and why, and help us to improve and to develop the ideas that others have already submitted. I also want to emphasise that this process is not necessarily about finding one big idea, one big development. The best solution may be lots of small ideas, so it is inclusive, allowing the average Bermudian a chance to participate and to benefit. The deadline for your submission is July 31. The work of the committee will then start in earnest as we begin to digest and to analyze all the ideas. My fellow committee members are Andy Burrows, from the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Joanna Cranfield, the business development manager at West End Development Corporation, Kirk Outerbridge, from the Department of Works and Engineering, Aideen Ratteray-Pryse, from the Department of Planning, Philip Seaman, of Pj Designs and a member of the Wedco, Elena Strong, from the National Museum of Bermuda, and Jonathan Starling, the executive director of Greenrock. We will all work towards delivering workable ideas to Wedco. The committee will evaluate the benefits and costs of each idea against the following key objectives:

Once that is accomplished, we will pass our short listed recommendations to the Wedco board, which will then review and shortlist the ideas to form part of a public request for proposal process. We are confident that Wedco is committed to carrying out a transparent and inclusive RFP process in the next phase of this exciting endeavour. This is a conversation worth having. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and I hope we will receive 60,000 ideas."

2016. May 26. The next 12 months will involve a flurry of activity in the West End with a further two teams establishing bases in Dockyard and the completion of the America’s Cup Village. Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan have already established their Dockyard bases, while Artemis Racing set up their state-of-the-art base on the tip of the Morgan’s Point peninsula overlooking the Great Sound. Construction of the Land Rover BAR headquarters is expected to begin in September. A month later work on the Groupama Team France base will begin in the same location. The America’s Cup transportation plan to accommodate the huge numbers expected to descend on Dockyard for the event will be finalized in November, while the Security, Health and Safety and On-Water Operations plans will be finalized in December. Preparation for a new transportation hub in Dockyard will begin in the winter along with the purchase and installation of floating docks to provide extra berthing for America’s Cup boats, ferries and support craft. At the start of the new year, super yacht berthing will be established at Dockyard and Hamilton, while in the spring Emirates Team New Zealand will relocate to Bermuda. The America’s Cup Village is expected to be completed by next spring in time for the beginning of racing that will begin in exactly a year.

2016. May 26. The clock may be ticking, but preparations for the America’s Cup push on “ahead of schedule”, with organizers confident Bermuda will deliver a sailing spectacle that will be remembered for generations to come. With just 365 days until the teams sail out into the Great Sound, those behind the island’s successful bid, as well as those who put their faith in the country to stage one of the biggest events in sport, say the event has already provided unparalleled opportunities for children as well as a major boost to the economy. But they insist the legacy and ultimate success of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup 2017 event will depend on buy-in from the whole community. Harvey Schiller, the commercial commissioner of the America’s Cup Event Authority, told The Royal Gazette that Bermudians had stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the rest of the world in preparing for the event. “The level of professionalism has been as good or better than any of the events I have been involved in, including Olympics and World Series,” he said. “The challenge of making it a successful America’s Cup falls on everyone in Bermuda. Everyone wants the chance to stand on the victor’s podium, every Bermudian has the opportunity to do that in a year’s time.” Dr Schiller acknowledged that the ACEA could have done a “better job” telling people about Bermuda after the island was awarded the event. But he maintained the Bermuda brand had received global exposure during World Series events. “To have a successful sporting event you need three things: firstly, security, and we could not have chosen a safer place in the world. We are in the right place on and off the water,” he said. “Secondly, the right field of play, and we have the perfect racecourse. Thirdly, much depends on how the media react and that has all been very positive.” Meanwhile, Mike Winfield, chief executive of America’s Cup Bermuda, revealed preparations were ahead of schedule and that he was confident the island would deliver “the type of venue to the levels of excellence required. We have to have the entire population of Bermuda working towards putting on this event and put aside any naysaying and negativity and work towards a single goal." Both Mr Winfield and Dr Schiller hailed the significance of the Endeavour programme and establishment of a Bermuda team for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, which they said had ensured America’s Cup opportunities had trickled down through the community. Dr Schiller said: “For any sport to be relevant in the future you have to engage the younger generation. The things that have been done in Bermuda engaging with that generation are providing a model for other countries around the world. That is an important part of the future of sailing and a legacy that everyone should have pride in.” Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, added: “The Endeavour programme is being offered to every M1 student in Bermuda. It teaches science, technology, engineering, art and maths through sailing. Already more than 800 students have participated. By adopting the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Team BDA, Oracle Team USA is supporting the ambition of 15 remarkable young Bermuda athletes, some of whom had very little prior exposure to sailing. Now they have an extraordinary opportunity to represent their country on the world stage.”

2016. May 12. The public is invited to a meeting to discuss the future use of Cross Island in Dockyard once the America’s Cup is over. The West End Development Corporation will host the event on Monday, May 16, at the Chamber of Commerce building in Hamilton at 7pm. Andrew Dias, general manager for Wedco, said: “For Bermuda, this is a large area of land and we want to ensure that we get as much input and as many ideas as we can before we decide which option we feel is the best. “We stated at the last public meeting that all options are on the table and that is still very much the case. We also said that the intent was for any new use to be long-term, and to be financially viable, and that also remains the same.” An original plan for the area included a marine college, the relocation of Marine and Ports, West End Yachts Ltd and a yacht marina, but was reconsidered after the Bermuda Government overturned the approved use. Wedco then set up a subcommittee to explore other options for the site while launching a public consultation process. Mr Dias added: “We are trying our best to ensure as many people as possible, and not just those in the West End, have a say on the use of this incredibly important piece of land and we hope people will turn out for the meeting and add constructive comments.” The public can also contact the subcommittee by e-mail on marketing@wedco.bm to propose ideas or request further information.

2016. April 1. All options are on the table for the future use of Cross Island once the America’s Cup is over, according to Wedco. Andrew Dias, the general manager at Wedco, told attendees at a public meeting intended to garner feedback, that the intent was for the any new use to be long-term, and to be financially viable. “All options are on the table, but it must be financially viable and it must fit in with the overall Wedco plan for Royal Naval Dockyard,” said Mr Dias. “This is ground level day one and we have no predetermined usage at this point.” The original plan for the Cross Island property, which will house the America’s Cup Event Village, included a marine college, the relocation of Marine and Ports, the relocation of West End Yachts Ltd and a yacht marina, once the 2017 event is complete. However, those plans must be reconsidered due to the decision to overturn the approved use. Wedco subsequently established a subcommittee to look at other options for the site and launched a public consultation process to gain public feedback. Mr Dias said Wedco was investing $39m into the reclamation project, but that any use will require additional cost and will have to generate considerable revenue to service debt on the creation of the nine acres of new land. He added: “It will be an ongoing process to get to a point where we have some definite ideas to review and we will assess them. We will then go back to the public and say ‘this is where we are headed’ before proceeding with the planning process.” Further public meetings will be take place in Hamilton and Sandys, and interested persons can contact the subcommittee tackling the issue at marketing@wedco.bm to provide suggestions or request additional information.

2016. March 24. Steel sheet piles are methodically and meticulously driven into the South Basin seabed as the island’s largest excavator trundles over vast mounds of aggregate effortlessly moving material into position. Meanwhile landscapers, engineers, structural crews and heavy machine operators are busily shaping Bermuda’s newest landmass that is set to form the foundations of the America’s Cup village for next year’s event. Steady progress continues on the nine-acre West End site, which has already employed hundreds of workers and scores of local firms since work began last year. Yesterday, The Royal Gazette was given the first glimpse of the multimillion-dollar project from ground level as preparations for work on the new French and Japanese team bases begins. “There’s about 40 workers on site today but the number fluctuates depending on what is going on,” said Richard Noel, BCM McAlpine’s project manager for the South Basin. The sheet piles are being driven down into the seabed that will provide the boundary for the new land. So far we have done about 400 of the 2,500 that have been imported. This part of the project is expected to be completed by the end of May.” The land reclamation project has involved about 140,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the North Channel and 160,000 cubic yards of imported crushed granite being deposited in the South Basin. At the time, a large sediment cloud formed around the spot where the aggregate was deposited, however, since that time water has cleared and fish and marine life appears to have returned to the waters surrounding the development. “There were obviously concerns about the environmental impact of the work at the time,” Mr Noel said. “However, we have quickly seen shoals of fry, red snappers and even hogfish in the waters around the site.” In the coming months the ground level of the site is expected to be raised by another 2ft to 3ft, while a splash wall will be constructed all around the perimeter of the peninsula to provide protection against the elements. The mounds of aggregate and dredged material will slowly be leveled out and moved up against the wall of sheet piles in the coming months, however, one old structure will remain intact throughout the process. The old Magazine Building on the existing arm that reaches out into the Great Sound is a protected building and although surrounded by metal fences at present, it will be upgraded and incorporated into the America’s Cup village. The development team is hoping that the reclamation project will be completed by the end of June, at which time services such as electricity, sewage and data will be fitted. “We have had some challenges with the weather along the way,” said Maurice Caines, BCM McAlpine’s site superintendent. “Last year we had some pretty high winds up here — about 35 to 40 knots. There have also been some interesting finds in the dredged material: we came across a large anchor and an old artillery shell that we gave to the museum.” Adam Barbosa, project manager for the ACBDA, told The Royal Gazette he was looking forward to the completion of the project. “America’s Cup Bermuda is proud that we have numerous contractors and vendors providing services and gaining experience from creating the infrastructure for the America’s Cup event village,” he said. “There have been more than 200 workers employed on the project and more than 50 companies involved. It’s a great opportunity of Bermuda pulling together to produce this large-scale development.”

2016. March 7. The public is being invited to help shape the future of reclaimed land at Dockyard after its use as an Event Village for the America’s Cup is over. The West End Development Corporation’s creation of nine acres of reclaimed land, known as Cross Island, is well under way, with seven loads of fill having already been delivered by ship. Infrastructure and utilities such as power, potable and grey water, lift stations and communications, will soon be put in place after which the area will be prepared for the upcoming America’s Cup 2017 Event Village as an interim use. Joanna Cranfield, Wedco’s Business Development Manager, said: “As has been well publicized, the end use for Cross Island was removed and Wedco must now determine the best use for this area post America’s Cup. Approval for the project was first announced in 2009 as part of a public-private partnership. The plan as originally announced included a marina with a mix of approximately 200 slips in a variety of sizes to accommodate both larger and smaller vessels. Marine support and club facilities were also to be included, as well as provision for a Marine College to provide the necessary education to Bermudians to enable them to choose a marine career. Marine and Ports were also to lease a portion of the new facility, using it to house all of its ferries and tugs. It was unfortunate that this plan cannot go ahead as originally planned but we understand and respect the reasons. Now we have to look to the future and we hope that as many people as possible attend the public meeting and we look forward to the ideas that they might bring to the table.” Wedco will hold the meeting on March 23, from 7pm to 8pm, upstairs at the Clocktower Mall to share further information on Cross Island, its roots and subsequent creation.

America's Cup Village preparations

2016. February 26. The America’s Cup village site will be handed over to the AC Event Authority five months ahead of schedule, MPs heard this morning. The infill in Dockyard’s South Basin has taken in 310,000 cubic yards of material in the last few months, Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, told the House of Assembly. Dr Gibbons said the reclamation project required a ship larger than any that navigated the South Basin before. The project is now going into its second phase with the installation of sheet pile walls. Twenty local companies were involved in the infill with the main contractor, Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting. Sixty local workers were employed. “In addition, some 390 Bermudian workers have been gainfully employed in America’s Cup related projects in Dockyard, valued at over $4.9 million,” Dr Gibbons said. Team members for the event, now less than 500 days away, number roughly 160 on the island at present, with more than 170 family members. Since April 2015, Oracle, Artemis and Softbank Team Japan cumulatively spent more than $10.2 million on their team base operations.

2016. February 2. Sir Russell Coutts, the America’s Cup Event Authority chief executive, has given the developers of the America’s Cup Village in Dockyard a huge vote of confidence. Work on the nine-acre infill in the South Basin site is way ahead of schedule, with the final load of seven shiploads of granite having been deposited, and the next phase of installing sheet piles along the perimeter to commence this month. “That’s a first in my experience for the America’s Cup,” Coutts said. “I’ve never heard of the America’s Cup Village being ahead of schedule, so big tick for Bermuda there. It’s a first because there’s always difficulties and no doubt the people here have had some difficulties along the way. But, I must say, there’s an incredible attitude of being able to overcome those problems in a sensible way, and that’s what I’m sensing and witnessing here in Bermuda, and it’s great. It’s a can-do attitude here and we are seeing it with the development of the America’s Cup Village. The fact the America’s Cup is here and all of the positives around it, it’s great to be able to help bring that to Bermuda. By the same token, I think the America’s Cup is really fortunate to have Bermuda as well. The Bermudian community is very, very enthusiastic, very supportive and it’s great to work in an environment like that.” The nine-acre infill will be created with 310,000 cubic yards of aggregate once the land reclamation phase of the project is completed later this year. Once completed, the purpose-built event village will offer what officials say will be “an unparalleled viewing experience” along with infrastructure to support and service the sailing teams and spectators. “I think there’s tremendous progress already and by the middle of this year much of the America’s Cup village will be finished and the most exciting [thing] is yet to come,” Coutts said. Bermuda will host the America’s Cup qualifiers, challenger play-offs and America’s Cup final between May and June 2017. Meanwhile, the preparations of the teams will intensify this year as the 35th America’s Cup draws nearer. “Just as you are seeing the facilities ramping up here, Bermudians are going to see a lot more of the teams arriving here and practising in earnest, even these early months in 2016,” Coutts said. "Softbank Team Japan is already sailing there boat, Oracle Team USA is about to launch their second boat soon, Artemis Racing is about to start sailing their two boats soon, so pretty quickly the Great Sound is going to be crowded with America’s Cup boats. That, in itself, is going to be a big change for the locals once that starts to become a regular activity and even the amount of new people arriving on the island.”

2016. January 27. “Significant opportunities” lie in store for a nine-acre island created at Dockyard for the America’s Cup village after its six weeks of use are concluded. The first of two public meetings soliciting feedback for its environmental impact assessment, held last night in the Anglican Cathedral, heard a strong argument in favour of putting a sailing academy on the site. Multiple options are possible for the village after the 35th America’s Cup concludes in June 2017, according to Christine Rickards, the senior land use planner for Bermuda Environmental Consulting, Ltd (BEC). BEC is the agency carrying out the consultation for the assessment. Mike Winfield, chief executive officer of the ACBDA, said that the West End Development Corporation had initially intended to convert the village site to a boatyard — an option that had later been taken off by the courts. The meeting, attended by about 30 members of the public, heard that while the village would be the best spot to watch the races, there would be good viewing through Dockyard and from vantages such as Spanish Point. “This America’s Cup is focused on a different set of parameters,” Mr Winfield said. “One of the reasons Bermuda won the bid is because we bring a new experience.” Rather than shuttling spectators from location to location as usually occurs at the event, crowds next year will have a good overview of all the different races from the main vantage. Planners hope to make heavy use of water transport, as well as shuttles from peripheral parking sites. While private boats will not be able to congregate at the village, locations such as Mangrove Bay may be used. The meetings are aimed at laying out the draft master plan for the America’s Cup before it is submitted to the Department of Planning, but also to solicit feedback and comment. A second meeting will be held at 6pm today in Dockyard, at Oracle Team USA’s base off Freeport Drive.

Beaches

For a complete listing island-wide of beaches by Parish, see Beaches of Bermuda.

Black Baywalking area. An alternative to Snorkel Park, adjoins Sea Glass Beach just before the main entrance to the Dockyard. A scenic public area with several small public beaches more apparent when the tide is low, on the northern side of Malabar Road, Ireland Island South. Bus routes # 7 (Dockyard) and # 8 stop in the immediate area. The Black Bay Beach and Park concession provides another attraction for the thousands of Dockyard cruise passengers. Owned by  entrepreneur Vic Ball, it offers seasonal snorkeling around the scenic chain of beaches, and rents hammocks, inflatables, chairs and umbrellas. Some food and drinks are also available. 

Callaghan Baywalking area. A pretty little public beach, just off Somerset Road, where Ratteray Lane and West Side Road begin. The # 7 (Dockyard) or # 8 bus stop here. Or you can ride a moped north along West Side Road. If so, this is the first beach to encounter.

Cambridge Beaches. King's Point. Five small beaches, all private, for guests at the distinctive property of the same name. Very nice.

Church Baywalking area. The second (after Callaghan Bay) pretty little public beach you come across, if you're sightseeing on foot or via a moped north along West Side Road, off the Somerset Road.

Daniel's Head walking area. In World War 2, the land was a Royal Navy wireless station. A 17 acre coastline area today, Canadian Forces had a military base here from July 1963 to December 1993. They had no facilities for aircraft, but with close ties with the American scientists monitoring Soviet submarines from Tudor Hill in Southampton, they could use of helicopters. No trace of them remains now. The land reverted to civilian tourism use. Destination Villages of the USA opened the $13.5 million Daniel's Head Village cottage tent resort, with 135 units. It was owned by Americans Stanley Selengut and Lew Geyser. But it later closed and reopened under a new name, Nine Beaches, also with new owners. The new name is because of the number of small beaches there, of which this one public and the nine smaller ones are private, hotel-owned.

Mangrove Baypublic buseswalking area

Mangrove Bay 1

Number 1 on a Bermuda National Parks and Reserves map from a Visitors Service Center. Bus routes # 7 (Dockyard) and # 8 stop here by request. It is a serene and photogenic bay, public beach and former smugglers' harbor, in a sea park.  It has a picturesque country village, Somerset Village, in the immediate area.  It is safe and nice for fishing, sailing, swimming and having a scenic picnic. Until May 2006, when the Bermuda Government demolished it, there was a public dock building here, which serviced the crew and actors working on the film "The Deep." It was once a ferry point for those going to Cambridge Beaches.

Parsons Bay. Craddock Road, Ireland Island. Public. Small, interesting, off the beaten track.

Snorkel Park. Dockyard. One of the very few in Bermuda with bathroom facilities and restaurant. Popular with tourists from cruise ships.

Somerset Long Bay Beaches and Park

Somerset Long Bay

Enter via Long Bay Lane off the Somerset Road. Note that bus routes 7 and 8 will take you only part of the way. Go the rest of the way by one of the ways shown in Transportation for Visitors. A far nicer spot for cruise visitors whose ship is moored at King's Wharf than at any beach at Dockyard. Toilet facilities are primitive but the location is free and splendid for a picnic.  The shallow waters of Somerset Long Bay Beach are safe for swimming, snorkeling and bone fishing. There is a Bermuda Audubon Society bird sanctuary. The mangrove pond attracts local and overseas species.

Willowbank. Ely's Harbor. Two nice private beaches once enjoyed by guests at Willowbank (no longer a hotel).

Wreck Hill. Ely's Harbor. Some gorgeous but only private beaches for residents of this exclusive area.

Bermuda Arts Centre public buseswalking area

Bermuda Arts Centre

Dockyard, in the Old Cooperage building - building # 28 - (originally built by the Royal Navy in 1831 for navy storage). It is the creative workshop of local (Bermudian and resident foreign) artisans and artists, open 7 days a week. It was established in 1983 by the West End Development Corporation, a Bermuda Government quango, when Christopher Astwood, then WEDCO chairman, was keen to include the arts in the redevelopment of the Dockyard area. In 1984, it was formally opened by Her Royal Highness (the late) Princess Margaret, during her visit to Bermuda. Workshops are also offered both artists and visitors, to upgrade skills and introduce new techniques. Crafts and handicrafts are also included. It began in April 1987 when what was then known as the Bermuda Craft Market opened in the Cooperage building in Dockyard as a retail venue specifically designed to showcase locally-made crafts such as cedar work and jewellery. The ambience was that of a rustic marketplace, with wooden barrels and other bric-a-brac dotted among the merchandise displays. Artists and artisans were on hand to sell their goods, and some also demonstrated their craft. Ideally located to catch the tourist trade, the Centre was also popular with resident shoppers in search of locally made goods. It was run entirely as a co-operative, with each crafter renting their their stall, and thrived.

Bermuda Fun Golf

A new mini-golf course family and visitor attraction that opened in Dockyard in 2013, featuring 18 holes over an acre, plus a waterfall, lush vegetation and saltwater fish ponds. Located in the former Sallyport landfill site, next to the Snorkel Park. It is accessed from the Snorkel Park tunnel. While considered mini golf, it is a larger course, caters to all ages, and is much more challenging and will test everyone’s ability to get a hole-in-one, its developers say. Its 18 holes represent challenging holes from golf courses in Bermuda, Scotland and the US. The putting greens are all made of synthetic turf. Liquor licence. 

Bermuda Maritime Museum

See National Museum of Bermuda

Bermuda Sailors Home Seafarers' Centre

Serpentine Road, Hamilton.

019. August 8. The Bermuda Sailors’ Home has opened a new centre in Dockyard to cater for the crews of cruise ships. Ilya Cherapau, manager at the Bermuda Sailors’ Home in Hamilton, said the Seafarers’ Centre was a logical move because of the distance between Dockyard and the home, on Serpentine Road, Hamilton. He added: “This Dockyard expansion was an organic thing to do. Even if they know where this place is and we provide everything, even if we pay for their trip, it may still be impossible for them to come because the time they have off is limited.” Mr Cherapau said that the new centre, expected to be open until the end of cruise ship season in October, opened last month without publicity, but had already attracted up to 50 crew members a day. He added: “The official ceremony was on July 29, but on the 20th I stopped by to see how it was going. We hadn’t advertised it, just put a little sign outside to say it was a Seafarers’ Centre. They showed me the log book and I was shocked. Without telling anyone, just by putting the sign out, we had between 30 and 50 people daily registering and using the facility.” The centre, behind Media Lounge Cinema and managed by its owners, was designed to give crews from visiting ships the chance to sit down, go online and communicate with their families overseas. Francis Richardson, the CEO of the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority, said the centre was an important addition to services for sailors on visits to the island. He added: “They make great sacrifices by working at sea. Many of them are leaving home for long periods of time, they miss important and significant milestones like anniversaries, birthdays and sometimes even the birth of their own children. It’s a tough world. There are upsides to it, but it is certainly a sacrifice. Having a facility where they can come ashore and feel a bit at home is extremely important and in Bermuda during the summer season, we have a large volume of crew on the island.” Shakira Hayward, also of the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority, added: “When you are on a ship, all you want to do is keep in contact with your family members. You get a lot of seafarers with wives, husbands and children. They want somewhere safe and somewhere clean to reach out to their families.” Mr Cherapau added it was hoped that the centre could be operated for every cruise season. He explained: “This is the first year and we didn’t quite know how everything was going to work out. There were several things that could go wrong, but I think for a first year it’s a great success both for us and the seafarers. Because we had no idea what the feedback would be and it involves a financial commitment, we said let’s open for a limited time and set aside three months of funds. The Mission to Seafarers, an international charity who serve merchant crews, financed another month of operation, so it will go to October, which is pretty much the end of the cruise season.” Mr Cherapau added: “Next year, we will look to see how much funds we can guarantee and we will try to reach out to the local and international community to see if we can fund the full season.” He said the Seafarer’s Centre could offer additional services to seafarers, such as shuttle buses and the ability to use the centre as a mailing address, if sufficient funds were available.

Bethell's Island

See Islands below 

Boaz Island

See Islands below 

Bus routes in Sandys Parishpublic buses

Visitors and new residents who use the Bermuda Government pink and blue buses should always first obtain a free copy of the schedule, to know when the service operates, when it stops and what fares apply.

Cambridge Beaches Resort 4-starDiningMeeting RoomPoolTennispublic bus

Cambridge Beaches Resort, Bermuda

30 King's Point Road, Somerset, Sandys Parish, MA 02. Phone 1- 800-468-7300 in USA or 1-800-463-5990 in Canada or directly at (441) 234-0331. Fax (441) 234-2252. Stunning location on it's own 25-acre peninsula on the westernmost end of Bermuda, furthest away from the airport. Overlooks Mangrove Bay and Long Bay, in a magnificent, exclusive, private site. From $595 a night including breakfast but periodically with a free night with a qualifying stay. For the affluent, up-market visitor on business or vacation, who are demanding and have high expectations. Bermuda's first cottage colony with one cottage about 300 years old.  For tennis, there are 3 all-weather courts, 1 lit (for a fee). It has five small private beaches at King's Point, Mangrove Bay Terrace and Long Beach Cafe for informal meals, Tamarisk Room for formal dining restaurant. Buses do not serve this property. Nor does the regular Bermuda Government Department of Marine and Ports ferry service catamaran vessels. But there is a frequent complimentary ferry service for guests only directly, non-stop, to and from the City of Hamilton. . 

Accepts American Express cards. Bermuda's first cottage colony with one cottage about 300 years old.  For tennis, there are 3 all-weather courts, 1 lit (for a fee). It has five small private beaches at King's Point, Mangrove Bay Terrace and Long Beach Cafe for informal meals, Tamarisk Room for formal dining restaurant. Buses do not serve this property. Nor does the regular Bermuda Government Department of Marine and Ports ferry service catamaran vessels. But there is a frequent complimentary ferry service for guests only directly, non-stop, to and from the City of Hamilton

2016. January 9. A battle to secure visitors made 2015 a difficult year for Cambridge Beaches, according to general manager Clarence Hofheins. While the resort was able to increase its occupancy over the summer months by lowering room rates, the move only increased the site’s cost to operate. “It has been a real struggle for all of us,” Mr Hofheins said. “We were hoping that we would see an increase and we haven’t seen that. We had to literally struggle through the year.” Mr Hofheins said 2015 started positively, but increased competition from the larger hotels during the summer proved to be costly. “Our biggest thing is in the summer months, when we make our money, our business is linked not just to occupancy but to rate,” he explained. “What happened this summer was some of the large hotels had a lot of inventory that was not filled up with the group business that they have had in the past. They had to jump in and fight for our business. They went out with an aggressive rate, which drove the rates down for everywhere else. Here at Cambridge Beaches we had to make a decision whether we were going to try to hold our rate or if we were going to compete, and we chose to compete. We actually increased our occupancy, but we had to give up a significant amount of rate on a daily basis to get that business. I’m afraid that it’s going to happen every year now. We are hoping that next year the bigger hotels do have more group business than they did this time, but we have to prepare ourselves if that doesn’t happen and we have to continue to fight in the summer for these guests. We need to make changes to adapt to that, and it’s all about trying to cut costs.” Hotel manager Richard Quinn added: “While we’re dropping down our rates, our operational costs aren’t lower at all. We’re operating at a higher cost for a lower revenue base.” Moving forward, Mr Quinn said the resort plan to continually reinvest in their facilities to ensure a quality experience for guests. “That’s particularly important given the age of the plant,” he said. “We’ve been here since 1947.” Mr Hofheins said the resort has been working to promote itself locally as well as internationally, noting that their Monday night barbecues have proven popular among residents. He also said that management are working hard to ensure visitors get value for money. “Even if people have the money, they want to make sure that whatever they are spending they are getting a good value,” he said. “We have got to have a product that matches our rates, so we are renovating our rooms, our common areas, some of our restaurants, all to be able to compete in 2016 and 2017, with the America’s Cup coming.” Mr Hofheins said he is optimistic about the potential impact of the prestigious event, particularly because of the resort’s proximity to Dockyard, adding that they did receive a boost in visitors from the World Series event in October. Casinos could also make a difference to business, he said, although he added that he does not believe that Cambridge Beaches would qualify as a casino site. “One way or the other, I would love to see a casino in the west end,” he said. “If it’s in Dockyard, or somewhere by Port Royal or the Fairmont Southampton, that would be great. That’s fine for us.” Both Mr Quinn and Mr Hofheins said that they would welcome the construction of new hotels, saying that such investments in the industry would help increase flights to the Island. “We need a bigger room base to attract more flights,” Mr Hofheins said. “That’s what airlines want. It’s competition for us, but it builds on the perception of Bermuda. If you look at 2007 and 2008, we had all that building going on. We had Newstead, Tucker’s Point, The Reefs. Granted, the recession hit, but 2007 and 2008 were the best years for Bermuda. If we can get some of those other hotels building, it would be great.”

Casemates

Casemates barracks 1941

Casemates barracks (centre) in 1941, with Royal Navy ships berthed nearby during World War 2.

Casemates Marine BarracksCasemates circa 1880Casemates tunnel

One of the most important historic buildings of the Dockyard. Casemate Barracks was so named for it was a barracks and upper and lower ordnance building. Also, it's roof, being vaulted in brick and concrete some eight feet thick, was built to make it bomb-proof against the incoming cannon balls and mortar shot of the day. The second-oldest building in Dockyard after Commissioner's House. It was built in the late 1830s originally as a barracks for the Royal Marines Light Infantry stationed at the Royal Naval Base partly for fear of retribution by the United States after the War of 1812, partly also to guard the dockyard against any prisoner insurrection. Their primary purpose was to man the guns and defend the dockyard. 

Royal Marine Light Infantry

Royal Marine Light Infantry in Bermuda

Casemates Barracks/Prison hallwayThe well that forms the roof has unparalleled views of the Dockyard to the northeast and the building, given its construction, could have been converted into a fort. Hundreds of British convicts worked on this building alone, as one of the Dockyard buildings built by the thousands of convicts sent to Bermuda for penal servitude, living in pitiful conditions on hulks of former British naval warships crudely reworked to house the imported British felons. The two storied building was designed to house 13 officers and 307 men from the marine defense complete with officers rooms, a mess, canteen and offices. The roof of the building with vaulted ceiling (called a casemated roof, hence the name Casemate Barracks) is eight feet thick, made of bricks and concrete so that it could withstand enemy bombings and cannon shots. The walls of the building are also several feet thick and made of hard limestone rocks.  The northwest rampart (the wall that runs behind the ship building yard) and the bridge connecting the wall are of special interest. They could view the prisoners at work or in breaks. This walkway was a lookout for soldiers before becoming a water catch in the 1930s. In 1848, it was the barracks in Bermuda of the men of the Black Watch the British Army's famed 42nd Regiment of Foot known as the Highlanders, who both provided security and guarded the British prisoners building the Dockyard. 

In 1951 when the dockyard lost its significance as the Royal Naval base and the British Royal Navy left the island, Casemates was left vacant until it was developed into Bermuda’s maximum security prison in 1961. It remained as the main prison for decades until 1995 when a new prison Westgate was built on Pender Road just outside the Dockyard.

2019. January 9. Bermuda’s former prison is to be reborn as a history research centre, the executive director of the National Museum of Bermuda said yesterday. Elena Strong said the Casemates buildings in Dockyard would be used to focus on “the Atlantic World from 1415 to 1945”. She added: “The concept is to establish a multidisciplinary research facility at Casemates comprising a consortium of universities from the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Africa, which will operate under the umbrella of the NMB.” The museum, formerly called the Maritime Museum, acquired the Casemates property from the Bermuda Government in December 2009. The complex was once a barracks for the Royal Marine guards until The Royal Navy departed Bermuda in the 1950s, and then a maximum-security prison from the late 1950s to 1994. The building has been under restoration for years, but the new concept was outlined as Ms Strong laid out initiatives under the museum’s ten-year plan. She said the plan was designed to boost Bermudian knowledge of history and the island’s cultural assets, strengthen research and make the NMB “a must-see museum”. The new centre will also be used to build on education, including teacher training and schools programmes. Ms Strong said the education strategy would guide the “learning landscape” of the museum down to publications, research and collecting. The former curator and deputy director at NMB took over the top job a year ago after Edward Harris retired. Ms Strong said that her biggest challenge had been repairs needed after four hurricanes hit the island from 2014 to 2016. She added the storm strikes were “the worst disaster in the museum’s history”. Ms Strong said that the museum had now “emerged from the cloud of disasters”.

2008. A team of volunteers discovered a major piece of local heritage, buried in the lower yard of the Casemate Barracks complex. The feature proved to be a tunnel large enough for two soldiers to walk abreast in and runs underneath an existing building and courtyard for some 60 feet. Open at the southern end (after the accidental removal of concrete slabs covering an entryway), the tunnel is blocked with brickwork at its northern extremity. Its roof is close to the surface at that end and it is surprising that it was not broken into during the demolition of the visitors' centre of Casemates prison times. The tunnel was extremely well built in both types of Bermuda stone, the soft of house construction and the hard rock, used at the Dockyard, some of the forts and in wharves in early times. It was clearly meant for people to transit and contained three vent holes in the roof. Such ventilators in that type of construction are usually associated with passages under the ditches of fortifications; the holes would vent the tunnel to the open air in the floor of the ditch. Two of the ventilators are cleared, but have the floor of the 1845 Casemated Ordnance Stores blocking them at the top, and the third, to the north, is corked with concrete from the construction of the visitors' centre. Through all of the ventilators, an attempt was made to fill up the tunnel with soil, sand and rubble, probably in the early 1840s, before the building of the Ordnances Stores. On either side of the Casemates Barracks was an ordnance yard and there are still found the gunpowder storage buildings, or magazines. The one to the southeast later became the bakery of the Dockyard and saw its last use as the visitors' entry block into Casemates, the prison from 1963 to September 24, 1994, now replaced by the Westgate Correctional Facility. See more historic details in the Royal Navy Dockyard. In 2009, the Cabinet of the Bermuda Government approved the handover of Casemates Barracks and its surrounding buildings to the Bermuda Maritime Museum (BMM) on a 99-year lease from the West End Development Corporation (WEDCo) to form the Bermuda National Museum. Now this building at the west end of Bermuda has become the Island's national museum. 

Casemates 03Casemates 02 Casemates

Bermuda stamp Casemates Dockyard 2011

Bermuda Stamp Casemates Dockyard 2011

Bermuda stamp Casemates Dockyard 2011

Bermuda stamp Casemates Dockyard 2011

Bermuda postage stamps featuring Casemates, 2011. 

Cathedral Island

See Islands below.

Cathedral Rocks

Cathedral Rocks

Gibb's Point, southwest corner of Somerset Island and a most unusual tourism feature of Bermuda somewhat in the manner of the Lorelei Rock on the Rhine in Germany and probably just as geologically old. The waters of Ely's Harbour are adjacent. So-called because the curious shape of this coral formation resembles a Gothic or earlier German DOM (Catholic Cathedral), such as the famous DOM in Cologne. Contrary to popular belief, nearby Cathedral Island was not named in honor of Cathedral Rocks. The scene has been much-photographed by intrigued visitors. A striking photo for the visitor who wants to rent a sailboat or Boston whaler in Ely's Harbour. 

Cavello Bay

Named after the Bermudian way of describing a species of fish once found in abundance nearby. A pretty and secluded area, a picturesque inlet on the south east shore of Somerset Island, popular with artists. See Islands below.

Cavello Bay Ferry Dock

Long Point Lane and Scott's Hill Road. One of the Bermuda Government-operated public transportation Ferry stops on the Hamilton Dockyard route.

Clocktower and Clocktower Mall

2019. July 8. The clock is ticking once again in Dockyard after restoration work by a master clockmaker. The Victorian clock was restored by Edward Cloutman, from Wales, who volunteered his time. The National Musuem of Bermuda said the antiquarian horologist first repaired the clock 13 years ago. Dr Cloutman reported that the clock was in “excellent condition”. It has been maintained by the museum’s facilities manager, Andrew Harris, on a schedule developed by Dr Cloutman during his earlier visit. The schedule sets out a strict checking, oiling, greasing and cleaning regime. Dr Cloutman said: “The clock has given very little trouble over the years and has kept good time.” The clock was made by John Moore & Sons of Clerkenwell of London in 1856 and drove four dials which kept time for the Royal Naval Dockyard for 100 years. It was first installed in the south turret of the Clocktower Mall. The clock is no longer where it was originally. It was moved to what was then known as the Bermuda Maritime Museum, now the National Museum of Bermuda, in 1984. The clock chimes every 15 minutes, and is accurate to one-tenth of a second — with minor variations caused by humidity. But the island’s climate took its toll on the clock mechanism, and it developed a problem which caused it to stop. Chris Roque of SparYard Marine Solutions and his welder Rolly Jino also donated their time and expertise to fix the timepiece. Dr Cloutman proved popular with visitors during his work and fielded questions from schoolchildren visitors to the museum. Dr Cloutman was also able to repair a clock from the Whitney Institute which had suffered from corrosion. The Whitney clock, made in the 18th century by London clockmaker Edward Tutet, has a birdcage movement made of wrought iron. The Whitney clock was brought to the museum for conservation and preservation. The museum thanked the volunteers for their time. The Dockyard Clock is on display in the Boat Loft building below Commissioner’s House.

2016. August 8. Time will be restored at the Royal Naval Dockyard as part of a $200,000 restoration project for one of the most recognizable landmarks in Bermuda. It will mean a new lease of life for the electrical mechanisms of the clocks at the Clocktower, which were put in 30 years ago to show the time and the high tide time but have now worn out. Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation, said: “The motors of that period 30 years ago have to be replaced and the hands and dials also need to be replaced. “The northern tower contained a single dial and one hand to show the time of High Tide but these also have to be replaced and an automatic clock controller will operate the settings of the hand,” Mr Dias said in a press release. According to Mr Dias, it is the latest in a long list of investments Wedco is making in the Royal Naval Dockyard, including a $900,000 renovation of the Glassworks building, a $500,000 makeover of the Sail Loft and $1 million on the North Basin building. “A professional horologist from Great Britain assisted with information on the clock mechanisms, but it is intended that the replacement work will be done by the Electric Time Company of Massachusetts, who made the most modern tower clock in Bermuda at the headquarters of Chubb Insurance on Pitts Bay Road,” added Mr Dias “The Dockyard clocks are a major feature of the Great Eastern Storehouse and need to be see in a working condition.” The original clock and one of the original dials are now on exhibit at the National Museum.

Clocktower Mall building

Clocktower Mall, underneath the Clocktower, is a retail shopping mall. Open 10 am to 5 pm when the cruise ships are in from April through October, or 11 am to 4 pm depending on the season. Part of, and the most noticeable landmark in, the former Royal Naval Dockyard. It was originally The Great Eastern Storehouse, huge - with 3 foot walls and 100 foot towers, built in 1856 by Britain's Royal Navy which once has a formidable naval base here. This was then one of the main buildings. The clock on the south tower was cast in England in 1857 by John Moore and Sons. What seems to be a single hand clock on the eastern side of the north tower is a rare "tide clock." In Royal Navy days, the hand was set daily to indicate the time of high tide. Grassy areas lead to deep water berths. 

Cockburn's Cut and Cockburn Road

The first, a scenic area near the Dockyard, is a man-made, Royal Navy-ordered, Royal Engineers of the British Army constructed, dug and completed, channel. It divides the former Royal Naval base at Ireland Island from the rest of the island. Somewhat in the manner of a castle moat, it's original purpose when first dug in 1817 was to staunch any military attack from the USA on the more vulnerable landward side. It was filled again in 1823 by British convicts sentenced to hard labor in Bermuda, and re-dug by more convicts in 1843. It was finally opened permanently in 1850 to allow the free flow of water between the Cut and the sea. It is spanned by the small scenic, British Portland stone bridge shown below which connects Cockburn Road to Pender Road. Both the cut and road were named in honor of Sir James Coburn (pronounced Coburn), Governor of Bermuda from 18816 to 1820. He was the brother of Vice Admiral the Right Honorable Sir George Cockburn, GCB, Royal Navy. He was the overall commander of British land and sea forces (Royal Navy ships of war) which from Bermuda attacked Washington DC and burnt the White House in 1814. Admiral Cockburn also commanded the Royal Navy squadron which conveyed Napoleon Bonaparte to his final exile on St. Helena.

Cockburn's Cut bridge

Cockburn Bridge

Buses on the way to or from the Dockyard pass over this bridge. 

2015. September 25.  The old Royal Naval Club has been leveled as part of the first phase of plans to restore a cluster of historic buildings at the entrance to Dockyard. The structure, which was built in the early 1880s, was taken off the list of protected buildings in May by Michael Fahy, the Minister for Home Affairs. The demolition work on the old “Fleet Club”, which served as an officers’ and then as a naval ratings’ club and canteen, was completed last week. Now Seacrest Development Limited, a Bermudian-registered company, will embark on a major project to restore the three neighboring listed buildings: the Bungalow, Star of India and Moresby House. Joanna Cranfield, Wedco’s business development officer, told The Royal Gazette that the remaining three structures would be restored to the highest standards and used for short-term residential and holiday accommodation. “By getting rid of one building we are going to save the three most important. The Bungalow, Star of India and Moresby House will be fully restored and people will begin to notice these improvements being made very soon. We hope to have made significant process within the next couple of months. It has been a fair period of time in the planning phase, but now that the necessary demolition work has been done we are ready to move forward.”

2015. September 15. Bermuda's West End Development Company (Wedco), a Bermuda Government quango, is seeking planning approval to make improvements to Prince Alfred Terrace on Cockburn Road, while replacing the former Royal Navy Club with apartments. According to a planning application, viewable at the Department of Planning offices, Wedco is seeking to tear down the former Royal Navy Club — one part of the what had been the HMS Malabar shore station. The documents show two new buildings being erected on the Pender Road property, each containing two two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units. The project would also include a parking area and a communal outdoor space between the new buildings. The Royal Navy Club building, erected in the 1880s, had served as the officers club before turning into the fleet canteen. While the building had been a Grade 1 listed building, it was formally delisted earlier this year. Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said the delisting was a “difficult decision”, but the building was in a considerable state of disrepair and plans were afoot to restore the neighboring historical buildings — the Bungalow, Star of India and Moresby House. Meanwhile, in a separate application, Wedco sought planning permission to make renovations at Prince Alfred Terrace. The project will include removing the existing asbestos roof, replacing all of the external doors and windows, installing new wooden pergolas and making other external improvements to the ageing building. Prince Alfred Terrace was first built in the 1840s to serve as married officer quarters for the Dockyard. The building reportedly suffered hurricane damage in last year’s twin hurricanes, and the proposed refurbishments are to bring the building to a “low to mid-level standard” for rental purposes. Wedco had previously announced that it had hoped to upgrade the Grade I listed building into 14 three-bed, two-bath units through a $3 million investment.

Commissioner's House

Commissioner's House

Center of the Dockyard Keep. So-called because, like all Royal Navy Dockyards at the time, some Royal Navy officers or retired officers with the rank of Dockyard Commissioner once maintained their headquarters there. Designed by Edward Holl, it was erected within five years from 1823 as the world's first residence using prefabricated cast-iron for its structural framework. It was severely censured by legislators in London who termed it the most expensive Royal Navy white elephant they had ever seen, because of its cost to British taxpayers. Shortly after it was completed, one of its uses was as the lodging, in quite some comfort, of the senior officer of the Royal Marine Light Infantry unit then providing security at the Dockyard, manning the guns against any attack and also guarding the prisoners. It was a special project of the Dockyard Commissioner of the time, who happened to be a civilian appointee, not a former senior Royal Navy officer. Because no attention was given to protecting it from potential invaders, it became a source of deep worry to the Royal Navy, as a potential landmark military target capable of being attacked by long-range ship-based gunfire that severely prejudiced the Dockyard's otherwise good military defenses. In 1837, because of the latter, the Post of Commissioner was abolished. Mr Ballingall, Naval Storekeeper, assumed charge. He did not live at Commissioner's House but at the Dockyard's Cottage. In 1837, Commissioner's House became the residence for the Superintendent of Convicts. It decayed after the departure of the Royal Navy from Bermuda from the 1950s, but after the Bermuda Maritime Museum took control in 1974, it was finally restored in 2000. Today, it is used to display a number of exhibitions. The basement shows Bermuda's Defense Heritage, a display about Bermuda's defenses and fortifications and the role of local forces in world war I and II. The hall is site of a 2-story History of Bermuda mural by the Bermudian artist Graham Foster. The main floor has a number of themes related to Bermuda's history including slavery, immigration, and tourism. One room is dedicated to the history of the Bermuda nautical Race. The upper floor contains collections of maps, books, coins, maritime art, and exhibits concerning activities of the Royal Navy and the US Forces, specifically during WW II. Other buildings show shipwreck artifacts, local watercrafts and more. 

Also see The building of Commissioner's House, Bermuda Dockyard. J Coad, 1983.

Commissioners House Dockyard

2016. June 29. Commissioner’s House in Dockyard was officially reopened nearly two years after the old structure sustained major structural damage in back-to-back hurricanes. Premier Michael Dunkley conducted an official roof wetting yesterday afternoon by pouring rum over the new roof of the building. The Premier was joined by several Cabinet colleagues including Sylvan Richards, Jeanne Atherden and Wayne Scott for the ceremony on top of Commissioner’s House yesterday afternoon. “My colleagues and I were pleased to see the extensive repairs reach their conclusion and the team at the National Museum should be commended for their efforts,” said Mr Dunkley. “These critical upgrades, refurbishments and improvements will help the historic building withstand future storm damage, and this will help greatly in protecting the invaluable artifacts housed in this great building.” The National Museum was severely damaged in hurricanes in 2014 and 2015 when almost all the buildings in its upper grounds, including the Commissioner’s House and the Curatorial Department, sustained major structural roof damage and flooding. Commissioner’s House had been closed since October 2014 but opened to the public again on May 9, this year, while the Curatorial Department had to relocate into a small temporary office. Curator Elena Strong revealed that more behind-the-scenes roof strengthening would be carried out in the coming months as well as the refurbishment of the Curatorial Department. She said the museum should be fully operation by the end of the year. “For the past 18 months the museum has been carrying out extensive repair and restoration work on Commissioner’s House in order to strengthen and conserve its largest artifact,” she added. “Work entailed replacing the entire roof of Commissioner’s House with a modern steel system and carrying out major restorative work on the cast-iron truss system. The 300 linear feet of cast-iron fascia and the cast-iron veranda pillars are also new. "

Convict Cemetery

Cochrane Road, Ireland Island. At the west end of Cochrane Road, off Malabar Road, on the approach to the former RN Dockyard. Phone: (441) 236-6483. Bus Routes: 7, 8. Admission is free. This small cemetery, discretely hidden behind a row of houses, served as the burial ground for British convicts imported from all over the United Kingdom (which in the nineteenth century also included all of Ireland. These men, rather than being executed in the UK, were sent to colonies like Bermuda to serve as laborers on the many British Army and Royal Navy fortifications of the 19th century. Of the 9000 convicts sent here, 2000 died. But oddly, there are only 13 marked graves in total here; four are named and nine are unnamed. What happened to the rest is a mystery. It is possible the bones may have been dug up and used in concrete in the building and/or redevelopment of the Royal Navy Dockyard or other fortifications. For more information on the Dockyard and the major role the convicts played in building it see Royal Navy Dockyard

convictBermudacemeteryconvictBBermudacemetery2

convict Bermuda cemetery 1

Some of the convict hulks based at Dockyard Bermuda, 1848

convicthulkConvicts on a hulk

Cottage

Cockburn Road, Ireland Island. A waterfront property with considerable re-development potential, it was built by and once belonged to the Royal Navy, when it owned the Royal Navy Dockyard. It had quite a varied history. In 1827, when the post of Commissioner of the Dockyard was abolished, it became the residence of the Naval Storekeeper. It later became the accommodation and business premises of the Senior Royal Navy Officer. A boutique hotel was originally planned in 2001 as the Cottage Inn but even as late at 2018 has not yet materialized and now may never be.  

Planned Cottage Inn

Craft Market at Dockyard

Phone 234-3208. Daily. Cooperage Building opposite Bermuda Maritime Museum.

Crawl Island

See Islands below.

Cross Island Marina

Also see America's Cup Village.

Dockyard. To accommodate mega-yachts. Announced in November 2009 for construction in 2010. To be built under a public private partnership between Wedco and South Basin Development Ltd., a company formed specifically for this project It will include a mix of approximately 200 slips in a variety of sizes, 100 to 250 feet and possibly in excess of 300 feet long, to accommodate both mega-yachts and those smaller in size. The development will be a major step in the continuation of the redevelopment of the area where the former Royal Navy Dockyard was located. 

2019. July 20. The Government has launched a lawsuit to recover almost $800,000 of public money it loaned to an entertainment company to create a recording studio at Dockyard, The Royal Gazette can reveal. Papers were filed in the Supreme Court against Anthony Blakey and Danilee Trott, of Savvy Entertainment Ltd, on June 7 for defaulting on $778,204 of an $800,000 loan. The court documents warned the pair to pay the full amount plus interest in 30 days or face civil proceedings. The Government failed to answer questions yesterday about whether the money was repaid in full. Mr Blakey did not respond to phone calls and e-mails. Ms Trott declined to comment. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, announced in February 2018 that Savvy Entertainment had taken over the management of Cross Island, the venue for the 2017 America’s Cup, and would use it to host events that did not need permanent structures. He said events held there would have a pre-negotiated fee and any revenue would go to the Government to help defer the $39 million cost of construction. Colonel Burch said Savvy had a charitable arm which would be led in Bermuda by Dame Jennifer Smith, a former premier, who would also join the board of Savvy’s international foundation. Ms Trott told reporters that Savvy would also convert Dockyard’s historic Moresby House into an “A-class” recording studio. An agreement between the former Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, and Ms Trott and Mr Blakey, filed at the Registrar of Companies, shows the loan was provided on April 2, 2018, for 36 months “for the purposes of setting up a music studio at Savvy House, 26 Pender Road, Ireland Island, Sandys”. The document said: “The loan is made on the strict condition that the loan is to be used for the purpose of setting up the studio, for shipment to Bermuda of recording equipment for your authorized business purpose and for the installation of equipment in West End Development (Wedco) facilities at 26 Pender Road. For the avoidance of doubt, the loan may not be used by you to fund other business, to pay or discharge any other loan, or to make expenditures not directly connected with the studio, and the loan shall be a first charge on the equipment in the studio.” The loan, with an interest rate of 4.75 per cent a year, was to be repaid on a monthly basis over a maximum of 36 months. The agreement said Ms Trott and Mr Blakey would have to pay for any costs run up by the Government related to enforcement of its rights under the loan terms. Both signed the agreement, along with Randy Rochester, who was then the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism and is now permanent secretary at the public works ministry. An appendix was attached that listed studio equipment and installation costs which totaled more than $730,000. Savvy Entertainment’s website said it is an Atlanta-based “global entertainment solutions company” which is “also established in Bermuda and Germany”. The website features a section on venue rentals, which lists Cross Island as available for a seven-day or five-day rental for a corporate rate of $25,000/$20,000 or a promoter rate of $20,000/$15,000. The Shed, the former home of the British Land Rover BAR America’s Cup team, is listed for hire for between $6,000 and $12,000. Savvy organised a New Year’s Eve celebration at The Shed at the end of 2018, with free admission or VIP tickets at $250. Its website shows a flyer for another event, a “Trunk-D tailgate party”, in April this year. Ms Trott was event project manager at the Corporation of Hamilton until December last year. As well as chief operating officer of Savvy, she is the executive producer of Bermuda Fashion Festival. Savvy organised the fashion festival this year after submitting a request for proposal bid to City Hall. Savvy CEO Mr Blakey is an American songwriter who incorporated Savvy Entertainment Bermuda in September 2016. It is not known if Savvy is still managing Cross Island or whether Moresby House has been converted into a studio. Questions were sent to the Ministry of Tourism and Transport about the loan and the management of Cross Island. A spokesman said it could take some time to answer, as the deal was struck under the now-axed ministry of economic development and tourism. Cross Island totals nine acres of reclaimed land at Dockyard and was financed by a $39 million loan to the West End Development Corporation from Butterfield Bank. The Government provided an unconditional guarantee for the loan so the America’s Cup event could be based there. Charlton Dill, the chairman of Wedco, could not be reached yesterday.

2017. April 26. The opening hours of the America’s Cup Village for the 35th America’s Cup were announced this afternoon. 

America's Cup Village

The village on Cross Island will open at 11.30am daily, except for May 26 when it will open at 3pm for the first day of racing from 5pm. The official opening ceremony start at 8.30pm and the village will close at 10.30pm. The closing time of the America’s Cup Village will vary throughout the event schedule. On May 27; June 10, 18, 25, 26, and 27 the village will close at 7pm. On May 28, 29, 30, 31; June 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 20 and 21 the village will close at 5.30pm. On June 12 and 13 the village will close at 8pm. On June 17 and 24 it will close at 10pm. On June 8 it will close at 6pm On most days, when the racing schedule ends at either 3.30pm or 4pm, there will be a range of activities for guests to take part in at the village. These activities include poster signing sessions, a chance to meet the competitors and see them answer questions in the mixed media zone and also live entertainment on the main stage.

2017. April 26. Safety officials have warned about potentially “catastrophic” consequences with Great Sound boaters getting too close to the America’s Cup teams. With more inexperienced boaters expected to hit the waters as the weather gets warmer, the Bermuda Water Safety Council urged them to stay near shorelines and give room to the foiling boats. The Bermuda boating public is “getting too close for safety both to themselves and the AC teams”, the council said. The ACBDA added that America’s Cup yachts — now in high-gear training in the Sound, with the showpiece event less than a month away — travel at up to 50 knots and can change direction very quickly. Paul Doughty, a member of the safety council, told The Royal Gazette: “When there’s a good weekend, some occasional boaters come out who might have less experience, and we want them to be looking out. “When a sailboat is sailing, they are not simply going in a straight line. They go about up wind and down with the wind. And with the speed of these boats, even more experienced people say they look around and see the boat a mile away and then they are on top of them. It’s hard to gauge because they are so fast. We are not saying that people can’t or shouldn’t use the Sound, only that they should remain vigilant.” In a post on the council’s Facebook page, the group stated: “The ACBDA have just informed that the AC boats are now in high-gear training in the Sound. It has been noted that the Bermuda boating public are getting too close for safety both to themselves and the AC teams. Please give the AC boats as much room as you are able and try to stay near shorelines when you are out on the water. The consequences of a collision with one of these foiling boats could be catastrophic. You or anyone involved could also ruin a team’s chances of being in the Cup.” The post urged the public to spread the message, adding: “The ACBDA understand that the Great Sound is for everyone to enjoy, and not just for the America’s Cup teams, but do advise that extra care and caution should be taken at this time. Safety first.” Mr Doughty said that he had received comments questioning why America’s Cup spotter boats couldn’t ask boats to keep a distance. But he argued the spotter boats need to be focused on reacting to emergencies rather than asking spectators to move. “They can’t just stop and tell people to move,” he said. “It’s up to us to be vigilant on the water.” An ACBDA spokeswoman said: “America’s Cup Class boats can travel up to 50 knots, are much more maneuverable than the AC45Fs and they can and will change course very quickly. The teams may lay temporary marks for their own practice sessions, or they may not — there is no set pattern to this — but the key point is for the general public to give the boats as wide a berth as possible. While it may be tempting to try and take a closer look, please do not do so as proximity dramatically increases the risk of an incident.” The spokeswoman also warned that there are no set times for teams to practice in the Sound, saying: “They may choose to go out on the water whenever they can and want to practice, and the advice to stay close to shore to avoid incidents applies whenever one or more America’s Cup teams are on the Great Sound.”

2017. February 9. A decision over the end use of Bermuda’s newest island is unlikely to be made until after the America’s Cup has been completed, according to Andrew Dias. The general manager of the West End Development Corporation acknowledged that if the island secured the sailing spectacle in 2019 the final determination over the future of Cross Island would be pushed back further. Wedco originally submitted plans that would have seen the site of the America’s Cup village transformed into a new Marine and Ports headquarters, a boat service yard that could accommodate superyachts as well as short-term berthing and a maritime school. But after an appeal by environmental group BEST the Supreme Court held that there were deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Assessments completed for the development plans of Cross Island. “Whatever the final plan is we shall have to resubmit it through the planning process again,” Mr Dias said. “There is the chance, depending on who wins the event, that Bermuda could host it again in 2019, in which case under the AC Host Venue Agreement Cross Island has to be available to host the event again. In this case everything would be kept as it is until 2019 when the final end uses decision would be made.” Mr Dias revealed that the Wedco board had a formed a sub-committee, chaired by Wayne Caines, to explore the possible end uses for Cross Island and had consulted with the public and stakeholders over recent months. “We are not resting on our laurels,” he said. “The committee engaged in extensive public consultation with the assistance of Deloitte. They went out to the public at the end of last year in one of the most consultative processes I have ever seen. They asked everyone what their opinion was on what should be there. The short listed uses have been submitted to the Wedco board and are currently being assessed. It is possible that the board may determine that further due diligence and analysis may be required. The board should be able to say something in March. In June after the event we will have to figure out what the process is; although a decision on the future of the America’s Cup may not be made until October or November.”

2016. October 7. The first phase of Cross Island — the land reclamation project in Dockyard — has been completed. Economic development minister Grant Gibbons joined key players at the site for a celebration today, with organizers saying they are “ahead of schedule and on budget”. Now that the infill phase is finished, the next part of the project involves installing the infrastructure, including electricity, water, sewage and telecommunications before the new nine-acres of land is handed over to the America’s Cup Event Authority, which will create the Event Village for the 35th America’s Cup. The overall village site will also hold the team bases for Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France, alongside the bases for Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan, which have been operational for some time. Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing will have bases on Cross Island and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, the media centre and the various hospitality facilities will also be located on the infill site. Peter Durhager, chairman of ACBDA, said the project was a collaborative effort between the stakeholders of America’s Cup Bermuda, Wedco, Ministry of Public Works, planning department, construction managers BCM McAlpine and a range of vendors and contractors. Mr Durhager said in a statement: “It wouldn’t have been possible to complete a project of this scale ahead of schedule and on budget without the concerted effort of these agencies. “On behalf of the ACBDA, I would like to thank everyone who was involved in helping us to achieve this significant milestone.” The project began last November when a portion of the South Basin was filled with seven shiploads of granite. The aggregate came to the island on the MV Balder, a specialized ship that allowed the fill material to be offloaded by conveyor belt into the South Basin. The total amount was 310,000 cubic yards of aggregate — 165,000 cubic yards of granite from a quarry in New Brunswick and 145,000 cubic yards from last year’s dredging project by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. That project was part of multiyear contract between Bermuda Tourism Authority and RCCL to accommodate large RCCL cruise ship visits to Dockyard. The Balder was one of the largest vessels to have ever sailed into the South Basin and the process involved two highly specialized tractor tugs to assist the vessel entering and departing. The tugs were assisted by staff from the Department of Marine and Ports. Dr Gibbons stated: “This milestone shows what Bermuda can accomplish when we set our minds to a task and work together. I congratulate and thank everyone involved in ensuring that Bermuda honours our commitments. We are proud of our relationship and partnership with the America’s Cup and look forward to welcoming the remaining America’s Cup teams, sponsors, fans and visitors for the 35th America’s Cup.” The infrastructure portion of the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the Event Village taking shape soon after. While the first use of the space will be for the America’s Cup, a process is under way to ensure the long-term deployment of this land by Wedco for lasting legacy and value. Andrew Dias, general manager of Wedco, stated: “This project had been in the pipeline for quite some time and its completion is a dream come true for Wedco. Our focus going forward is to create a lasting legacy for Cross Island. We have received hundreds of submissions as part of our long-term strategic planning for the further development and use of this wonderful waterfront resource following the America’s Cup and I look forward to helping to make some of those ideas reality.” For more information, visit www.acbda.bm.

2016. July 12. By Wayne Caines,  chairman of the Cross Island Legacy Committee.  "It is very rare in Bermuda that nine acres of land suddenly appears on the market waiting for an entrepreneur, or entrepreneurs, to come along. But that’s what is happening at Cross Island, at the Royal Naval Dockyard, and this presents an unheard of opportunity to create a legacy for Bermuda that will benefit the community for decades to come. I accepted an invitation to become the chairman of the Cross Island Legacy Committee because I feel passionately about this country and its future, and saw in this a chance to help to create a game changer that could benefit Bermuda economically and culturally. Cross Island will be the home of the America’s Cup Event Village next year and there is always the possibility that the “Auld Mug” will return to Bermuda in the future, using the same land. However, at some stage, there will be a need for a long-term use and it would be foolish not to plan for that now — and that is what the committee is doing, by asking for the input of the entire community. So far we have had some brilliant ideas: a sports centre, conference centre, a shipping container city for small businesses, a fish farm, and a sailing centre to build on the America’s Cup legacy. All these, if they went ahead, would provide jobs and help to bring investment to the island. That is why this opportunity — I call it “nine acres of opportunity” — is so exciting because it has the potential to further boost Bermuda’s economy, thereby creating jobs and wealth for all of us. Helped tremendously by Deloitte, the committee has been, and will be, asking stakeholders, community groups, professional groups and everyone in between for ideas. If you have not contributed already, you can via www.surveymonkey.com/r/CrossIsland. Importantly, we do not want just your ideas, we also want your input on other people’s ideas — ideally, we would like to get a really good conversation going. You can see and comment on many of the ideas on our Cross Island Facebook page. Please tell us which ideas you support and why, and help us to improve and to develop the ideas that others have already submitted. I also want to emphasise that this process is not necessarily about finding one big idea, one big development. The best solution may be lots of small ideas, so it is inclusive, allowing the average Bermudian a chance to participate and to benefit. The deadline for your submission is July 31. The work of the committee will then start in earnest as we begin to digest and to analyze all the ideas. My fellow committee members are Andy Burrows, from the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Joanna Cranfield, the business development manager at West End Development Corporation, Kirk Outerbridge, from the Department of Works and Engineering, Aideen Ratteray-Pryse, from the Department of Planning, Philip Seaman, of Pj Designs and a member of the Wedco, Elena Strong, from the National Museum of Bermuda, and Jonathan Starling, the executive director of Greenrock. We will all work towards delivering workable ideas to Wedco. The committee will evaluate the benefits and costs of each idea against the following key objectives:

Once that is accomplished, we will pass our short listed recommendations to the Wedco board, which will then review and shortlist the ideas to form part of a public request for proposal process. We are confident that Wedco is committed to carrying out a transparent and inclusive RFP process in the next phase of this exciting endeavour. This is a conversation worth having. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and I hope we will receive 60,000 ideas."

2016. May 12. The public is invited to a meeting to discuss the future use of Cross Island in Dockyard once the America’s Cup is over. The West End Development Corporation will host the event on Monday, May 16, at the Chamber of Commerce building in Hamilton at 7pm. Andrew Dias, general manager for Wedco, said: “For Bermuda, this is a large area of land and we want to ensure that we get as much input and as many ideas as we can before we decide which option we feel is the best. “We stated at the last public meeting that all options are on the table and that is still very much the case. We also said that the intent was for any new use to be long-term, and to be financially viable, and that also remains the same.” An original plan for the area included a marine college, the relocation of Marine and Ports, West End Yachts Ltd and a yacht marina, but was reconsidered after the Bermuda Government overturned the approved use. Wedco then set up a subcommittee to explore other options for the site while launching a public consultation process. Mr Dias added: “We are trying our best to ensure as many people as possible, and not just those in the West End, have a say on the use of this incredibly important piece of land and we hope people will turn out for the meeting and add constructive comments.” The public can also contact the subcommittee by e-mail on marketing@wedco.bm to propose ideas or request further information.

Once that is accomplished, we will pass our short listed recommendations to the Wedco board, which will then review and shortlist the ideas to form part of a public request for proposal process. We are confident that Wedco is committed to carrying out a transparent and inclusive RFP process in the next phase of this exciting endeavour. This is a conversation worth having. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and I hope we will receive 60,000 ideas."

Manmade beginning in late 2015, to be finished by late 2016 to house the 2017 America's Cup and thereafter a mix of public and private events. To accommodate mega-yachts. 

Announced in November 2009 for construction in 2010. To be built under a public private partnership between Wedco and South Basin Development Ltd., a company formed specifically for this project It will include a mix of approximately 200 slips in a variety of sizes, 100 to 250 feet and possibly in excess of 300 feet long, to accommodate both mega-yachts and those smaller in size. The development will be a major step in the continuation of the redevelopment of the area where the former Royal Navy Dockyard was located. 

1850. At Dockyard, the Royal Navy constructed a Magazine on Sober (Cross) Island. (Thus it may have had a far earlier function than that reported above)

Current Island

See Islands below.

Daniel's Head

Now mostly an eco hotel, 9 Beaches, presently closed. An area of Bermuda with a fascinating history. The first owner, recorded in Richard Norwood's 1617 survey of Bermuda, was John Delbridge, a shareholder of the Bermuda Company in England and an absentee landlord. Fifty years later, it appears to have passed to a Bermudian owner, a Mr. Bassett, but occupied by Robert Burch. Probably in the 1750s, a small fort was built on Daniel's Island, to guard Hogfish Cut Channel from the open sea, up past Wreck Hill and Ely's Harbour. It is thought the land in the area was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1809, when it acquired Ireland Island for the dockyard, but by the 1870s, it seems again to be in Bermudian hands. At the beginning of the First World War, the British War Department started to buy up the peninsula, first acquiring the land now Westover Farm. This was followed by the purchase of the properties to the northwest, owned by Walter Barker and C. A. V. Frith. The purpose of those acquisitions was to add "ears" to Daniel's Head, for the new and revolutionary age of "wireless" transmission of information, via radio and Morse Code, had matured into the activities of war. Great masts for the reception of Allied data and the interception of enemy transmissions were erected. Four Bermudians, all members of the Bermuda Militia Artillery and Royal Garrison Artillery, were killed on duty in an accident involving a mast at Daniel's Head on 17 September 1917, when a section of the structure gave way.  During the Second World War, the listening station at Daniel's Head worked with those at Halifax, Canada and Derby in England, to cover the North Atlantic in the interception of radio messages from submarines of the German Navy. An additional piece of land just south of the site was purchased at that time, or earlier, for recreation use as the Daniel's Head Tennis Club and is now a cow pasture.  Plus, the American Army erected a Base-End Station at the site, one of thirteen around Bermuda for the control of coastal gunnery. After the conflict, Daniel's Head was let out for farming. In the mid-1960s, the site was leased to the Canadian Forces and reverted to its original military use as a radio station for the next 30 years as CFS Bermuda. Over the period, the station grew to a complement of over 220 personnel, with considerable economic implications for Sandys Parish and the west end of Bermuda. Without the input from the Canadian Government, for example, it is unlikely that Boaz Island Village would have been built, as CFS Bermuda took half the units to house their staff. In February 1992 it was announced that CFS Bermuda would be closed by 31 December the following year, thus ending the occupation of Daniel's Head as a military site. 

Daniel's Island

See Islands below.

Dockyard walking area

For British Royal Navy history, see See under "Royal Naval Dockyard."

2018. July 24. Dockyard has been named the top cruise ship destination in the region by Cruise Critic for the second year. The Royal Naval Dockyard was named the top destination in the Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda based on consumer ratings and reviews published on the Cruise Critic website. Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation, said: “It says that what we have done at Dockyard, and continue to do, in terms of improving the facilities and adding more activities is paying off. It also shows us that we are keeping ahead of some very stiff competition. Dockyard is an extremely important tourist hub so to know that we are favoured above other cruise ship ports is not only positive for us, but positive for Bermuda as whole.” Mr Dias said Wedco continues to invest in Dockyard, and that the relaunched Destination Dockyard and a new trampoline park will only make the area more popular.  “Wedco has invested millions of dollars into Dockyard and we will continue to invest to ensure we are able to serve the needs not only of our visitors, but also the locals who come to visit us. I thank the entire Dockyard community for their tireless efforts and support as this combined effort has made us successful and contributed to this achievement.” Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer with the Bermuda Tourism Authority said it is the local hospitality that has made the difference. “Bermudian hospitality is legendary and that’s because across the island we focus on providing a high quality, memorable experience for our visitors. At the BTA we offer our congratulations and gratitude to all the people who made this Cruise Critic accolade possible. It further proves Bermuda out performs its peers in cruise travel year after year and we are happy to support all on-island tourism industry partners dedicated to raising the bar even higher.” Rickeisha Burgess, who runs gourmet popsicle business Duch Pops Bermuda, said: “I love it here. Dockyard keeps changing for the better with more things to do. The staff do an incredible job keeping it really clean and tidy and I always see them out making sure the place looks good. I am not surprised they have won this award twice, everyone here works hard to make Dockyard special.”

2017. July 26. Dockyard has been named the region’s top cruise ship destination by the online review site Cruise Critic. Voted a top five destination last year, Dockyard has been declared the best for the Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda in the site’s cruisers’ choice destination awards, based on reviews and consumer feedback over the past year. “We all work hard to ensure standards are kept high, and credit must go to the entire team for achieving fantastic results,” said Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation. “So while receiving this award is great news, credit must go not just to the Wedco team but every person and business that provides goods and services at the port. I send thanks and praises to all who have made it possible. It is particularly pleasing to receive this award as it is voted for by the people who use the facilities which reflects positively on Dockyard and Bermuda as a whole.”

2017. March 24. Craig Cannonier, then Minister of Works and Engineering, came under fire from Progressive Labour Party MPs for a $3 million sum given to the West End Development Corporation. Mr Cannonier told the House of Assembly on Monday night that the Government had given the money to Wedco to renovate the old Moresby House building in Dockyard. However, the minister’s comments, which came during a debate on budget supplementary estimates for 2016-17, prompted concern from Opposition leader David Burt and Opposition MPs David Lister, Wayne Furbert and Zane DeSilva. In response to questions from the Opposition, Mr Cannonier confirmed that Wedco owned the property and that they were looking at the possibility of moving their offices into the old property when work was completed. But Mr Furbert and Mr DeSilva queried why the Government was giving $3 million to a quango in times of austerity and whether the sum constituted a capital grant. Mr Cannonier maintained that the project was a good investment, would provide jobs and that Wedco would pay back the money under the terms of a promissory note. He told MPs that Moresby House was a historical site and the completion of the project would coincide with the beginning of the America’s Cup.

2017. March 9. More than $10 million has been invested in renovating historic buildings at Dockyard ahead of the America’s Cup. The money has been used to make new office space and upgrade homes. Andrew Dias, General Manager at the West End Development Corporation (WEDCO), said: “The work was always in the pipeline but was given fresh impetus as a result an insurance payout from recent hurricanes and the America’s Cup. Many of the buildings being renovated will be used by people from the America’s Cup as well as the ACBDA team, but after that, they will be available to locals. We always wanted Dockyard to be a vibrant, 24/7 place and hopefully these developments will go some way towards that ambition. We are investing an enormous sum of money and we will see the transformation or protection of many buildings. When finished, we anticipate that it will be home to a range of commercial activities adding even more life and more attractions to Dockyard. People will be able to work, rest and play in the Royal Naval Dockyard.” Some of the major restorations include work on Prince Alfred Terrace which is being renovated and restored to apartments at a cost of approximately $4.5 million. Once the renovations, which include a complete interior restoration including additional bathrooms and layout improvements, have been completed, first use will go to the ACBDA until the end of the America’s Cup. The Spar Lane Apartments are being given a new lease of life and once work is finished they will again be used as homes. Moresby House, or HMS Malabar, is being restored and will be office space, the Sail Loft has been restored and will also be available for use after the America’s Cup. The old Police Barracks is enjoying a new life as home to Artemis Racing, one of the teams taking part in the America’s Cup. As well as major work, Wedco has tended to less obvious projects including roof upgrades, asbestos removal and electrical, plumbing and painting work. North Basin Building #10 — the Canvas Shop — on Smithery Lane, has been restored over a four-month period and North Basin Building #14 — West End Yachts — on Camber Road, has been restored. The North Basin Building #3 — the Anchor Restaurant — has also undergone renovation work including a roof replacement. Mr Dias added: “Dockyard is a very important part of Bermuda’s tourism product and it is imperative that we at Wedco do not stand still. We have to continually invest and reinvent ourselves to keep us ahead of the competition.”

Dockyard Cruise ship berths

Cruise ship in BermudaDockyard Cruise ship berths 2009

Bermuda's West End cruise ship berth at King's Wharf here.

Bermuda may be very small - only 21 square miles (56 square kilometers) in total land area - but it has not one but three cruise ship ports. 

WIFI not freeWIFI hotspot not freeSince March 2012 at Ireland Island/King's Wharf/Dockyard with a published WIFI Hotspot - not free - for visitors and shoppers when they go ashore. A $3 an hour WIFI hotspot became available to cruise passengers and other visitors. TeleBermuda International (TBI) manages the WIFI platform on behalf of the West End Development Corporation (WEDCO). Visitors can purchase WIFI coupons from a few of the establishments in Dockyard, but WEDCO will also make free coupons available to their tenants. Also processes credit card transactions.

visiting cruise ship at CockyardIreland Island. Referred to as the West End berth (as it is on the western end of Bermuda), otherwise known as King's Wharf, or King's Port. Once, Royal Navy and other warships were based here. Of all Bermuda's cruise ship berths, this is the only one capable of taking larger ships. It is operated by the West End Development Corporation (Wedco), a Bermuda Government quango. There is also a cruise ship terminal. Located on the North Arm of the Dockyard, opened in 1990 by the late Princess Margaret. It is big and deep. Cruise ships berth every day and weekends during the cruise ship season. The North Arm Park is nearby. It is within walking distance of all the Dockyard facilities and services. A second terminal for cruise ships in this area was planned by Wedco. It started as a $35 million project but cost taxpayers $60 million. The new pier at Dockyard opened in April 2009 to accommodate the latest generation of cruise ships. It was hailed as critical to the future of tourism in Bermuda and was completed on time but 70 percent over budget. The Royal Gazette daily newspaper of Bermuda published an in-depth investigation into how costs rocketed during the two-year project. The investigation was prompted by figures released from Government to explain why measures to protect animals at Dolphin Quest cost taxpayers $3.7 million. The findings included the design of the thruster wall, a large steel curtain, used as a barrier and shield against sediment surge from ships' propellers and designed to prevent coastal erosion and sediment from infiltrating the nearby Dolphin Quest facility, changed four times, adding millions to the final bill. A part of the original design for the new pier, the thruster wall is still not complete. The terminal building doubled in price to $3.9 million on design changes. Other issues that contributed to the overrun included new security measures for the terminal, specially made lampposts and changes to the design of the ground transportation area for buses and taxis. Government paid Correia Construction almost $9 million up front 23 percent of the entire original contract price as an interest-free mobilization loan, a move described as "unusual" by one Bermuda contractor. Correia ended up paying more than four times the rental fee on the subcontractor's price list for a crane used in the project, which was charged to the taxpayer. The relationship between Correia and subcontractor Norwalk Marine International soured so badly that NMI was terminated early and three of its staff defected to join Correia following a $600,000 out-of-court settlement. Rental costs for two vibratory hammers to drive the pile foundations of the pier were billed as an extra under "dolphin mitigation." The Ministry of Tourism and Transport stated that Timelines, design changes, pregnant dolphins and development approaches all combined to result in increased costs.

The new dock was originally built for the Voyager class and not the Genesis class of latest and biggest cruise ships, so got redesigned four times. The original thruster wall was designed to handle the forces exerted by the Panamax class cruise ship, which would berth bow north only.

Dockyard Ferry Dock

Dockyard Terrace, Sandys. Services residents, visitors including those on cruise ships. On the Hamilton to Dockyard ferry route.

Dockyard South Basin

Part of Dockyard.  

2015. December 5. Plans for the South Basin Marina — the hub of operations for the 2017 America’s Cup — have been submitted for planning approval. The application, submitted by South Basin Development on December 2, proposes a reclamation of the South Basin using sheet pile walls and infill. The project would also include a marina, offices and service area, along with parking, access roads and utilities. A letter from Andrew Dias, the Wedco general manager, included in the application, states that the quango is both the owner of the property and a shareholder in the developer. He wrote: “The West End Development Company fully support this application. The Marine facility will ultimately provide the new premises for Government Department of Marine and Ports, a new and modern boatyard facility for the provision of services to the Bermudian public and visiting yachts, as well as a marine school to provide educational services to the marine industry.” According to the application, the proposal would involve the reclamation of around 11 acres inside the southeastern corner of the existing breakwater, creating a gravel surfaced “island”. The fill area would cover the majority of Cross Island. but an existing building on the island will remain untouched. On the fill area, the plan includes a boat yard with multiple dry storage racks, two parking areas, a marina office building, a building to house the Marine and Ports offices and a larger service building also earmarked for the department. The fill area will also include a dock specifically for tugs and ferries. The northern side of the breakwater would house a marina with 68 berths. Documents included with the planning application state that the plan was presented to the Cabinet and Parliament this August and was approved. The documents also state that the project is linked to the North Channel Modification Project, which proposes widening the north channel to allow larger cruise ships to visit Dockyard. Spoils from the channel widening would be used in the fill at the marina, saving costs as the spoils would not have to be taken out to sea. “[The] timing of these two projects is such that this is the best viable solution of how to dispose of the dredged spoils for the greatest benefit of Bermuda,” the study said. According to an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) included with the application, the original proposal would have extended further south, but the decision was made to relocate to inside the breakwater to reduce the potential environmental impact. Regarding the area that will be impacted by the project, the EIS states: “Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to prevent the loss of ecological habitats as a result of the land reclamation. Those sessile communities such as sea grasses will be lost, while those such as turtles and fish will migrate away from the area. On the other hand, many of the new structures associated with the construction of the marina will attract new ecology and fish communities. It should be noted that similar habitats to this is present within 50 to 100m just outside the South Basin breakwater and provides for the migration and relocation of the more transitory species.” Both the planning application and the EIS are available online at the Department of Planning website.

Plans for a new super yacht marina has been set in motion since the House of Assembly of Bermuda has approved leases. The first of the leases, between the West End Development Corporation (WEDCo) and the South Basin Development Ltd, will last 120 years and allows for the construction of Cross Island Marina. First announced in 2009 as part of a public-private partnership, the marina was to include a mix of approximately 200 berths - between 100 to 250 feet and some in excess of 300 feet - to accommodate super yachts. Support, repair and club facilities were also to be included to transform the South Basin in Dockyard into a state-of the-art marina and boatyard. Private sector South Basin Development Ltd acquired planning permission for the South arm bridge as well as a lease for the land and legislative approval to complete a land reclamation of up to 11.1 acres.  Andrew Dias, WEDCo manager, revealed that the project aims to rebuild Bermuda’s maritime history and provide career opportunities for locals. “The vision is to revitalize the maritime industry — it’s part of our culture and heritage,” he says. “In order to do that we need to attract overseas vessels to get back to the glory days and we need a designated area to do that. We formed the South Basin Development Ltd to create a marine industry area.” he new marine industry estate will have the latest technology and lifting machinery to enable routine maintenance and Dias believes that this would encourage passing super yachts to visit the island. “Our role will be to facilitate and provide a reason for these vessels to come to Bermuda,” he added. “We don’t anticipate conducting major refits here but small work and maintenance that needs to be done.”

2015 Dockyard South Basin Development

Dockyard South Basin development, see above.

Dockyard residences slated for demolition or renovation

2015. October 3. One of Bermuda’s oldest housing blocks looks set to face the wrecking ball within weeks. Victoria Row was built in the 1840s to provide low-cost housing for Royal Navy personnel, later residents. But the three Victoria Row buildings that accommodate more than 30 separate homes have fallen into disrepair and have not been lived in for more than a year. The landowners, West End Development Corporation (Wedco), say they have done everything they could to attract investment and to find a viable solution that would incorporate the old structure, but without luck. Wedco’s general manager Andrew Dias said that demolition was the only viable option. “Over the last year or so we have put out several requests for proposals looking for ways to save Victoria Row and other old buildings in the area. We were hopeful that someone would be willing to invest. Since that time we have had two hurricanes which have caused even more damage to the building, and there are concerns about the asbestos in the building that needs to be removed. We have had ongoing issues with vagrants on a daily basis and other unauthorized use of the property. We have done everything in our power to find a solution, including going to the public and asking if they would invest. Everyone has an opinion but few people have come with a solution.” The idea of leveling Victoria Row was first mooted in 2009, but a final decision over the property’s fate was only made at the beginning of last month once all other avenues had been exhausted. This week, Wedco advertised a request for proposal for tenders to conduct the demolition work as well as dealing with the asbestos. Mr Dias added: “After we weighed up all the pros and cons we decided that our final decision had to be raze the building. Once we have received tenders for the work, and once we have received a demolition permit which we have applied for from planning, work could begin within the next couple of weeks.” Mr Dias said that Wedco was still looking at ways of saving other deteriorating buildings in the West End, including Albert Row. However, he admitted they could go the same way as Victoria Row if investment could not be found. “I want to take this opportunity to say that we have other structures that we are still actively looking for a solution to, like Albert Row, that require more than just ideas. If anyone has the ability or interest to invest in any of these old structures we would like to hear from them. We continue to do our best to restore the old buildings inside Dockyard and have made significant improvements to some structures recently.”

Dockyard Victualling Yard

2016. October 21. A new hotel created from the shell of Dockyard’s historic Victualling Yard is on the cards. But the development — part of a multimillion dollar plan to make the old Royal Navy base a key hub for tourists and residents alike — is just one part of the strategy, bolstered, in part, by the upcoming America’s Cup finals. Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation, said a $60 million deal agreed with an island consortium, which included a glass dome over the yard to create an all-weather entertainment area as well as a 125-room hotel, was shelved last year after the developers failed to secure funding. But he added: “We are under a memorandum of understanding with another submission we were given and they want to put in a hotel. We are still in the very early stages — it’s exciting and initial indications are that finance will not be the reason for it not to happen. It’s anticipated that what will be there is a major structure in and around the existing buildings.” Mr Dias declined to name the firm, but said it was a Boston-based company with an established track record in development “all over the US and globally. Over the coming months, by the new year, we will be able to release something which says we are on the right track and this is what we are looking at. But it’s a little bit premature to put out ideas and concepts.” Mr Dias said the hotel plan was part of a long-term drive to turn Dockyard into a year-round hub of activity. He explained that cruise ships boosted the area over the summer months, but businesses in Dockyard experienced a drop-off in trade over the shoulder season. Mr Dias said: “We have always wanted a large hotel development in this end of the island so we can increase our critical mass all year round. A hotel could also open the door to lucrative conference business, which would stimulate trade around the area. What we need is more year-round critical mass — it could be locals, tourists, conferences because they then feed off each other and make it less seasonal. If we get this hotel development, or another development of magnitude, we may be able to help Government and become an asset to the coffers.” Bermuda-based Wilson Allen Architecture and Interior Design were the team selected to develop the Victualling Yard, but dropped out after a memorandum of understanding with Wedco — which had already been extended — expired last October.

Dolphin Quest Bermudapublic buses

Dolphins in Bermuda

Bermuda Maritime Museum, 15 Maritime Lane, Sandys, Bermuda MA 01. Tel: 441-234-4464. Fax: 441-234-4992. 9:30 am to 4:30 pm AST, summer, 10 am to 3 pm AST November to March. Has Atlantic Bottle nose dolphins imported for visitors and locals. Despite their name and Bermuda's location in the Atlantic, these mammals are not native to local waters because they would not cross the Gulf Stream. Dolphins here have all-Bermudian names and were bred from their locally-established parents. Where the facility exists now in the Bermuda Maritime Museum was once the Royal Navy's. Ask the current price - expensive but a unique educational and environmental experience.

Ely's Harbourpublic buses

Ely's Harbour, Bermuda

Includes some islands shown in Islands below. 

So-named after an early local family Ely (an historical name in Britain, for example Ely Cathedral in England). William Ely was an early English colonist who settled in Bermuda in 1621. Surrounded by a maze of reefs, Ely’s Harbour was a refuge for smugglers and illicit traders who would stop here first before declaring a fraction of their cargo in St. George’s. One form of contraband was rum, crucial for the local tavern keepers who were mostly women whose clients were mariners and local craftsmen. in the 1770s, during the American War of Independence some so disliked a British military presence so that on one occasion a tavern keeper, John Bethell’s wife, refused to provide quarters for soldiers sent to patrol the Somerset coast. The harbour, a scenic attraction, is placid and protected to the left as you cross Somerset Bridge onto Somerset Island from Main Island. It stretches in a jagged semi-circle  from Wreck Road to Wreck Point to Heydon Bay. The two entrances are at Great Harbour's Mouth between Wreck Point and Bethell's Island and Little Harbour's Mouth between Johnson's Point and Wilson Place. Be very wary, unless you know local waters well, about trying to go between Bethell's Island and Palm Island. Other islands include Bethell, Cathedral and Morgan's. Explore the beaches at low water for best visibility. The marine scenery here is lovely, this area is one of Bermuda's loveliest, especially from in the harbour. Some areas have mangrove swamps. Or just spend the day sailing or using a boat such as a Boston Whaler. All areas are approachable by boat but some are privately owned, meaning you cannot land except with permission. But you can beach a rented boat up to the high water mark. Getting there by road from the airport takes about an hour using Bermuda's legal speed limit of 20 mph. 

Ferry stopspublic ferries

Ferry route stop

The following are in this Parish. Obtain a free copy of the schedule to know when the service operates, when it stops and what fares apply.  There is no non-stop service, it is always via one of two ways and a stop at one of these.

Fortswalking area

Gunpoint

Cannon

This name and that of the small isle lying off it (see Islands in the Parish below) relate to a shore battery near what is now Wreck Hill, first built in the 17th century. The old fort had a strategic position protecting the West End Channel. It was one of the few passages through the dangerous ring of reefs for sailing ships. In 1777, during the American Revolution, British militia soldiers manning the isolated battery had the presence of mind to exchange gunfire with two armed brigs that advanced in a threatening manner although they then flew British colors. The brigs answered with broadsides from their cannon, lowered their Union Jack flags, hoisted the red, white and blue striped ensign of the United States of America and proceeded to invade Bermuda with landing parties. To avoid meeting this much bigger force, the Bermuda based militia men retreated from the battery. The Americans spiked their guns and destroyed the walls of the fort but were forced to retreat when more local soldiers and a Royal Navy detachment responded to the alarm. The Americans escaped on their ships. It was the second time Bermuda was invaded.

Scaur Hill Fort and National Park

Fort Scaur 1

Off the Somerset Road, on Scaur Hill, the highest hill of Somerset Island. Bus routes # 7 ("Dockyard") and # 8 stop outside the main entrance. With 22 acres of fortified magnificent views, park land, picnic areas and walking trails. It was built in the 1860's and finished in the 1870's by the British Army's Royal Engineers, when the United Kingdom believed hawkish elements in the USA were conspiring to seize the Royal Naval Dockyard in retaliation for the role British ships played in helping the Confederate forces and using Bermuda as one of their ports. The fort protected the "land front" of the Dockyard from any enemy attack from South Shore beaches. An enormous dry moat was cut right across Somerset Island. Troops invading it from the mainland would have crossed under withering fire from cannons and rifles. As an inland fort, Fort Scaur had small 64 pound guns on disappearing carriages. In 1869, Colonel William Drummond, Royal Engineers, British Army, based in Bermuda, wrote his Report on the Defences of Bermuda which included these words about  Fort Scaur: "With a view to prevent the capture or destruction of the Naval Establishment by an enemy who might have succeeded in effecting a landing, two positions have been selected, viz.: 1st, a line between the head of Hamilton Harbour and the Navy Wells, on the North Shore, called the Prospect Hill position; 2nd, a line between Ely's Harbour and the Great Sound, called the Somerset position. The latter being only 500 yards in extent, may be most advantageously defended by a continuous ditch and parapet from shore to shore, with a small keep in the centre, to prevent the position being turned. Plans are now being prepared." Guns were mounted on Moncrieff Disappearing Carriages, designed to retract below the parapet when fired. Upon reloading, a great counterweight moved the gun back into its elevated firing position and thus the battle progressed, with the enemy unable to get a "fix" on the gun.

Fort Scaur 2

The remains of the latter at the fort are the only known examples. The counterweights for these "disappeared" for years. When they were re-discovered, on the docks in the city of Hamilton, they were promptly returned. Wander around, peer through its now-empty moat through cannon embrasure in the massive stone walls and into some dark gunpowder storage rooms. Stand on its ramparts for views of the Atlantic on one side and the Great Sound on the other. 

The fort ditch cuts Somerset in two, though few going over Scaur Hill know that they pass over it, now filled in where once a wooden bridge existed. West of the Somerset Road, the ditch runs downhill to the waters of Ely's Harbour.

In 1906, the British Army's 7th Regiment, Royal Engineers were here. A plaque on the Eastern slope of Fort Scaur in Bermuda recognizes this and on its other side says London is 3076 miles away.

Also a military fort during World War 2, 1939-45. The US Army occupied the site for several years, from 1941 to 1943. Two large guns mounted on railway carriages on tracks to nowhere sat there next to the large water catchment, waiting for the Germans to come over the horizon. The reefs off this coast extend some ten miles to the west and north.

Follow the fort's eastern moat all the way down to the Great Sound to fish, swim or see the sights such as the Bermuda Weather Stone with its zany message (it never snows in Bermuda) and a milestone with the inscription "London 3,076 miles" on one side. The area is now open to visitors for picnics.

Gladys Morrell Nature Reservepublic buseswalking area

East Shore Road, Somerset. Phone: (441) 236-6483. Bus routes 7, 8. Hours of operation: dawn to dusk. Free admission. This charming small (2 acre) nature reserve is owned by the Bermuda National Trust. It was given to the Trust in memory of Gladys Carlyon deCourcy Morrell, a leader in Bermuda's suffrage movement which succeeded in obtaining the vote for women in 1944. Its entrance is just off the main Somerset Road. With nice views, endemic trees, plants, nesting areas for endangered Bermuda bluebirds, a tranquil place for a picnic. Please leave footprints only, no trash. An April 2006 grant of £44,680 ($89,300) received by the Trust from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP), a joint UK Foreign and Commonwealth and Department for International Development Programme enabled the Trust in late 2006 and early 2007 to carry out extensive nature conservation work including removal of many invasive trees that threatened the survival of native and endemic species and establishment of a habitat restoration project.

Grey's Bridge

Built in 1849, completed in 1850, to connect Ireland Island and Boaz Island for Royal Navy strategic reasons. It was constructed by British convicts serving hard labor, to accommodate the expansionist aims in Bermuda of the Royal Navy. It was named in honor of the Rt. Hon. Henry, Earl Grey, one of Her Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State.

Golfwalking area

None in the Parish but not far away.

Great Sound

The beautiful, large, body of water going east, all the way to Pembroke Parish. If you take the ferry from any of the Sandys Parish ferry stops to the city of Hamilton, or vice versa, cross it and enjoy the fabulous seascapes. Or rent a sailboat from Cambridge Beaches or at Somerset Bridge and get closer to many small islands. Or take one of the big cruise boat tours operated by several local companies.

Gunpoint Island

See under Forts above and Islands below.

Hartley's Undersea Walk

Hartley's Helmet Diving

Based at Dockyard. A unique and wonderful Bermuda underwater experience by an organization with decades of expertise in the business.

Heydon Bay and areapublic buses

2015. October 16. Tiny Heydon Chapel in Somerset, which dates back to the early 1600s, is to mark its refurbishment with a special ceremony at 11.30am tomorrow.  The 43-acre Heydon Estate, a largely undeveloped tract of land, is managed by a trust that keeps the chapel open every day for prayer and contemplation. The rough-hewn stone and open beam interior of the chapel reflect its origins as an early Bermudian dwelling, overlooking the Great Sound. Converted to a non-denominational chapel in the 1940s, it displays a simple wooden cross on its exterior. A service of rededication will be held there to celebrate its renovation, with special thanks going to Georgia Benevides of architects Benevides and Associates, Jose Silva and Jose Valadao of JMS General Contractors, and Mark Pacheco of MP Electrics.

Visitors are welcome by day, for the services or at any other time during the day.

The # 7 (Dockyard) and # 8 buses stop nearby. A small chapel )pictured) places a spiritual emphasis on this historically significant place. The bay is in the north east portion of Ely's Harbor and was shown on the survey of 1616 by Richard Norwood. The name first came from Jeremy Heydon, an investor in the Bermuda Company of the early 17th century. Sir John Heydon, a relative, became Deputy Governor then Governor of Bermuda from May 15, 1669. He arrived at Castle Harbor aboard the Bermuda Company ship "Summers Isles Merchant." He was an uncompromising Puritan and tried to inflict his puritanical beliefs on other colonists, much to their annoyance. 

Although unpopular, he remained in Bermuda after retirement. When 80 years old, he was charged with treason. It was claimed he had allowed Dutch sailors to chart the reefs of Bermuda for a possible invasion by the Dutch and Spanish. Heydon was acquitted and before he died a few years later was charitable enough to apply Christian forgiveness to his neighbors by establishing the Heydon Trust Estate which survives to this day. It derived from Heydon to Dr. John Dalzell who built his fortune and reputation in Bermuda after being shipwrecked on his way to Nevis in the Caribbean more than 900 miles to the south. All the lands of the trust are still intact, probably the largest surviving single estate in Bermuda today, known as The Heydon Trust Estate. It administers and owns the houses, property and land occupying 43 acres, some of which are still being farmed. Most is rural open space with walking trails, views and swimming. The Heydon Trust Chapel, part of the estate, was dedicated to God in 1943, established as such in 1964 but not actually created until 1970 when the Heydon Trust chapel in Sandys Parish was converted to its present prayerful status, from a modest but picturesque 19th century farm laborer's cottage that appears to have been built much earlier.

For years, in the Chapel, three nuns once sang Gregorian chant, in Latin, every morning at about 0730 hours (except Saturdays at 8:30 am) and afternoons at 3 pm. They were not Roman Catholic as the chant implies but members of the ecumenical Community of Jesus based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Their local Community comprised persons from many locally represented Christian churches from Roman Catholic to Pentecostal. They supported each other in their common beliefs while maintaining their individual religions.  It was the only place in Bermuda to carry on this ancient oral tradition of plainchant dating back to Pope Gregory the Great.  It was considered an art form that brought great peace to the soul. Before the Gregorian chant, called Lauds, a priest led an intercessory prayer for all the churches of the world. 

Also on the estate is the once-popular but now closed "Willowbank" hostelry. The Heydon Cottage, House and Lodge are smaller.

HMS Malabar  

Former HMS Malabar Royal Navy base

Former Royal Navy Commanding Officer's residence. When the Royal Navy's big Bermuda Dockyard closed in 1953, the RN retained a much smaller Bermuda presence for 40 years from this building, which also became its offices. Now closed and forlorn, it is hoped it and its adjacent area of Moresby Plain, a playing field, can be turned into a sports complex requiring millions of dollars in investments or something else. 

2017. March 30. At the start of the year, the historical HMS Malabar property was a broken shell of a building, slowly crumbling away after lying empty for more than two decades. But today the former naval supply headquarters that was built in 1899 as the residence of the Office-in-Charge of Works is on the brink of a remarkable revival. For more than two months, between 20 and 30 workers from two local contractors have undertaken the major renovation project while trying to preserve original features including flooring, banisters, stairways and even the cast iron safes once used to hold money. The new windows for the naval structure, which is also known as Moresby House, have been painstakingly carved from Accoya wood in Bermuda by local firm Strike Force and installed. Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation, told The Royal Gazette that the construction project, which will also include landscaping and a new porch, will be complete before the end of April. “These guys have made pretty amazing progress,” Mr Dias said. “The front section of the property is being totally restored like-for-like so it will look just like it used to be. In the back section, we have replaced the majority of the woodwork as well as erecting a new roof and structural beams to create a larger, open space. Significant grading of the land around the property has also taken place and the entrance has been moved farther east for safety reasons. The porch phase of the project should be starting within the next two weeks and we will be 100 per cent finished within three to four weeks; April 20 is the date that has been set.” The end of the HMS Malabar project will coincide with the completion of a series of other historical renovation projects that have been under way at the entrance to Dockyard. The Bungalow Cottage and the Star of India, which neighbors HMS Malabar, are also expected to be finished within the next month, while work on Prince Alfred Terrace should finish this week. Wedco has overseen and funded most of the projects, although it received a $3 million government grant for the work on Moresby House that will be paid back under a promissory note. “We have been upgrading the properties in Dockyard for a number of years,” Mr Dias said. “And many of these projects that are coming to fruition now have been in the pipeline for some time. The impetus for doing more at once has partially been down to the America’s Cup and hurricane repair funds becoming available, but it’s important to stress that these projects would have taken place, albeit they might have taken longer to complete.” 

Hog Bay Park and Beachwalking area

The # 7 (Dockyard) and # 8 buses stop nearby. Off Middle Road, at Hog Bay Level, past the store and the White Hill playing field opposite, great for a picnic, with a parking area for mopeds. It's the third largest Bermuda public park, Bermuda Government owned. Its 38 acres are bound to the west by the ocean, to the east by Middle Road and to the south by the Woodlawn Road residential area. 

It gets its original name from Hog Bay (or Pilchard Bay) at the southern end of Ely's Harbour. It was named for the herds of wild hogs (or boars) found by the survivors of the Sea Venture ship in 1609 who came here by longboat.  The hogs were believed to have been descendants of  hogs or boars left on Bermuda by Spanish explorers as food for shipwrecked sailors. They were why the first Bermuda coinage was the Hog Penny. Historically, it was part of the overplus of Richard Norwood's 1616 Survey of Bermuda, but by 1623 it was annexed to Sandys Parish and settled. At that time, as Bermuda was heavily focused on the cultivation of tobacco as an export crop, this land was used for this. Then farming played an important role throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. 

It was acquired by the Government for $7.9 million from three different family estates. One was the Fordham Estate in 1986 and two from the James and Mayor Estates in 1990. All three estates had resisted the temptation to build anything more than a few family homes on them, which is why the purchase was possible. The property is protected, to maintain its natural state, buildings and monuments of aesthetic, archaeological and historic value, and to provide open space to the general public. 

Prominent Bermudian individuals and families owned sections of the park from the 17th century onwards. They included Sir John Heydon, Captain Henry Tucker, and the Browns, Fordhams, James, Mayors, Outerbridges, and Trotts. The undeveloped nature of the park today offers educational experiences, ideal for the public to learn more about the early rural countryside, geography, nature and cultural history of Bermuda. 

Hospital Island

See Islands below.

Inner King's Point Island

See Islands below.

Ireland Island

See Islands below.

Islands

Those in the Parish are:

Bethell's. Ely's Harbor.

Boaz. Also Gate's and Yates. 30 acres. The sea views from here on either side are marvelous. Historically important, one of the six principal islands. Now connected to mainland (Somerset Island) via Little Watford Bridge and Grey's Bridge. In 1939, a brand-new Royal Naval Air Station, specifically for the Fleet Air Arm, was constructed here as part of British military preparations for World War 2.  Britain's Fleet Air Arm, a specialist flying unit of the Royal Navy, had military aircraft based here, mostly Swordfish and Walrus aircraft. The increased workload at HMS Malabar caused problems due to the limited space available. With so many of the locally-based or in-transit Royal Navy warships carrying catapult-launched seaplanes such as the Hawker Osprey, Fairey Seafox and Supermarine Walrus seaplanes, the need for prompt, efficient and spacious aircraft maintenance was a high priority. Thus, the new station was built. It had two good-size hangers and launching ramps on either side of the island and they allowed continuous operation in any wind direction. With the Battle of the Atlantic over, the station was reduced to care and maintenance status in 1944. Some remnants still survive. The ferry service to and from here finally ceased in May 2005. The nearest surviving one is Watford Bridge. Bus routes # 7 (Dockyard) and # 8 stop in the immediate area. Until early 2005, a ferry stop was here, on the Royal Naval Dockyard to city of Hamilton route. 

Cathedral. Abutting Whale Island, Ely's Harbor. Its name comes from Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, England (still standing since 1200+ AD). It so happened that there was once a local family called Ely, but this was probably incidental. Ely, after the UK cathedral, became quite a common surname for people once from that region, including colonists to North America and beyond. 

Crawl. Southeast of Hospital.

Cross Island. See separate mention, above.

Current. North west of Watford Bridge.

Daniel's. Off Daniel's Head. Archaeologists from the Bermuda Maritime Museum and the College of William and Mary investigated the old fort here in the 1990s. The structure was abandoned in the early 1800s and the island was never subsequently rearmed.

Gunpoint. West of Wreck Bay.

Hospital. At the entrance to Crawl Island, Sandy's Parish. 1818. Construction of the RN Hospital near the Dockyard, in the same pre-fabricated manner as the later Commissioner's House, initially as a Quarantine unit. When added to substantially later, in addition to cast iron structural features, such as veranda columns, floor joists, and possibly cast and wrought iron roof trusses, some of the stonework for the building was the hard local limestone. A surgeon, doctors and medical staff were appointed and sent by the Royal Navy. During World War 2, the Royal Naval Hospital, Bermuda, treated and often saved the lives of many brought in from torpedoed ships. The Royal Navy left in 1950s. That hospital building ended its life as an egg farm, then finally was deliberately burnt to the ground by the Fire Department in November 1972. Part of it became the site for Lefroy House, for senior citizens. 

Hospital Island bridge

Hospital Island bridge

Inner King's Point. West of King's Point.

The name has nothing at all to do with the country of Ireland, simply because there was once a British colonist landowner whose name was John Ireland. He owned, lived and farmed on that island in the 1620s. All other Bermuda place names beginning with Ireland also refer to him. In the Great Sound, Sandys Parish. One of the six principal Bermuda islands. It is the narrow serrated island that pushes out into the Atlantic at the extreme north west of Bermuda. Also has Ireland Point and Ireland Narrows, both also after the original owner. It has a completely separate history from the rest of Bermuda. It is historically important. It dates from when a Flemish or Dutch ship went aground in Wreck Bay on the Main Island and sank there in 1618. It was why the original name was Flemish Hill. The captain of the ship had the very English name of Powell and was a notorious Caribbean pirate. The buccaneer ship then had legal status as a privateer. It had sailed against the Spanish under a Letter of Marque by the Dutch prince Maurice of Orange, so was technically not a Flemish ship but a Dutch one. The British Government did not like the presence of Powell in Bermuda so Governor Miles Kendall banished him to the western Bermuda island now called Ireland Island. It was from there that Powell and his men tried to build a new ship. In 1795, Wreck Hill was bought by the Royal Navy - see Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda - which considered the Wreck Hill site an ideal one for a lighthouse. But the one that eventually got built at Gibb's Hill instead from 1840 caused the plans for this one to be scrapped. Until it became a major Royal Navy base in the 18th century, there were no roads and few inhabitants. Because there was a fear of leprosy, all those leaving there had to leave this jungle island of cedar and swine and wooden houses thatched with palmetto before the Royal Navy started moving in properly from 1809, from which point the island was destined to become joined to the mainland instead of staying an island. Maria Hill Fort on this island was later the site of the Royal Navy's Single Mechanics Quarters. The Royal Navy stayed until 1952 when the Royal Navy Dockyard there ended, but HMS Malabar continued with a token presence until 1995.

Ireland Island 2 Ireland Island

Malabar. North of Boaz. Historically important.

Middle King's Point. West of Inner King's Point.

Morgan's. Ely's Harbor.

One Tree. West of Mangrove Bay Wharf.

Outer King's Point. West of Middle King's Point.

Palm. Between Bethell's and Morgan's, Ely's Harbor.

Quintons, The. Four, off King's Point.

Regatta. Two, south of The Crawl, Ireland Island.

Somerset. 703 acres, it is one of Bermuda's six principal islands and the most western. It is joined to Main by Somerset Bridge and is connected to Boaz Island, Ireland Island and Watford Island by bridges and serviced by buses and ferries.

Watford. 4 acres, between Somerset and Ireland, connected to both via Watford Bridge and Little Watford Bridge.

Whale. Ely's Harbor and Pilchard Bay.

King's Wharf

See "Cruise ship berth" above.

Lantana 

2019. October. Not operating, still up for sale

2018. August. Lantana still up for sale.

2015. July 29. The sprawling former Lantana cottage colony is up for sale with a $16.9 million price tag. The ten-acre Sandys property with views of the Great Sound, the venue for the America’s Cup in 2017, has been closed for decades. It was bought by US business tycoon Larry Doyle, who also owns the Newstead hotel and Belmont golf course, in 2008. Lantana, the Island’s first cottage colony, opened in 1958. In its prime, it boasted extensive gardens, a croquet lawn, tennis courts and includes a private beach. It closed in 1998 and has become derelict in recent years. It is thought Mr Doyle paid between $12 million and $15 million for Lantana seven years ago. Mr Doyle could not be contacted for comment yesterday. The Lantana site is listed by real estate firm Rego Sotheby’s International Realty, which said it offered “endless possibilities to be transformed into a new luxury paradise resort in one of Bermuda’s most coveted locations”. The listing added: “Lantana is ideal for investment and future development. The property is zoned as tourism with a small limited area zoned as agricultural. Previous planning approvals in principle have included 28 hotel condominiums, 13 hotel residences, beach club, two swimming pools and clubhouse. In addition, Lantana offers another option — planning approval had been given for a draft subdivision of 13 lots with the main lot being retained as a hotel component and the remaining 12 lots as residential. This development opportunity offers the discerning investor a rare opportunity to restore Lantana and add to its natural charm.” New York-based Mr Doyle, managing director of hedge fund and mutual fund managers Horizon Kinetics also controls real estate investment firm Katierich Asset Management. He bought the Lantana site while on vacation in Bermuda. Mr Doyle said last year that plans to redevelop the Somerset Bridge site were on hold while he concentrated on Newstead, which was in receivership when he bought it last year. But he added he hoped to eventually develop Lantana, which would share ferry and limousine services with its sister properties.

2014. September 30. A US business tycoon has bought up the Newstead and Belmont Hills golf course. Now hedge fund manager Larry Doyle — who already owns the old Lantana property — plans to upgrade both the golf course and the hotel, with a new clubhouse at Belmont Hills and more rooms at the Belmont on his agenda. And he added that prices for fractional ownership at Belmont would be slashed to as low as $99,000 for eight weeks. Mr Doyle, who has been linked with the properties for three years, said: “We are very bullish about Bermuda.” He declined to discuss the price of the twin properties — but it understood it could be as high as $18 million. Mr Doyle said: “In fairness to the banker and receivers, they got me to pay more than I would have liked — but I still believe I have a very marketable property with the best location in Bermuda. I’m very happy.” The news ends uncertainty over the Newstead and Belmont sites, which have been in receivership for three years. New York-based Mr Doyle said he planned to concentrate on the Newstead in Paget and Belmont in Warwick before tacking the Somerset Bridge-based Lantana. Mr Doyle added: “First things first — we’re going to aggressively market the fractional units that are there just now. They will start as low as $99,000 for eight weeks. Existing owners will get the deep discounts. but we will be discounting for new buyers as well. Any money that’s going to go into it will be the golf course. We’re exploring building a new clubhouse and that’s probably where our energy will go to initially. There is a phase we might want to develop and build at Newstead before we do Lantana. It doesn’t make much sense to redevelop Lantana before selling off the fractional units already built at Newstead. There is talk of raising the tennis courts and adding on more rooms — Newstead is only a 60-bed hotel. If we could take that up to 90 or 100 rooms, it would be a much more efficient hotel.” The property developer and managing director of hedge fund and mutual fund managers Horizon Kinetics also controls real estate investment company Katierich Asset Management. He bought the Lantana site several years ago while on vacation in Bermuda and snapped it up despite the resort having closed more than a decade ago. Mr Doyle added that, once the site is redeveloped, it would share service like ferry and limousine services with the Newstead/Belmont operation. “I control both properties now, so it will be much easier to hammer out these details.” It is understood that the present Newstead site, which opened in 2008 just as the worldwide recession hit, cost around $70 million to build. Former owner Kevin Petty, who masterminded the redevelopment of Newstead and Belmont between 2001-2008, was in charge when Butterfield Bank put it into receivership. Mr Petty said: “I’m very sad — I’m also realistic and I think Larry Doyle is a decent gentleman who I hope will be able to operate it successfully. It’s a great property and I left my soul there.” He added that the global recession, which started in 2008, saw plummeting occupancy rates. But he said: “I really believe it was the right thing for tourism and for Bermuda. It’s a sad moment for me — my whole life was put into that thing. But, between debt and timing, it really wasn’t to be.”

Lantana Colony Club redevelopmentNot open at this time. October 2010-submitted Plans to redevelop the Lantana resort were approved by the Development Application Board (DAB) after changes were made to protect agricultural reserve. While the plans were praised for protecting the nearby Railway Trail, it also included a croquet lawn and a hotel residence built on what was labelled agricultural reserve in the 2008 Bermuda Plan. At the October 27, 2010 meeting of the Board, the DAB expressed concern about the intrusion onto the agricultural reserve and deferred making a final decision at that time. However modified plans were resubmitted on November 2, and approved on November 3. According to the minutes of the November 3 meeting, the developers removed the offending hotel residence. The minutes read: "They are also prepared to include the reserve land within the proposed Conservation Management Plan to ensure long term protection of the soils within that area, and that this would be included within a recommended condition." Lantana closed its doors in 1998, but in March developer Kevin Petty said he was confident a new $100 million resort would be built on the 9.4 acre site in the next three years. Plans for the refurbished resort, featuring 13 hotel residences and 28 fractional units, were submitted in October but drew criticism from the Department of Conservation Services over use of both coastal and agricultural reserve property.

Earlier:

June 27, 2007. Plans were submitted to transform a derelict hotel site into a new resort and marina. The Eden Group aims to create a mixed development resort at the former Lantana site in Southampton. Covering 9.70 acres, it will feature both hotel accommodation and residential leasehold properties. The land is already zoned as tourism but will also cover 0.48 acres of agricultural land and 0.40 acres of ‘green space’ along its north-east edge. The Eden Group is an international company based in London. Situated between the Railway Trail and the coastline north-west of Somerset Bridge, the resort will include 18 hotel suites in a main ‘Manor House’ complex, plus 20 residential units with driveways and 33 shared-ownership villas. Amenities include a spa, restaurants and bars, plus beachside and poolside facilities. In a letter to the Department of Planning, agents Conyers and Associates state: “Until 1998, Lantana was a successful tourism resort which has since been disused and over the subsequent years, fallen into a state of disrepair. “The proposal includes the provision of various shoreline amenities arranged around and adjacent to the existing beach which would be enhanced and protected through the addition of one new breakwater and the refurbishment of the existing breakwater. The primary purpose of this breakwater is to protect this vital beach amenity.” The resort — covering a total 95,703 sq ft — will also operate a water taxi service. The supporting letter to the application says: “The new dock is seen by the developer as a fundamental part of the resort’s strategy for transportation, with links to Hamilton and other areas of the island, and is intended to become a major gateway into the resort. “The provision of such marine facilities will take pressure off the roads and is viewed as a highly desirable transport solution for the resort as well as being consistent with the Government’s stated goal of providing inter-modal transport services. “Our client’s reputation as an international developer will ensure that the scenic quality and visual amenity of this part of Bermuda will be greatly enhanced.”

The Lantana land was put up for sale for $18.5 million last August after plans to develop it into a luxury spa resort failed to materialize. A ‘breaking ground’ ceremony took place in February 2005 with the resort planned for 2007. It was described as a 40-suite hotel complex with 17 beachfront villas and marina, spa and conference centre. However, when backers Tanner and Haley pulled out and then  applied for bankruptcy in the US, the remaining investors decided not to pursue the project. The original Lantana Resort was developed by the late John Young and was one of the first ‘cottage colony’ resorts in Bermuda. Opened in the 1950s, it built up a reputation for friendliness and excellent service, but closed in 1998. Premier Dr. Ewart Brown, Minister of Tourism, last night said: “Tourism has reached such an incredible surge that anyone looking for a hotel room this summer is going to find it very difficult. Hotels are full. “While that’s a nice problem to have, we must act. So whenever I hear of plans for new hotel development I am thrilled because it means our tourism product will have the space it needs to grow." Shadow Tourism Minister David Dodwell also welcomed the application by The Eden Group. “I think it’s a positive move and will be good for Bermuda,” said Mr. Dodwell. “It’s been closed since 1998, nearly ten years, so it’s good to see plans for an existing hotel to be upgraded and reopened. I also think it fits the type of hotel that will be successful. It’s medium-sized and a mixed-use development, and that’s the way the hotel business is going these days. I think this resort has real chances of getting up and running, and a marina is perfect for that location as it’s a protected bay.”

Lefroy House

Lefroy House, former RN hospital

Named after a famous British Government-appointed Governor of Bermuda. Now a Bermuda government-supported senior citizen's residence but the building, now substantially renovated and added to and with an ocean view, has a fascinating history. From about 1825 it was the first-ever purpose-built hospital in Bermuda, built specifically as a Royal Navy hospital serving the Dockyard. It had its own Royal Navy doctors, nurses and staff. It remained in operation as such until 1953 when the Dockyard officially closed as a Royal Navy base. 

2019. March 20. Lefroy House, the seniors home in Sandys, is not expected to be relocated “in the near future”, according to the Ministry of Health. The move, which came up in the House of Assembly last week, will go to its design and requirements phase in the 2019-20 fiscal year, but building is expected to take four to five years, a spokeswoman said. She added: “The Government has identified an available and suitable parcel of land in Southampton in the Rockaway / Morgan’s Point area close to public transport, ferry and bus routes and removed from traffic noise and pollution. The site is government-owned and adequately zoned. The site has proximity to the established safe neighborhoods of Rockaway and Dr Cann Park and there are other shops and facilities including a community physician’s office and the fire station in the neighborhood.” The site offers better protection from storms than the present location, where the listed historic building, built as a hospital by the Royal Navy in 1890, has suffered hurricane damage. The ministry has scheduled a meeting with family members of Lefroy House regarding its plans

Lodge Point Park and Nature Reserve

Craddock Road. Created as such in 2012. A 4.2 acre plot of land in Dockyard. Was once a Royal Navy residential are until the 1950s, then a civilian one, then deteriorated as an illegal dumping ground once those properties were demolished.  Now restored as an open space. An initiative of the West End Development Corporation Bermuda Government owned quango which is also working to preserve an additional 6.5 acres south of Craddock Road through to Lagoon Bridge.

Mangrove Bay

Mangrove Bay, Bermuda

Mangrove Bay, by Keith A. Forbes

Mangrove Bay

Bermuda Tourism photo

Picturesque and sheltered beach and bay near Somerset Village. Well worth seeing on its own, or on the way to or from the Dockyard area. It's worth noting that on the Sunday after Cup Match long public holiday weekend the long-established Non-Mariners Race, organized by the Society of Non-Mariners, is held here. It first began in August 1964 in Hamilton, by amateur non-sailors deliberately launching non-seaworthy and distinctly non-nautical home-made floating in often hilarious unsea-worthy crafts of any type and design as a joke against the well-established and prim sailing clubs of Bermuda and their 1960s sailing correctness. It has been claimed, incorrectly, that a drunken bunch of men were involved. In fact, they were not solely men, single women were instigators too, driven by the maleness-only of the more established sailors. Nor were the majority drunk, they were sober, just mischievous, boat-less themselves. Their unorthodox "vessels" were cranked by hand or by pedals or by the wind and were often accompanied by raucous noises, providing much amusement to many residents and visitors at the annual event which became hugely popular. After one such event had a zany entry almost collide with a cruise ship entering Hamilton Harbor, the Society of Non-Mariners, as the organizers subsequently became, the event was switched to the less-busy but picturesque Mangrove May, hosted by the Sandys Boat Club. The event now includes family frolics, youngsters jumping off "boats" and rocks, mock boat battles, some ingenious unorganized surprises. A fun day for residents and visitors.

Malabar Island

See Islands.

Messina House 

Not for tourists, except with official permission from the Bermuda Government's Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation and with lots of advance notice directly from it. Only campsite on the mainland, between Somerset and Dockyard. Only one group of 30 campers is accommodated at any one time. It has a number of rooms at ground level and several bedrooms with bunk beds, in a dormitory. There is a dock for campers, as well as a small gym behind the main house with washroom and showers; open area on waterfront; with restaurant, shops and ferry service within easy walking distance.

Middle King's Point Island

See Islands.

Moresby House

Dockyard, Somerset. An historic Bermuda Government owned property now available for commercial use. Bermuda's West End Development Company (Wedco) quango totally refurbished this historic once Royal Navy property in 2017. The landmark building overlooking the Great Sound has approximately 5,500 square feet of space with parking for ten cars. The property is now rentable by companies.

2017. May 20. Renovations to Dockyard’s historic Moresby House have been completed. The building was constructed in 1899 as the residence of the Office-in-Charge of Works. Later called HMS Malabar, it has remained empty since the Royal Navy left Dockyard in 1995. Craig Cannonier, Minister of Public Works, said the “remarkable” restoration was a “fitting tribute” to the building’s history. “I am extremely pleased with the work the contractors have done in such a short space of time,” the One Bermuda Alliance MP said yesterday. “To think that I was here only a few months ago touring a dilapidated building and now to see it today is truly amazing.” Andrew Dias, general manager at West End Development Corporation, said the landmark building had fallen into disrepair. “It was always our intention to make sure this historic building was restored and with the help of a grant from the Ministry of Public Works, work has now been finished,” he said. Wedco received a $3 million grant from the Government for the project. Mr Dias, who previously told The Royal Gazette that the project would be completed by April 20, said he was “delighted” with the final product. Restoration work was completed by Overnight Construction and Strikeforce, and was completed on budget. The building will be rented as a commercial space after the completion of the America’s Cup.

Moresby Playing Fields

Now an area for sports including cricket, but once a quarry from where much of the limestone that created the Royal Navy Dockyard and its fortifications originated. They included, after 1847, the stone for the Clocktower Building, (once the "Great Eastern Storehouse" and the other buildings. All that rock had to be blasted out of the ground, broken into smaller pieces, then chiselled into the stone blocks that account for the grandeur of the Dockyard buildings today. Slaves and British convicts did all the work.

National Museum of Bermuda public buseswalking area

Formerly Bermuda Maritime Museum. Old Royal Naval Dockyard. Regular mail: P.O. Box MA 133, Mangrove Bay MA BX, Bermuda. Courier: 1, The Keep, Sandys MA 01, Bermuda. Admission information: 1-441-234-1418. Museum offices: 1-441-234-1333. Fax: 1-441-234-1735. Email: marmuse@logic.bm. Web: www.bmm.bm.

National Museum of Bermuda

Old Watch House

Historically important Somerset building, restored. In the early 1800s, it was used as a 'lock -up' for slaves found wandering in Sandys Parish. The Bermuda National Trust, Bermuda Maritime Museum and Ministry of the Environment secured a grant under the Ministry's Environmental Grants Fall 2004 Scheme  for restoration.

Pitman's Pond

A nice nature reserve, known affectionately by this name, next to the Government Park at Somerset Long Bay, near Cambridge Beaches, and has been visited by hundreds of people, including lots of tourists. 

Railway Trailwalking area

Restaurants in the ParishDining

See under Bermuda Cuisine and Restaurants.

Royal Naval Cemetery

Ireland Island South in Sandys Parish. On Malabar Road, approaching the former RN Dockyard. Phone: (441) 236-6483. Bus Routes: 7, 8.  Admission is free. The Royal Navy purchased the land where the cemetery sits in 1809 and consecrated the ground in 1812. The cemetery grew in size and was open for burial to all until 1849 when convicts were excluded. Also known as ‘The Glade,’ it has memorials to many Royal Navy personnel from warships stationed here who died of the yellow fever that ravaged the British military in Bermuda during the mid-19th century. An Admiral is buried here. He was Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Harvey, KCB, RN. He died in 1841 on May 28 at Bermuda at the age of 66. He had been stationed in Bermuda as Commander in Chief of the North American and West Indies Naval Forces. He was 66 years old. He was entombed under a fine monument later erected by his family, and subsequent descendants who added a text engraved on a brass plaque in 1957 (see photo below). His monument shows an 19th century warship wedged between two cannon and cannonballs.

RN Cemetery 1957

The cemetery also records the numerous accidents that befell the young servicemen in Bermuda, including deaths during World War 2 when Bermuda was a transit point in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Royal Naval Dockyardpublic buseswalking areaShopping

The area is now a major historic, tourist and sightseeing attraction.

Sandys Dockyard train (16907 bytes)  Sandys Dockyard 02 (12303 bytes) Sandys Dockyard 04 (11645 bytes)

Top left Dockyard Train. Introduced in 1997, it is not really a train but a diesel-fuel road vehicle. (It is not the reincarnation of the train service Bermuda had from 1931 to 1946). It is a miniature frontier replica working train with two passenger coaches and capacity for 40 people. It runs on the road, not on tracks. But it has a train-like whistle. Its engine and two carriages were imported from Florida. There is a fare tariff. But you can walk the whole area easily. At top right, a new ferry boat provides an interesting contrast to a cruise ship (bottom left). Other ways for tourists to see Dockyard include cycle (pushbike), bus, local miniature train or Segway. 

All photos by the author

Sandys 360 Sports, Aquatic and Enrichment Centre (closed)

Sandys 360 Sports Complex

Off Broome Street. Now closed, having failed. See below. The island's first indoor sports, aquatic, fitness and community centre opened its doors to the public in September 2009. On the Sandys Middle School campus. Has a 25-metre indoor 6-lane swimming pool with a viewing platform with elevated bleachers; lifeguards and a swimming instructor; an NCAA regulation-sized basketball court, gymnasium, locker and shower rooms; fitness centre; aerobics suite and more. The $10-million centre can accommodate numerous local and international programmes for athletes. It has cardio and elliptical machines, bikes, free weights and nautilus equipment. The facility was built as an extension of Sandys Middle School but the board of trustees decided it could benefit a larger segment of the community. Designers used the American YMCA and YWCA model for the project.

2019. August 8. Two government agencies have been ordered to draw up a complete list of public grants handed to a failed sports centre. The checks by the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General’s Department must include the paper trail behind a double grant made to Sandys 360 by mistake. However, the decision issued by Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner, did not require the two offices to release the records. The commissioner has set a deadline of next month for both bodies to finish a “reasonable” search for the payment records. Each office must also issue their decision on whether or not to grant the public access to information request for the documents. The ruling came after a Pati request on payments from January 2007 to May 2016, when more than $5 million was poured into the West End sports complex. The Pati query included a request for records behind the double payment of $807,000 from the Government Reserve Fund, made in August 2011. Sandys 360 shut down in 2013, four years after it opened, because it could not pay its bills. The decision this week from Ms Gutierrez faulted the Accountant-General’s office for passing the Pati request over to the Ministry of Finance without first checking if it held the relevant records. The department also failed to notify the Pati applicant that the ministry might have held the Sandys 360 records. Ms Gutierrez’s decision, issued on Monday, ordered both offices to check for records and give a new decision on whether to grant access before September 9.

2019. July 29. A construction firm appealed to the Government to settle its unpaid bill topping $1 million for the Sandys 360 sports complex at the West End, an Opposition backbencher has revealed. Calling the failed gym a “black hole”, Trevor Moniz, a former public works minister, told the House of Assembly on Friday night that BCM McAlpine, which built the centre, approached him when he was minister in 2013 in a bid to recoup its money. Mr Moniz also told MPs that Walter Lister, the former Progressive Labour Party MP, had been paid $10,000 in connections with Sandys 360, which had been “flagged” in a report by the professional services firm KPMG. He added that “nobody knew what it was about”, but said the final version of the report stated there was “no pattern of anything they could see of any untoward payment”. Mr Lister told The Royal Gazette, when contacted on Saturday, that he “never received a penny from that institution”, adding that Mr Moniz “made this up”. Mr Lister was chairman of the Sandys Secondary School Foundation in 2002 when it launched its fundraising drive for the facility, which opened in September 2009. He added: “I’ve done a lot of work because I believed in it. It will one day return as a shining example in Sandys.” Crippling expenses and a lack of revenue ultimately scuppered the centre, which closed in late 2013. Mr Moniz said there had been “no business plan in place that would have made it sustainable”. He recalled viewing a preliminary copy of the KPMG report in 2013 during his tenure as minister. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin had taken over the portfolio when the final report was released in April 2014. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, agreed on Thursday to release a redacted version of the report. Mr Moniz told MPs on Friday that Melvyn Bassett, formerly the managing director of Sandys 360, was “the only person paid on a full-time basis” and received “a six-figure sum”. Mr Moniz also said that as minister, he had told Sandys 360 trustees that he would not support any government funding to rescue the multimillion dollar facility “if I didn’t have this report”. But he called it “patently ridiculous” to suggest that he had given trustees a guarantee to bail out Sandys 360 “no matter what the report says”.

2019. July 18. A former public works minister said yesterday that it was he who commissioned the report into the finances of a struggling sports centre — not the trustees who ran it. Trevor Moniz, now a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, explained that he asked for the independent review from professional services firm KPMG in 2013 because he was “under pressure” from high-ranking civil servants to release more public funds for the now-closed Sandys 360 Taxpayers had already forked out millions of dollars for the Sandys 360 Sports, Aquatic and Enrichment Centre, which opened in September 2009 and closed its doors in November 2013 because it was unable to make ends meet. More money had been promised in the form of a government grant, but Mr Moniz said he wanted to cancel the offer, against the wishes of some civil servants. Mr Moniz claimed civil servants “were saying ‘Government has made a promise and you have to abide by it.".  I was saying ‘it’s a different government, the conditions have not been met. I’m not going to pour money down a black hole.’ It was $30,000 to $40,000 a month on Belco. I was refusing to do that. I was trying to persuade Cabinet and the Civil Service to stop pumping money into this facility that was unsustainable.” Mr Moniz suggested some in government wanted the report kept secret because it was an “embarrassment to the Civil Service that all this money had flushed down the drain”. The Royal Gazette launched a bid to get a copy of the KPMG report under public access to information legislation in December 2015, soon after the Auditor-General revealed that the centre received a duplicate payment of $807,000 in 2011 that was never recovered by the Government. The report was kept secret by the One Bermuda Alliance administration and was kept under wraps by the ruling Progressive Labour Party. Sandys 360 chairman Stanley Lee said in December 2015 that The Royal Gazette should “approach Government for a copy of the report, since they initiated the process”. A Pati request was made to the Government, which asked for the report and for records showing all payments made from the public purse to Sandys 360 and all attempts to recover money owed by the centre to the Government. The request for the report was refused by the Department of Public Lands and Buildings, but Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez ordered its release in May this year. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, now the Minister of Public Works, told Parliament this month that the Government would not release the report because “it was not commissioned by, nor is it the property of, the Department of Public Lands and Buildings”. Mr Moniz said: “In my view, all this nonsense about ‘it’s not a government report’ prompts a serious question: who paid for the report?” He said that those in charge of Sandys 360 — the trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School — had to agree to take part in the review because they held all the information on the centre’s finances. But he added: “I would assume Government paid for it because they had no money. We were the ones who started the process.” Opposition leader Craig Cannonier agreed yesterday that the report was commissioned during Mr Moniz’s time as works minister. But he said he understood that HSBC bank, which was owed more than $9 million by the trustees, asked for the report and paid KPMG for it. Mr Cannonier added: “The trustees had nothing.” Mr Cannonier said: “When I became the public works minister in 2015, the report had already been commissioned. I’m almost sure that it did come out under me.” He added: “There were no hard, clear financials on Sandys 360 that made any particular sense. Every time we asked them for information it was difficult to get a complete picture of what was going on.” Mr Cannonier said that “people were trying to figure out exactly what it was we needed to do” to help the centre stay afloat. He added: “The bank was coming to us for help. We said we can’t seem to get any proper direction from those guys.” Mr Cannonier said Cabinet decided that the Government should buy the centre from the trustees. He added that the Government could not release the report to the public at the time because it needed to finish negotiations on a price for the centre. Mr Cannonier said he believed Sandys 360 was mismanaged by people with good intentions, which was why he told Parliament last year it was “completely unnecessary” to suggest the centre’s financials should be made public. But he added that the report should be released after Ms Gutierrez ordered it to be made public. Mr Cannonier asked: “What’s to hide?” KPMG told the Information Commissioner its clients were the trustees and that it agreed to conduct the report on the basis it would only be disclosed to HSBC and the Department of Public Lands and Buildings. The trustees told Ms Gutierrez the report was prepared for the trustees to help them resolve the “financial issues” surrounding the centre, including its potential sale to the Government. Charles Thresh, of KPMG, said yesterday: “We do not comment on client engagements and so I am unable to answer your questions.” An HSBC Bermuda spokeswoman said: “HSBC takes the issue of customer confidentiality very seriously and as such is not able to discuss any matters with respect to customers or purported customers.” The Ministry of Public Works did not respond to questions on who paid for the report and if Colonel Burch planned to challenge Ms Gutierrez’s order in court.

Sandys 360 timeline

2019. July 13. The decision to not release a report into a failed sports centre was based on advice from the Attorney-General's Chambers, the public works minister told MPs. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said: “I’m not making decisions of this nature on my own. The Attorney-General’s Chambers of this island are the ones who actually gave the advice not to release the report.” Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner, ordered the Department of Public Lands and Buildings to release the report on Sandys 360 by professional services firm KPMG into the project to The Royal Gazette by July 8. Colonel Burch told MPs last Friday that the Government disagreed with her decision and had advised her “that we will not release the KPMG report, as it was not commissioned by, nor is it the property of” the department. Trevor Moniz, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, criticized Colonel Burch over the decision during last Friday’s motion to adjourn debate. He accused Colonel Burch of a “scurrilous attack” on Ms Gutierrez and said that the public works minister got his “law entirely mixed up” and was not supposed to get involved with Pati requests. Colonel Burch last night highlighted a comment made by Mr Moniz, the works minister when Sandys 360 was shuttered, that Mr Moniz was “familiar with the content of the report”. He asked: “If the Honourable Member was aware of the contents of the report ... why didn’t he release it?” Colonel Burch said that he had not seen nor read the report. He added: “A report that was not commissioned or paid for by the Government of Bermuda, in my mind, doesn’t give us the authority to release it to anyone.” Taxpayers funded Sandys 360 to the tune of at least $5.3 million before it closed its doors because of financial problems in November 2013. Michael Scott, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, said that he was concerned about “weaponising information” obtained through Pati laws. He added: “This is a deepening and frequent methodology being deployed across all media in the world, and we’re not exempt from it. And my major concern has been the misuse of information.” The Royal Gazette has also requested information through Pati that deals with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the government body set up to compensate victims of crime. Mr Scott, who sits on the CICB, said that Pati “must not be used to inquire into sensitive information, that is concerned with the kinds of cases we deal with, in a legal context, about persons making applications for compensation”. He added that he and Puisne Judge Nicole Stoneham, the chairwoman of the CICB, “were not going to get caught up in bait on the part of the media for the release of all manner of inappropriate information related to CICB”. The Pati request from The Royal Gazette asked for the annual reports for the CICB for the years 2010 through 2018, and the annual notices listing the board members of the CICB for the same period.

2019. July 12. The Government’s refusal to release a financial report into a failed sports centre that cost taxpayers millions of dollars could end up in court. Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez told the Department of Public Lands and Buildings to disclose the report on Sandys 360 by audit firm KPMG to The Royal Gazette by July 8, but it did not comply with her order. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, told Parliament last Friday that the Government disagreed with her decision and had advised her “that we will not release the KPMG report, as it was not commissioned by, nor is it the property of”, the department. Ms Gutierrez said this week that she would follow the normal procedures set out in the Information Commissioner’s Office Reviews Policy and Handbook to enforce her decision, as with any other case. The handbook states that if a public authority tells the ICO in writing it does not intend to comply with a decision, the commissioner “may move immediately to judicial proceedings to enforce the decision at the expiry of the deadline for compliance”. If the public authority does not give written notice, the ICO can send reminder letters to the head of the public authority, which in this case is the permanent secretary of public works, allowing a further 15 days to satisfy the order. “Where appropriate, the Information Commissioner may discuss the matter with the ICO’s legal counsel and instruct them to initiate judicial enforcement proceedings,” states the handbook. It adds that public authorities which object to a decision from the commissioner can seek a judicial review. Taxpayers funded Sandys 360 to the tune of at least $5.3 million, and possibly even more, before it closed its doors because of financial problems in November 2013. Although Colonel Burch referred to the KPMG document in the House of Assembly as the “2016 financial report” it was actually completed in 2014. The Royal Gazette asked Sandys 360 managing director Melvyn Bassett and chairman Stanley Lee on December 1, 2015 for the report’s conclusions. Mr Lee replied the next day: “Maybe you should approach Government for a copy of the report, since they initiated the process.” His suggestion prompted the newspaper’s Pati request for the report, submitted soon after to the Government. Ms Gutierrez issued her decision ordering the release of the KPMG report on May 27 this year. Opposition MP Trevor Moniz took Colonel Burch to task for his statement on Sandys 360 during last Friday’s motion to adjourn debate. He accused the minister of launching a “scurrilous attack” on Ms Gutierrez and said Colonel Burch had got his “law entirely mixed up” and was not supposed to get involved with Pati requests." If the Information Commissioner rules that a document be released, it must be released,” Mr Moniz said. “An order of the Information Commissioner … has the same weight as an order of the Supreme Court. Government is bound by that order.” Mr Moniz was works minister when Sandys 360 was shuttered. He told The Royal Gazette last year that the Government ceased all payments to the centre after the KPMG report showed the state of its finances. He told MPs on Friday: “If it’s a report that I commissioned, I see no reason why it can’t be released.”

2019. July 5. Minister of Public Works Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch announced today that he will not release a report into the finances of the failed sports centre Sandys 360. The Government had been ordered by Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner, to release by Monday the report by audit firm KPMG into the project which cost taxpayers millions of dollars. But Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly that the Government did not agree with Ms Gutierrez’s decision. The minister — who referred to Ms Gutierrez by her married name — said: “I must say that it appears to me that the information commissioner Mrs Minors is going out of her way to provide all manner of support to the daily.” He added Ms Gutierrez had said: “Government has provided limited rational and factual information concerning its decision-making around Sandys 360, primarily provided during Parliamentary debate.” Colonel Burch said: “Such a cavalier dismissal of the proceedings of this House should be as offensive to the other 35 members as it is to me.” He said he had outlined Government’s decision to purchase the property in March last year. Colonel Burch added: “It was a comprehensive, fulsome and compelling rationale and reasoning for doing so, which is generally supported by the Opposition.” He said that Ms Gutierrez had been told that the report would not be released “as it was not commissioned by, nor is it the property of, the Department of Public Lands and Buildings”. Colonel Burch said that “a number of legal hurdles” had not allowed the sale of the property to take place. He added: “Once there is a final resolution I will report further to the House.” Taxpayers funded Sandys 360 to the tune of at least $5.3 million, and possibly more, before it closed its doors because of financial problems in November 2013. Ms Gutierrez said in May: “Disclosure of the KPMG report will undoubtedly close the knowledge gap in a number of areas for the public concerning the spending and decision-making related to Sandys 360.” The KPMG report was commissioned by the trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School, who own the freehold of Sandys 360, after the short-lived West End sports centre closed down just four years after it opened. The Department of Public Lands and Buildings rejected a public access to information request from The Royal Gazette for the document in February 2016, when the One Bermuda Alliance was in power, on the ground that it was exempted from disclosure because it was provided in confidence. The Gazette appealed the decision to the information commissioner and, during her review, KPMG and the school trustees also objected to the report’s release. But Ms Gutierrez decided there was “no express communication or understanding that the report was given in confidence to, and would be kept confidential by, the department or Government”. She said: “With respect to the actions the Government may have taken, KPMG and the trustees reasonably could have expected any number of circumstances to have arisen which would have led to public disclosure of some or all of the KPMG report. This includes disclosure during public consultation on the options concerning Sandys 360, in connection with the parliamentary debate on a decision to purchase the land and buildings, and so on. Both KPMG and the trustees were aware they were negotiating with a public body, and that the processes applicable to a public body’s financial commitments of this nature may be subject to future consideration or inquiry.” The commissioner said release of the report would be in line with the reasons behind the Pati Act, which included the promotion of accountability for public spending and government decision-making. Ms Gutierrez also ordered the department to issue a decision on whether it would share records about payments made to Sandys 360 and the amount the centre owed the Government.

2019. June 3. The Government has been ordered to make public a report into the finances of a failed sports centre that cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Information commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez, in a decision due to be released today, told the Department of Public Lands and Buildings to provide The Royal Gazette with a copy of the report by audit firm KPMG by July 8. Taxpayers funded Sandys 360 to the tune of at least $5.3 million, and possibly even more, before it closed its doors because of financial problems in November 2013. Ms Gutierrez, noting that the Government is now in the process of buying the centre for $1 million from the trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School, said: “The Government has provided limited rationale and factual information concerning its decision-making around Sandys 360, primarily provided during parliamentary debate. The public has not received, for example, an executive summary of any assessment, factual information provided in advance of a town [hall] meeting or consultation period, and so on Disclosure of the KPMG report will undoubtedly close the knowledge gap in a number of areas for the public concerning the spending and decision-making related to Sandys 360.” The KPMG report was commissioned by the trustees of the middle school, who own the freehold of Sandys 360, after the short-lived West End sports centre closed down just four years after opening. The report was passed to the Government but was never made public. The Department of Public Lands and Buildings rejected a public access to information request from The Royal Gazette for the document in February 2016, claiming it was exempt from disclosure because it was provided in confidence. The newspaper appealed the decision to the information commissioner and, during her review, KPMG and the school trustees also objected to the report’s release. But Ms Gutierrez concluded there was “no express communication or understanding that the report was given in confidence to, and would be kept confidential by, the department or Government”. She said: “With respect to the actions the Government may have taken, KPMG and the trustees reasonably could have expected any number of circumstances to have arisen which would have led to public disclosure of some or all of the KPMG report. This includes disclosure during public consultation on the options concerning Sandys 360, in connection with the parliamentary debate on a decision to purchase the land and buildings, and so on. Both KPMG and the trustees were aware they were negotiating with a public body, and that the processes applicable to a public body’s financial commitments of this nature may be subject to future consideration or inquiry.” The commissioner said releasing the report would further the purposes set out in part 2 of the Pati Act, which included promoting accountability for public spending and government decision-making. Ms Gutierrez also ordered the department to issue a decision on whether it would share records about payments made to Sandys 360 from the public purse and the amount the centre owes the Government.

2019. January 3. Taxpayers’ money was poured into the failed Sandys 360 sports centre even after its management stopped payment of social insurance contributions and land tax, The Royal Gazette can reveal. Gitanjali Gutierrez, the information commissioner, scrutinized documents that showed cash owed by the centre in a review of the Ministry of Finance’s refusal to release the records under the public access to information law. Ms Gutierrez said in a decision due to be made public today: “Weighty public interest considerations in this case favour disclosure of the social insurance contribution and land tax amounts owed.” She ordered the finance ministry to release the records by February 7. Ms Gutierrez said: “Public accountability concerning public spending and decision-making is a primary purpose set out in section 2 of the Pati Act. The information commissioner agrees with the position that in light of the substantial amount of public funding involved, disclosure would increase the accountability of the ministry. It would show that public funding was still being given to Sandys 360 when the Government was aware that the company and the Sandys 360 board of trustees were in arrears for social insurance contributions and land tax payments. Disclosure of the actual amounts will allow the public to make informed assessments of the spending decisions made with public funds.” At least $5.3 million of public money was given to Sandys 360 between 2007 and 2013. That included a duplicate payment of $807,000 made “in error” which was never paid back to the Government. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were also donated by the corporate sector and the public. The sports centre closed at the end of 2013 after it ran out of money. The Royal Gazette submitted a Pati request to the Ministry of Finance in February 2016 that asked for a list of Sandys 360’s debts to the Government, including a total figure and details of any attempts to recover the money. The ministry confirmed it was still owed the $807,000 and revealed that Sandys 360 was “in debt to Government for payroll taxes, land tax and social insurance contributions”. But it refused to release the amounts owed and insisted the information was exempt under Pati. A review of the decision by Anthony Manders, the financial secretary, agreed. He wrote: “It has been a longstanding policy of the ministry to not publicly disclose amounts owed to Government by entities.” Ms Gutierrez ruled that the Government could withhold information on payroll tax arrears because of a secrecy provision in the Taxes Management Act 1976. But the information commissioner said there was no reason to withhold the records on land tax and social insurance contributions. Ms Gutierrez wrote: “The ministry suggests that information that has been previously held secret as a matter of government custom, rather than as a legislative requirement, should remain secret even after the enactment of the Pati Act. The information commissioner cannot accept this claim. As part of the good governance reforms in the public service to promote transparency and improve accountability, information previously protected as a matter of policy or practice within government is precisely the type of information to which the Pati Act now provides the public access, unless it properly falls within a listed exemption.” The information commissioner said that “contrary to the assertion of a longstanding confidentiality policy concerning social insurance contributions”, the Government had encouraged people to check if their employers were up to date on payments with the Department of Social Insurance. She pointed out that the public had asked for the aggregate amount of these individual figures for Sandys 360. Ms Gutierrez highlighted a claim by the finance ministry that it held no records on its attempts to recover the funds owed and revealed that she had reviewed relevant documents, which had been withheld from The Royal Gazette. She quashed the ministry’s decision in relation to its attempts to recover the money owed and ordered it to issue a “new, accurate and complete” response to that part of the Pati request, also by February 7. A government spokeswoman said last night that it had seen Ms Gutierrez’s decision and would “take the appropriate actions as required by the Pati Act”.

2018. March 24. The Senate approved the purchase of the failed Sandys 360 sports centre for $1 million yesterday. The Purchase and Sale Agreement Between the Trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School and the Government of Bermuda was passed with no objections. Andrew Simons, of the One Bermuda Alliance, and James Jardine, an independent, did raise questions about the future management of the centre and liability for unpaid wages. Mr Simons said there had been a “sad legacy of mismanagement”. He added that the building’s life span was also limited to as short as ten years because it is made of metal. Mr Simons also pointed out Sandys 360, which closed in 2013 after it was unable to pay its way, was within walking distance of another community centre. Anthony Richardson, Progressive Labour Party, said the Government had made no decision on who would manage or operate the centre. He agreed that there were other community centres in the area and that consolidation could be explored. Vance Campbell, also of the PLP, said a report on the financial state of the centre by professional services firm KPMG was not commissioned by the Government and therefore it did not have the authority to release it. The education ministry provided $1 million towards the centre’s construction costs and, according to disclosures made to The Royal Gazette by the Ministry of Finance under public access to information legislation, further payments from the public purse totaled $4.3 million.

2018. March 20. More than half a million dollars was spent on salaries for permanent and contract staff at the failed sports centre Sandys 360 in its final year of operation, the organization's unaudited financial statement has revealed. The centre paid $404,928 in wages to permanent employees, including “benefit expenses”, plus $111,968 to non-permanent workers. The figures were detailed in documents filed by Sandys 360 chairman Stanley Lee with the Registry-General in August 2016 and were the centre’s biggest expense. Its next biggest outlay was for electricity — $111,705 between January 31 and December 31, 2013. The news came as senators are expected to agree on Friday to a government scheme to bail out the trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School and buy the centre with $1 million of public money. The buyout bid was set up despite no plan being tabled in Parliament for how much it will cost to run the centre in the future. Taxpayers have already forked out at least $5.3 million on Sandys 360, according to limited disclosures made under public access to information. The trustees still owe an unknown amount in unpaid land taxes, payroll taxes and social insurance, and have yet to return an $807,000 government grant made by mistake. The financial statements at the Registry-General cover the “closing period” of Sandys 360, up to June 30, 2014. The centre on Broome Street was open from 2009 to October 2013, when it closed its doors because it was unable to afford its high operational costs. In a letter accompanying the paperwork, Mr Lee said Sandys 360 paid rent to the trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School, who held the $9.5 million mortgage on the property. He added a downturn in the economy in 2011 led to “declining income” and an inability to pay the rent “which in turn affected trustees’ ability to meet their mortgage requirements”. Mr Lee said the charity accepted $2 million from the Government in April 2013, the first installment of a promised $6 million grant to “assist the trustees with their commitment”. He wrote: “During the ensuing year, because of low income and high overhead, Sandys 360 was also challenged in meeting its obligations. Belco had no choice but to shut off power to Sandys 360 because of inability in paying its bills”. The letter detailed how another $500,000 was given to Sandys 360 by the Government in December 2013, with the condition that it agreed to an independent business review by the professional services firm KPMG. Mr Lee wrote: “An early review of our status provided the obvious — we were insolvent.” Successive governments have failed to make the KPMG report public and the Information Commissioner, Gitanjali Gutierrez, is reviewing whether it should be released. Sandys 360 had $1.3 million in liabilities by June 2014, including more than $260,000 owed in staff wages, the financial statement showed. Mr Lee and Sandys 360 managing director Melvyn Bassett, both trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School, have declined to answer questions from The Royal Gazette. The Ministry of Public Works, which is spearheading the purchase of Sandys 360, has stonewalled repeated questions on the centre. The Royal Gazette asked for the total amount of public funds spent on Sandys 360 to date and for the release of the KPMG report last month. A government spokeswoman said: “It is unlikely the ministry will offer comment.” She later added that was because “it has yet to be debated in the House of Assembly”. The purchase was debated and approved by MPs on March 2, but there has still been no response from the ministry. A Belco spokeswoman said: “Electricity service to Sandys 360 was disconnected in October 2013; however, we cannot disclose information on individual customer accounts based on Belco’s confidentiality policy.”

2018. March 16. The public are to fork out $1 million to pay off the mortgage on the failed Sandys 360 sports centre and lender HSBC has agreed to write off more than $8 million. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, minister of public works, told MPs that HSBC was prepared to take $1 million as “full and final settlement” of the $9.24 million still owed by the trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School. The deal, approved without objection in the House of Assembly and due to be rubber-stamped by senators on Wednesday, will take the total amount of public money spent on the now-shuttered Sandys 360 Sports, Aquatic and Enrichment Centre to at least $6.3 million — but the real amount is likely to be higher. Those behind the project still owe the Government $800,000 for a duplicate payment made by mistake, plus an unknown amount in unpaid land taxes, payroll taxes and social insurance contributions. The $6.3 million covers known payments from the public purse and does not reflect how much money was received for and spent on the centre by the trustees. The Government has refused to make public a report into the finances of Sandys 360 carried out by professional services firm KPMG and the Information Commissioner’s Office is reviewing that decision. As well as grants and payments from the public purse and the original $9.5 million loan from HSBC, hundreds of thousands of dollars were donated by corporate sponsors and community members towards the construction of the Broome Street building, which opened in 2009. Construction firm BCM McAlpine, which built the centre, is still owed more than $1 million. Former Sandys 360 staff also claimed they were not paid all they were owed before the centre became insolvent and closed its doors in late 2013. Craig Cannonier, a former premier, said in the House of Assembly there was “no argument” from the One Bermuda Alliance about the purchase of the property by the Government. He added that the trustees had “great intent” and some people “mortgaged their homes and the likes”. Mr Cannonier, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, said when he was public works minister in 2016 and the OBA government proposed buying the centre for $1 million, one of the “stumbling blocks” was that “the bank was looking for the Government to pretty much finance the debt”. He added: “People have tried to, in the past, bring up all kinds of things, double payments and the like. You know what, we don’t even need to get into all of that stuff. This is Sandys 360, who started out trying to do a good job and found themselves in trouble. People were coming to me at the time saying ‘they are not giving up their financials’ and the likes. Completely unnecessary for people to carry on in that manner when we were seeking out an opportunity to save that area.” Colonel Burch asked the House of Assembly on March 2 to approve the move to buy the centre. He said the original mission for Sandys 360, which has a 25-metre indoor pool, a basketball court, a gymnasium and gym classrooms, was to help develop “healthy and positive young people” and provide the area with a social centre. But he added the operating costs of the centre “exceeded the revenue and donations received to support it”. Colonel Burch said successive governments provided grants and other financial contributions to try to keep the centre open until it was forced to shut its doors five years ago. He added: “At that time, the trustees took advice and it was determined that to keep the facility open and operating would incur an annual shortfall of between $500,000 to $1 million. Funding was not available to meet this shortfall going forward.” Colonel Burch said the trustees owed $9.24 million to HSBC Bermuda but were “unable to service the debt”. He added: “The bank had initially offered the debt to Government, extension of the memorandum of a capital grant to the trustees, and the offer of the bank to sell the debt secured against the land for $6 million. All were declined. The Government considered options in relation to the property and are of the view that the property is of such operational significance to the school that Government should purchase it from the trustees. The land used to secure the original $9.5 million loan from HSBC Bank of Bermuda to build the centre includes part of the school playing field and some school buildings. At present, Government owns the land on which the majority of the school sits and the Government will be acquiring the remainder through this purchase.” Colonel Burch said the 2.56 acres of land occupied by the centre and school buildings would be conveyed to Government and the first priority would be to give Sandys Secondary Middle School pupils access to it, followed by the community. But he added there was no guarantee the pool would be retained due to “significant” running costs. An HSBC spokeswoman said: “HSBC takes the issue of customer confidentiality very seriously and as such is not able to discuss any matters with respect of customers or purported customers.” Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner, confirmed last night that the Government’s denial of access to the Sandys 360 financial report, as well as “decisions by the Ministry of Finance concerning additional records related to Sandys 360’s finances”, were still under review.

2018. March 3. The construction firm that built the failed Sandys 360 sports centre is still owed more than $1 million almost nine years after work was completed. BCM McAlpine was never paid in full after being hired for the $10 million job and its smaller subcontractors also lost out as they struggled during tough financial times. Public records held by the Registry-General revealed the contractor’s fight to get paid by those behind the failed venture in Somerset. The documents also showed how high running costs at the fitness centre and indoor heated swimming pool made it unsustainable. The Government announced last week that it plans to buy the now-shuttered Sandys 360 Sports, Aquatic and Enrichment Centre from the trustees of Sandys Secondary Middle School for $1 million. The Ministry of Public Works said it planned to carry out a survey and renovate the building for an as-yet-unknown sum. If the deal goes through, it will mark the latest in a string of payments from the public purse for Sandys 360, so far known to have totaled at least $5.3 million, but which could be far more. Payments included one made by mistake in August 2011 for $807,000, which was never paid back by the trustees, who include former Sandys 360 managing director Melvyn Bassett, Stanley Lee, Travis Gilbert Sr and Valerie Dill. Records released under public access to information showed how taxpayers’ cash was used to bail out the trustees after they struggled to pay bills and rent on the property. The last Progressive Labour Party administration agreed in 2012 to provide a $6 million capital grant from the Ministry of Government Estates and Information Services to the directors and board of trustees. Only $1.5 million of it was handed over before the PLP lost the General Election that year. The One Bermuda Alliance government then paid another $1 million to the trustees and, according to comments made in 2015 in the Senate by Michael Fahy, who was then home affairs minister, continued to contribute towards keeping the pool water circulating after Sandys 360 was forced to close its doors in November 2013. The OBA administration refused, under Pati, to make public a report into the finances of Sandys 360 carried out at the Government’s request by professional services firm KPMG. The PLP government has also not released the document and a request for its disclosure made to the Ministry of Public Works went unanswered this week. The correspondence regarding payment for construction included letters to Sandys 360 trustee Mr Lee from Michael Ewles, the chief executive of BCM McAlpine. The first, in April 2011, revealed that the outstanding balance for the building work stood at $1.2 million. Mr Ewles wrote: “We continue to be supportive of Sandys 360/Sandys Secondary School Trustees and will actively help to find a solution for the current financial shortfall.” He said that BCM McAlpine would fund a new wood floor for the gym after it was damaged by water at a cost of about $70,000 “in order to help the facility generate more revenue”. That sum was to be added to the bill, with the total amount to be paid back to BCM McAlpine once Sandys 360 received enough money from “sponsors, government, additional borrowing or any other source”. Mr Ewles wrote again in July 2012, and highlighted a “total indebtedness to BCM McAlpine of $1.3 million”. He referred to an announcement by the Government in February of that year to give Sandys 360 a $2 million grant and asked for “a firm commitment on the timing and value of payments to clear our outstanding balance in full”. Mr Ewles wrote: “We have maintained our support for your efforts in trying to raise funds and have resisted adding interest that contractually we could apply to the outstanding balance. However, we have now reached a point whereby we can no longer rely on vague promises and discussions that are reportedly taking place.” The final letter on file at the Registry-General from Mr Ewles was dated September 2012. He wrote to Mr Lee to say the $1.3 million balance was still outstanding and added: “We are coming under increasing pressure from our subcontractors to settle their long overdue accounts.” After the change in government, Mr Ewles contacted public works minister Trevor Moniz the following April to ask for help. He said in an e-mail that BCM McAlpine had received $100,000 from HSBC, on behalf of Sandys 360, in November 2012 as a “gesture of good faith” but $1.2 million was still owed. Mr Ewles added: “I field regular calls from subcontractors who desperately need their funds in these difficult economic times. BCM McAlpine firmly believes that Sandys 360 is a good resource for Bermuda and, accordingly, we have been extremely patient in this matter. We have had no wish to resort to a legal approach to recovering our funds but clearly our patience has a limit and we must act responsibly in relation to our subcontractors.” The file held by the Registry-General showed that the minister shared the email with his permanent secretary Randy Rochester, who forwarded it to financial secretary Anthony Manders and acting Registrar-General Thelma Trott. Mr Rochester wrote: “This is a matter of some concern for the ministry. No telling what else might be out there outstanding ...” Mr Moniz said yesterday he was sympathetic to BCM McAlpine’s plight. But he said the Government ceased all payments to Sandys 360 after the KPMG report showed the state of its finances. “It was unsustainable with the albatross of the mountain of debt and with no way to even pay the monthly electricity bill,” said the Shadow Attorney-General. “There came a point in time where it became clear that it was unsustainable and had to be shut down in an orderly fashion. The trustees were irresponsible in continuing to operate it in that fashion.” Mr Ewles told The Royal Gazette this week: “While we do not wish to be interviewed for your piece, we can confirm that the balance you note remains outstanding.” Attempts to get comment from the trustees were unsuccessful. Dr Bassett, who became the salaried managing director of Sandys 360 after retiring as principal of Sandys Secondary Middle School, said in an e-mail: “Sorry, I do not speak for Sandys 360.” Mr Lee, who was acting chairman of Sandys 360 when it closed its doors, said: “I have no comment in regard to Sandys 360 — not until anything has been discussed, nothing at this point. You can ask those questions later, when more information comes out.” He then hung up on the telephone call. Mr Gilbert and Ms Dill could not be contacted.

Where the money went

The Bermuda Government paid out millions of dollars to Sandys 360 between 2007 and 2013. Based on public access to information disclosures made by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Public Lands and Buildings, the total sum is at least $5.3 million. But the true cost to taxpayers of the failed project is likely to be much higher. It is not yet clear if there were payments from the public purse made outside of the 2007 to 2013 timeframe and to entities other than Sandys 360, which went towards the now-defunct sports centre and swimming pool. What is known is that Sandys 360 is in debt to the Government in relation to payroll taxes, land taxes and social insurance contributions. The Ministry of Finance refused to reveal the amount in response to a Pati request. Those behind the Somerset facility were also given customs rebates by the Government for building materials, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. The $5.3 million figure is based on the following disclosed payments:

2018. February 28. Taxpayers have forked out at least $5.3 million on the failed Sandys 360 facility, The Royal Gazette can reveal. The now-shuttered sports centre, which the Government plans to buy for $1 million and renovate for an as-yet-unknown sum, was funded with a bank loan, a government grant and donations from the public. The education ministry provided $1 million towards its construction costs and, according to disclosures made to The Royal Gazette by the Ministry of Finance under public access to information legislation, further payments from the public purse totaled $4.3 million. A duplicate payment of more than $800,000 made by mistake to the center's trustees has never been recovered and the ministry said there were no records to show how it has sought to recover the cash or from whom. The Government has also refused to make public a report into the financial affairs of the centre carried out by professional services firm KPMG. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, revealed last week that the Progressive Labour Party government is to go ahead with a plan first announced by the previous One Bermuda Alliance administration in 2016 to buy the facility for $1 million. He told the House of Assembly: “There is a significant amount of money that is owed to HSBC, I believe, and so we are purchasing the facility for $1 million. “No capital funds have been budgeted in the next financial year on the facility but, once the purchase is complete, a thorough survey of the structure will be carried out.” Colonel Burch said any major work would have to be “properly scoped and budgeted for the following financial year”. The state-of-the-art Sandys 360 Sports, Aquatic and Enrichment Centre opened its doors in September 2009 next to Sandys Secondary Middle School after 15 years of fundraising and planning and two years of construction. The sports centre boasted the island’s only 25-metre indoor swimming pool and diving platform, plus a full-sized gym, an aerobics and fitness room, a weights room, a viewing gallery and a juice bar, as well as six classrooms. More than 2,000 people were reported to have attended its official opening, when it was described as a “magnificent” $12 million facility, which would benefit the entire community. But management admitted less than four years later in March 2013 that they were struggling to keep up with bills and repay a loan from HSBC. Sandys 360 closed that year and Michael Fahy, then home affairs minister, later said in the Senate that it had been “run very badly”. Mr Fahy, speaking in July 2015, said the Government was still spending “a little money” to keep it in operational condition. He said it was “a private entity and a private concern — not a government initiative”. The Government stonewalled questions in December that year about how much it was still paying to keep the facility from falling into disrepair. The Pati disclosures, made in response to requests from The Royal Gazette, show a series of payments beginning in 2009 and ending in 2013. They include:

The Ministry of Finance’s information official said: “All the payments ... were used to defray the cost of previous capital works undertaken by Sandys 360 and to reduce associated debt. Funding went directly to service debt and was not used for operational expenditures of Sandys 360.” A further $253,700 was spent between 2009 and 2013 to subsidize use of the centre by “seniors, youth etc”. The official said The Royal Gazette’s question on how the Government had sought to recover the missing $807,000 could not be answered. She added: “There are no records showing how government is seeking to recover the funds it is owed by Sandys 360 and who it is seeking repayment from. Hence, there are no records of letters, invoices, or court papers pertaining to repayment. However, government has sought to recover these debts by pursuing its customary debt collection procedures.” The information officer later said in an e-mail in January 2017: “We confirm we have now provided you with a list of all payments made to Sandys 360.” A request to the Ministry of Public Works for the KPMG report and confirmation of the total amount of public funds spent on Sandys 360 did not receive a response by press time.

2018. February 24. The disused Sandys 360 sports centre could be bought by the Bermuda Government. A $1 million sale and purchase agreement between the Government and Sandys Secondary Middle School was tabled yesterday by Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works. The document referred to land and buildings situated off Broome Street in Somerset, referred to as lots 1, 2, 3 and 4, and named trustees Melvyn Bassett, Stanley Lee, Travis Gilbert and Valerie Dill. The $10 million private centre, equipped with an indoor swimming pool, opened in 2009. But it struggled with a high cost of operation and closed in 2013. The centre was backed by government cash, including a duplicate payment of $807,000 in 2012, but the centre was still unable to cover its bills. In 2015, Progressive Labour Party MP Kim Wilson said the shuttered centre was attracting vandals. The purchase agreement did not name Sandys 360 and details of the deal were unavailable from the ministry yesterday. The tabled sale agreement gave a completion date of 30 days from its execution.

2016. May 5. The Bermuda Government is still pursuing the trustees of failed sports facility Sandys 360 for hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ cash paid out by mistake. A public access to information request by The Royal Gazette to the Ministry of Finance has revealed that $807,000 paid in “error” in August 2011 to those responsible for the West End community pool and sports centre has still not been recovered. The disclosure comes soon after public works minister Craig Cannonier told MPs that $1 million was being set aside in this year’s Budget to give to the same trustees to buy the Sandys 360 building in Somerset. With regard to the $807,000, the Ministry of Finance’s information officer told this newspaper: “At this time, no recovery of the funds owed to Government has occurred. The Government will continue to progress this matter with the trustees of Sandys 360.” The Royal Gazette has since asked for a full list of the names of the trustees and disclosure of actual records showing how Government has sought to get the money back but has not received that information yet. The $807,000 was a duplicate payment which should never have been made. The same amount had already been given to Sandys 360 from the Government’s Reserves Fund in two separate transactions — $627,000 in April 2011 and $180,000 in July 2011 — to help the struggling facility pay its debts. The duplicate sum was flagged up by the Auditor-General in a critical report she released last year, which detailed widespread disregard for official financial rules within the civil service and is now the subject of a Commission of Inquiry. During 2011, Sandys 360 Sports, Aquatic and Enrichment Centre — which officially opened on September 12, 2009 — was still operating but in early 2013 it admitted it could not pay its bills and its doors finally closed in November of that year. Taxpayers stumped up millions of dollars to help pay for the facility before it was built and during its brief four-year existence — though the exact amount of public money spent on the doomed endeavor is unclear. Under Pati, The Royal Gazette is seeking a complete list of all payments to Sandys 360 from the public purse, as well as a financial report on the entity carried out by KPMG at the request of the Government. According to comments made by Mr Cannonier during the Budget debate in March, the Government is planning to buy the purpose-built facility from the trustees of Sandys 360 for $1 million this financial year. The building is on the site of the Sandys Secondary Middle School on Scott’s Hill Road, with an entrance on Broome Street. The Ministry of Finance’s information officer said of the $807,000 duplicate payment: “It was the intention of the former government to recover the funds owed by way of reducing grant funding going forward to offset the receivable and to continue supporting the entity.” She said the current government decided to “cease supporting Sandys 360” though it was revealed by senator Michael Fahy last July that “a little money” was still being spent to keep it operational. The information officer revealed that Sandys 360 was also in debt to the Government in relation to payroll taxes, land taxes and social insurance contributions but she refused to disclose the amount owed, citing three exemptions under the Public Access to Information Act: commercial information, information received in confidence and disclosure prohibited under other legislation. This newspaper will appeal that refusal to the independent information commissioner, as well as a refusal by the Department of Public Lands and Buildings to release the KPMG report. Stanley Lee, one of the Sandys 360 trustees, told this newspaper in December it was up to the Government to release the KPMG report on Sandys 360 “since they initiated the process”.

2016. January 5. The demise of the Sandys 360 community centre has left former staff, some facing severe financial challenges, unpaid and unable to get answers. “It has been two years since Sandys 360 closed and quality of life for the staff is bad,” said one, a struggling parent who asked not to be identified. “Staff still have not been paid. Staff were paying their own insurance. We would get to the end of the month, get $750 and be told ‘this is it — hang in there, be patient a little longer’.” Saying they were owed one year’s salary, the source added: “If you look at the Employment Act, they were meant to pay insurance for the period of redundancy, which was four months. On average, if you listen to staff, I don’t think there is anybody at this point who is owed less than $30,000.” Former employees of the West End sports facility, opened to acclaim in 2009, are reluctant to rock the boat, the ex-member of staff said. Some held back out of a fear that a whistle-blower is not employable,  “We have just kept hoping that at some point we are going to get what’s coming to us. However, there are no answers to questions, no communication. Surely by now they must have some sort of plan.” Melvyn Bassett, who had served as managing director of the facility, declined to comment on the issue last night. Staff were initially told that wages and electricity costs were taking an unsustainable toll. Belco, which disconnected power in November 2013, had refused to restore electricity without one-third of the utility bills paid off. Enough power was provided to keep the pool circulating. HSBC bank refused to loan any further to cover operating costs, creditors had lost patience, and Sandys 360 depended on government grants for its survival. The facility still receives unspecified government help, and a mistaken duplicate payment of $807,000 made in 2012 was never recovered, as reported by this newspaper last month. According to a February 2015 letter to staff from acting chairman Stanley Lee, the facility had been “deemed insoluble” after a review of its finances by KPMG. Staff were told that HSBC bank had “a proposal for Government”, and that the Bermuda Government intended to have a possible solution by the close of the fiscal year in March 2015. “HSBC have the advantage as they hold the mortgage and any adverse action taken by any creditor will most likely produce a negative result,” the letter added. “At this stage, there are no finances available to us for any matter.” The former member of staff, who is supported by family, said there had been no communication since. Blaming its collapse on mismanagement, the source said numerous outside parties had made overtures to preserve Sandys 360, without success. “The hours were too long and the fees not high enough,” they said, noting that an offer to install solar heating — which would have drastically cut electricity costs for a large heated pool — came at a point where insufficient funds remained to install it. Other sources said that there was insufficient population using Sandys 360 to support such an ambitious community centre.

Sandys Boat Club

In sheltered Mangrove Bay, at Mangrove Bay Road, Somerset. Accepts new members. Telephone 234 2248. Or Janneke Leslie at 234-2955. Or e-mail jleslie@northrock.bm With members club liquor license.

Sandys Community Centre

Springfield & Boaz Island, 29 Somerset Road, MA 03. Telephone 234-1275. Fax 234-5652. Bermuda Government's Youth, Sport and Recreation

Sandys Parish Council

Appointed under the Parish Councils Act 1971. See under "Parish Councils" in Bermuda Government Boards. Appointees are political and meetings are not open to the public, unlike in the United Kingdom, Canada and USA where parish or community councils always are.

Seafarers' Centre

Dockyard. See under Bermuda Sailors Home. 

Skeeters Bay and Skeeters Corner

Where  Daniel's Head Road meets Long Bay Lane. Where in October 1878  the notorious nineteenth-century murder of the 41-year old black woman Anna Skeeters took place. Her husband Edward James Skeeters was known as chronically unfaithful, one who reacted violently on the occasions when his long-suffering wife was driven to protest his philandering ways. When, after a church service, she disappeared, her friends and neighbours pointed the finger at him but he claimed he was innocent. But exactly a week after Anna's disappearance a small group of men, including Anna's brother, John Evans, a seaman on HMS Spitfire, gathered on the heights above the windswept bay near the cottage and noticed a curious phenomenon. White-tipped waves were racing across the bay, unsettling its surface, except in one spot on the reef, which was much calmer than the surrounding froth. The onlookers, seasoned sailors and fishermen, knew that something unusual in the depths of the Blue Channel was responsible for the eerie sight. On Wednesday, when the high winds finally subsided, a small group of men rowed out to the site of the slick. They brought nets and homemade grappling lines made of rope and fishhooks in order to drag the six-fathom-deep waters. After several laborious passes, they finally snagged and brought up a gruesome bundle: a skeleton to which still clung some slimy shards of stinking flesh, but that lacked the bones of head, arms and feet. The grisly remains had been anchored to the bottom with rope and an 80-pound stone, whose lack of barnacles indicated it came from land. Similar stones from an old wharf littered the nearby shore close to Edward Skeeters's mooring spot, and there had been a moon starting about 3:00 a.m. on the night of Anna's disappearance. There had been sufficient light for someone to row out and dump a body without a telltale lantern. Anna's sunken corpse was brought initially to the Skeeters cottage after being fished out. The authorities asked Captain Moresby, the British naval officer commanding the Dockyard, to send divers from HMS Terror to the site. One brought up underclothing, including a petticoat (later identified by its distinctive seaming as Anna's), as well as a large hank of her grey-sprinkled hair, still twisted into the knot she had worn that evening at church. Edward Skeeters was speedily charged with his wife's murder. By now, he was already in the Hamilton Gaol near Court and Church streets, shut up there for his protection after a mob, made up largely of indignant women, had besieged the Somerset lockup, threatening to lynch him. In 1879, on July 2, Edward Skeeters of Somerset, earlier found guilty earlier of the murder of his wife Anna, was hanged.  The trial, held in Hamilton, had been sensational. Skeeters, through his court-appointed attorney, Solicitor General R. D. (Richard) Darrell, who was aided by prominent young local lawyer Reginald Gray, initially pleaded not guilty. The sorry story of Anna Skeeters's married life soon emerged in testimony for the Crown, with Samuel Brownlow Gray, the colony's Attorney General, as prosecutor. Anna, who worked as a washerwoman for a Somerset family, had been married to Skeeters for eight years and had a mentally challenged daughter by a much earlier relationship. The girl did not live with the couple despite Anna's affection for and frequent visits to her, and she seldom visited the Skeeters house. On several occasions, especially in the year before her death, an agitated Anna had fled the house for the night, telling her sheltering friends little about why she had left, though marks on her person told the tale in at least one instance. Friends and even in-laws testified that Anna Evans Skeeters was above all a nice quiet woman; too quiet...not quarrelsome at all. Yet even the pacific Anna had been driven to appeal to Magistrate Fowle for help on one occasion, when Skeeters had allegedly blackened her eye. However, in a day when a man's home was considered his castle and domestic violence was considered a private affair, Magistrate Fowle felt he could do little. For his part, Skeeters's own father testified that Edward had once knocked his wife to the ground in front of him. When the elder Skeeters remonstrated with his son, Edward replied that Anna was "his wife and he could treat her as he liked." The all-white jury took just 25 minutes to bring in a guilty verdict. A few days before his execution, Skeeters made a complete confession to the editor of a Bermuda paper, The Colonist, having spent his months in prison writing his account of events. The judge, donning the traditional black head covering, sentenced Edward Skeeters to death by hanging, declaring that he could only hope for mercy in heaven as there could be none for him on earth. The condemned man had earlier protested his innocence and was led away. Skeeters was hanged in the Hamilton Gaol yard, the area of the gallows blanketed with canvas to conceal it from the large crowd gathered nearby. Skeeters went to the gallows calmly, even reciting a poem on the scaffold about his fate, which ended with a mawkish invocation of his heartbroken mother: "Tell her that her prayer is granted/God has pardoned her darling boy." A few days before his execution, Skeeters made a complete confession to the editor of the Bermuda paper, The Colonist, having spent his months in prison writing his account of events. He claimed the murder had been precipitated by the fact that he had thrown a lit oil lamp at Anna when she had reproached him and he was afraid that she would once again go the magistrate to show the burns on her forehead and scalp. Accordingly, he choked her to death. Skeeters chillingly added that he had reluctantly completed the murder some 10 minutes after the initial strangulation when he discovered Anna still breathing as he prepared to rid himself of her body. He admitted that he was astounded when her submerged remains were recovered after he had drowned her.  He had mistakenly thought  the sea would hide her "till the great day of judgment." When Edward Skeeters's hanged body was buried on Burt's Island in Hamilton Harbour (where several other executed criminals also lie), the stone that he had used to sink Anna's body was used as his headstone. The case had other Gothic overtones. During the search for Anna, neighbours had consulted a local witch for clues as the police investigation faltered. Fatefully, both Skeeters's sexual partner, Hannah Morris, and her infant died in childbirth the month after he was arrested. The night Edward was hanged, a group of arsonists torched the Skeeters cottage, burning it to the ground. Much later, Terry Tucker used the case to write her haunting 1972 historical novel "What's Become of Anna." Sadly, Tucker felt that she had to transform the middle-aged Anna into a more marketable twenty-something young wife, as if only young and pretty women were abused. Moreover, Tucker's dramatic account is disfigured with racial condescension toward blacks, especially black men. Nonetheless, Tucker penned a powerful tale. The Royal Gazette had earlier carried an account of the trial in the spring of 1879, and a copy of Skeeters's confession, "The Somerset Mystery", published in booklet form in 1879 by S. S. Toddings, editor of the Bermuda Colonist. 

St. James's Church

St James' Church

Somerset Road. The parish Anglican (Episcopalian) church, on the Somerset Road. with an interesting church history. Bus routes # 7 (Dockyard) and # 8 stop on Somerset Road, at the junction with Church Valley Lane (left) and Scotts Hill Road (right). You'll see the church's spire on the left, if you're traveling west. It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1780 and rebuilt. mostly in Bermuda limestone. Has a landmark graceful spire, sweeping driveway and imposing entrance. Was regularly attended by some US Navy sailors and airmen from the Navy base not far away until it closed in 1995. Also the place of burial of Bermuda-based US Navy aviators when their aircraft crashed off Bermuda in the 1940s and 1950s.

Somerset Bridgepublic buseswalking area

Somerset Bridge, old post card

Somerset Bridge

Somerset Bridge

Somerset Bridge, Royal Gazette photo

Noted by the Guinness Book of Records as) the world's smallest drawbridge, officially designated under Bermuda law as an Historic Monument. Officially now a Grade HM, which refers to buildings which are of a level of historic significance and structural interest that makes them of historic importance. Such buildings are considered to be integral to Bermuda's history and to its cultural tourism, and so alterations are avoided and restoration is undertaken on a like-for-like basis. An iconic structure in Bermuda, emblematically Bermudian and appears on the back of the new Bermudian $5 note. Its listing it as a Grade HM or Historic Monument Listed Building ensures the protection of the structure for years to come. A nice scenic Bermuda beauty spot. Of the three photographs above, the top one - from a 1950s post card - gives the best idea of the magnificent scenery behind and in front. The large middle photo indicates what it is like today, more built up but still charming and well worth a stop to admire it. The bridge connects Somerset Island to the westernmost part of main island. The bridge serves two purposes three purposes.  It is where Middle Road ends and Somerset Road begins. It is the picturesque crossing for commuters and tourists to go by road or ferry to Somerset, Dockyard or City of Hamilton and beyond. Bus routes # 7 and # 8 and the ferry stop here. It is also the divide between the two bodies of open water, the Great Sound going east and lovely Ely's Harbour going north. Sections 1 and 2 of the Bermuda Railway Trail meet near here.  The bottom larger photo is on the bridge itself. This is an example of the simplest form of drawbridge, in which a timber panel is removed from the center of the bridge to allow the mast of a sailing vessel to pass through the 32-inch plank, with not much room to spare. The drawbridge was first built in 1620. When operators of small boats entered the channel, the drawbridge, the world's smallest, was cranked open by hand. The modern version, rebuilt only a few years ago, has two propped cantilever decks, which do not meet in the middle, with reinforced concrete internal props and timber external props. The cantilevered load is balanced by a reinforced concrete abutment slab which acts as a counterweight. The drawbridge is on the $20 Bermuda dollar bill. Look left for Cathedral Rocks, named for a medieval cathedral. In 1961, a silver charm of Somerset Bridge was issued by a local jeweler, as a tourist and visitor souvenir. For precise details about Somerset Bridge and all its measurements, contact the Bermuda Government's Department of Public Works. See http://www.gov.bm/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=927&mode=2&in_hi_userid=2&cached=true.  For example, you may wish to ask about the  length of the span, from abutment to abutment; the width of the bridge and is it wide enough for two cars to pass; the height from the water, on other words, the clearance; how many bridges have there been since 1620; have any been destroyed by fire or bad weather; year of last refurbishment; the actual size of the gap between the two cantilever deck sections; interesting anecdotes associated with the bridge;  and for the image of the bridge that appears on a Bermudian dollar banknote, the source and artist.

Somerset Bridge charm

Somerset Cricket Club

Somerset Cricket Club

A prominent local and island-wide sporting club. One of the oldest Bermuda cricket clubs, one of the two (St. George's Cricket Club in the parish by that name is the other) that features in the annual Cup Match classic at the end of July or beginning of August. It is important to the local social scene that it marks and is the highlight of a 2-day Cup Match public holiday and involves huge crowds. It is played either here or in St. George's. 

Somerset Long Bay 

Superb beach. 

Somerset Long Bay East 

Nature Reserve. Officially opened on April 22, 2007 by then-Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon Paula Cox, JP, MP. It includes Pitman's Pond. It is adjacent to Somerset Long Bay Beach (see under "Beaches"). Parking is available at Somerset Long Bay parking lot on Cambridge Road between Cambridge Beaches and Nine Beaches. The first property brought by Buy Back Bermuda. A freshwater pond, a prime place for many migratory birds.

Somerset Long Bay Pond

A large pond in the Somerset Long Bay area. As a wetland area, it has been the cause of concern. There is a potential threat of pollution from rain runoff, from Long Bay Lane, for pollutants such as diesel, transmission oil, etc. Also because of former use of pond area as a garbage dump, metal pollutants such as lead and iron may be present as leachate in the pond. Increased residential and tourism development in area poses potential for cesspit seepage of nutrients into the pond, although there is no significant evidence for this at this time. This pond is separated from the ocean only by low sand dunes therefore the storm or tidal surge experienced during hurricanes, such as that experienced during hurricane  “Emily” in 1987, can flood it with sea water, destroying or disrupting the freshwater ecosystem of the pond for many moths. The sea flooding experienced during Emily disrupted the breeding of water birds such as gallinules and American coots. It was many months before the salt water seeped out of the pond. Recently, illegal activities such as long-term camping and motor cycle/ motor-cross “scrambling” have taken place on the reserve in close proximity to the pond. Trash  has occasionally been blown or dumped into the pond in small quantities from the camping while the motor-cross usage carries the potential for fuel or oil leaks or spill that could pollute the pond. Stolen motorcycles have also been occasionally dumped in the pond resulting in small spills of gasoline; however these normally disperse quickly. 

Somerset Military Cemetery

GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 32.30459. Longitude: -64.85993. Includes 13 British Army personnel buried in Bermuda while serving there during and after World War 1.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission Find these records.

Somerset Villagepublic buseswalking areaShopping

Mangrove Bay 2 movie That Touch of Mink

Photograph left by Keith A. Forbes

A key village in the Parish. Facilities include shopping from branch stores of several local merchants, some nice restaurants and coastal scenes. It takes its name from the county of Somerset in England (as does the area called Somerset near Johnstown in Pennsylvania, USA). In 1962, Cary Grant and Doris Day filmed a small part of "That Touch of Mink" here. But they were wrong when they said that only Bermuda has pink peaches (Scotland and the Bahamas have them also). Scenic parts of Mangrove Bay are a short walk.

Springfield and Gilbert Nature Reservewalking area

Somerset Road, Somerset. These are adjacent attractions. Springfield, an historic Bermuda mansion an early 17th century architectural treasure, dates back to the 1740s when it was owned by the Gilbert family. When it was constructed by Ephraim and Mary Gilbert it consisted of a range of three rooms in the wing that is now fronted by the long veranda, a hall, an entrance passage, Bermuda cedar porch and a chamber. Under the front three rooms was a large cellar. Mr Gilbert died in about 1769 and Springfield was inherited by his eldest son Thomas. He followed in his father’s footsteps as Captain of the Sandys Militia and in 1788 the property was valued at £500, the second highest in the parish. The house was passed down from one generation to the next and slowly expanded to become a much more substantial property. In 1966 the Bermuda Historical Monuments Trust bought the house and it later passed to its successor, the Bermuda National Trust (BNT). The Bermuda Government leased it and It went on to serve as a library, a nursery school and a community centre before being returned to the trust in 2013.  It is in the process of being spruced up by the BNT, with both the main house and adjacent cottages slated to be rented out by the BNT. It is an early 18th century architectural treasure. A main house, courtyard, slave quarters and large buttery indicate it was once a large plantation. The Gilbert Nature Reserve is over nine acres of unspoiled woodland, open space and planting land, originally part of the Springfield property. Reforestation is ongoing at this site and semi mature specimens of Bermuda cedar, olive wood and palmetto are easily observed. Bus routes # 7 ("Dockyard") and # 8 stop on Somerset Road at the entrance to the Gilbert Nature Reserve.

Supermarkets in the Parish

Fresh fruit

Market Place, Somerset Road. Bus route 7 which will drop you nearby, not as frequently on a Sunday. Most supermarkets are open every day, Sunday 1 pm to 6 pm. Unlike in the UK and USA, liquor cannot be bought on Sunday. Be prepared and budget in advance for Bermuda food and other prices. Store prices are very high compared to USA. 

The Ledgelets Cottage Colony

The Ledgelets

6 The Ledgelets Drive, Somerset, Sandys Parish MA 06. Phone (441) 504-6962. Cottages, some large, capable of hosting entire families, pool.  Tranquil surroundings. Next to former gorgeous Lantana and owned by young descendants of the same family that founded Lantana. Lovely place for a magical garden wedding. Sunset cocktails and moonlight dancing. Whimsical tea parties and black tie dinners. A unique venue for a special occasion.

The Star of India

Dockyard. A Bermuda Government owned historic property built by the Royal Navy in the mid-1930s originally as a bowling alley ror ratings, turned into a club for navy families in 1970. Wedco has refurbished the building, adding a new kitchen, bathrooms, air conditioning, new windows and doors. It has 1,630 square feet of open space and made it available to commercial entities.

Victoria Row

Now demolished, until April 2016 an historic but ageing housing development. Until about 1960 it was a terraced housing project built by or for the Royal Navy to house its lower-rank seaman and their spouses or children. After they left,  Bermuda's West End Development Company, a government quango,  took them over and later rented them out to civilians on a limited income. Wedco spent millions of dollars recently on renovating and restoring properties throughout the Royal Naval Dockyard and the West End, but this particular project was not financially viable.

Virginia Parkwalking area

Added to the Bermuda National Parks system in the latter part of the year 2000. It has 3.00 hectares or 7.43 acres.

Visitors Information Centres  (VIC)public buses

Watford Bridgepublic buses

Watford Bridge

1887. The first Watford Bridge on Watford Island was conceived after a great storm cut communication between Somerset and the Royal Naval islands, it accentuated the need for a bridge. Later, when the Dockyard was to be expanded a “Watford Island Bridge” was deemed essential. Works on the South Yard of the Dockyard and what was intended for the new bridge meant that the descendants of any Bermudian families of today who now live in Somerset first came to Bermuda to be employed on the construction of the South Yard and the bridge. 

1903. September 24. The formal opening of the first Watford Island Bridge, begun in 1901, completed in 1902, in heavy rain. Many Bermudian families of today in Somerset first came to Bermuda to be employed on the construction of the South Yard and the bridge. The structure had been started in August 1901 and eventually spanned the 450 feet of the channel. Great cast-iron cylinders were sunk into bedrock and filled with concrete. Some 3,000 tons of local stone, 200 tons of cement and 55 tons of granite were required for the works, along with 433 tons of steel for the bridgework and central swinging span. Before that, a horse ferry, a flat-bottomed boat that could accommodate a horse and carriage had been the only way to cross the channel. “The bright smart-looking khaki of the soldiers quickly assumed the appearance of brown paper; many pretty dresses became limp and bedraggled, and clung affectionately to their fair owners.” But the weather cleared for the opening of what was considered the crowning structure in the work of providing continuous overland communication throughout Bermuda following the completion of the Causeway at St. George’s Parish in 1871. The people of Somerset had constructed a triumphal arch at their end of bridge and a great crowd gathered. The Governor, Sir Henry LeGuay Geary, KCB, pressed an electric bell and the swing span opened to allow a procession of boats, including as passengers all the schoolchildren of Somerset, to enter Mangrove Bay. This particular Watford Island Bridge lasted for 54 years.

This bridge, now the third, was named after Watford, Ireland, not the English town in Hertfordshire as has long been claimed. It connects Somerset Island with Watford Island, Boaz Island, Ireland Island and the Royal Naval Dockyard. Sea views are marvelous. Bus routes # 7 ("Dockyard") and # 8 stop in the immediate area. There's also the Watford Bridge ferry stop, on the Royal Naval Dockyard to city of Hamilton route. See a British historic military cemetery on nearby Watford Island and another one near this bridge. In 1958 the bridge was rebuilt to provide fishing and pleasure boats a shorter trip to and from the West End. The first bridge was conceived in 1887 after a great storm cut communication between Somerset and the Royal Naval islands of Watford, Boaz and Ireland Islands. It accentuated the need for a bridge. In 1902, a bridge to the mainland, begin in 1901 and formally opened in September 1903, finally spanned the Watford gap. Prior to 1900, a “horse ferry”, being a small flat-bottomed boat that could accommodate a horse and carriage, traversed the channel. It eventually spanned the 450 feet of the channel. Great cast-iron cylinders were sunk into bedrock and filled with concrete. Some 3,000 tons of local stone, 200 tons of cement and 55 tons of granite were required for the works, along with 433 tons of steel for the bridgework and central swinging span. The original bridge lasted for 54 years; its replacement from 1957, a mere 23 years. The present Watford Bridge, minus the Island, was built in 1982, and claims to be “one of the most successful tributes to the use of galvanizing in civil engineering.” It is supposed to have a “design life” of 120 years.

Watford Bridge Ferry Dock

Watford Bridge, Mangrove May Road, Sandys. Serves residents and visitors. On the Dockyard to Hamilton Route. 

West End Development Corporation (Wedco)

See http://www.thewestend.bm. A government quango, formed to redevelop the former Royal Navy Dockyard). P. O. Box 415, Somerset, Mangrove Bay MA BX. Phone (441) 234-1709. Fax 234-3411. E-mail marketing@wedco.bm. Dockyard. Established in 1982 to manage and develop 214 acres of Government-owned land in the West End, including Watford Island, Boaz Island, Ireland Island South and North, the small islands forming the Crawl off Ireland South and the North and South basins and breakwaters. Revenue is generated from residential and commercial tenants plus berthing fees from the commercial and cruise ship docks. Mega cruise ships now dock near there. Recent work carried out by Wedco at Dockyard includes the installation of a reverse osmosis plant, the relocation of the marina and the development of ten residential units. Future planned developments include the Victualling Yard, Casemates, the South Basin and the Parsonage.  

Westgate Correctional Facility

Dockyard. Not a tourist attraction, instead Bermuda's main prison, built on former Royal Navy land. It replaced Casemates. Here is where Bermuda's criminals are imprisoned, including US, Canadian, Bermudian, British/UK and other nationals convicted of drug-related and other offences.

Drone flights ban: A 150 metre circle around Westgate Facility, with the centre being 32°19’28.8”N 64°50’17.4”W

2019. April 30. Westgate Correctional Facility has gone on “indefinite” lockdown, staffed by “a skeleton crew” after officers decided to work to rule in protest against conditions, the Minister of National Security said last night. Wayne Caines said the industrial action came after the Prison Officers Association met yesterday to discuss “working conditions and outstanding issues with reference to the prison service”. Prison officers imposed a lockdown last Friday after three officers were attacked by a group of prisoners. Now they have backed a work-to-rule, with no overtime — which means that prisoners will have limited recreation and visits. Education classes at Westgate will also be suspended. Mr Caines said the prison service would be supplemented by 18 police officers, who will transport prisoners to and from court appearances and for medical treatment outside the prison. About 20 soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment are on standby to assist the police if needed. Mr Caines admitted: “This is not an ideal situation — that is why we want to get both sides to the table as quickly as possible.” He said: “Our hope is that, as soon as possible, clear heads prevail.” Mr Caines declined to give details of the assault and added that a file was being prepared for the Department of Public Prosecutions. He said prisoners “will not be able to leave their cells as freely as they were before the work-to- rule was implemented”. Mr Caines hoped that the association would “immediately” accept the invitation of the labour relations manager to hold talks to resolve their concerns. Thad Hollis, lead negotiator for the Prison Officers Association, told The Royal Gazette last month that officers at Westgate were under stress because of low staff numbers, and the lack of adequate training to deal with violent or mentally ill prisoners.

2019. April 27. Westgate prison was on lockdown yesterday after three officers, one of them a woman, were attacked by inmates, it was revealed last night. Prison officers locked inmates in their cells and took away visiting and recreation privileges after their colleagues were attacked yesterday morning. Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said: “The inmates involved in this incident have been put in segregation.” Mr Caines said one officer suffered minor facial injuries and had since returned to work. Another officer sustained a back injury and the third injured a knee. Both were treated at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital “as a precautionary measure”. Mr Caines said he was unable to say if a weapon was used in the attacks or how many prisoners were involved in the disturbance. He added that an investigation into the incident had been launched. Mr Caines said that extra security measures would be imposed at the prison if needed. He added: “This matter is under control. We have a contingency plan if things escalate. We do not believe they will escalate.” Mr Caines added that the safety and security of prison staff was a priority for his ministry. He said: “We believe that the protection of all of our officers in all of our facilities is paramount.” Mr Caines added: “We want to make sure that the officers involved in this are not only getting the support through treatment this afternoon, but making sure they are getting the necessary psychological help that they need directly after.” He admitted that the ageing Westgate facility had problems but that options were limited by budget constraints. He said: “We value our correctional officers. We understand that they work generally in a stressful environment. We will do whatever is necessary to make sure that they are safe and that the facilities they work in are put in their best state.” However, he admitted that upgrades were a work in progress and would not happen “overnight”. He said the prison’s alert system and CCTV coverage had been improved. Mr Caines added: “If there are any breakdowns in any of the security elements, we will look at it and it will remain our priority to make sure that our officers are covered and that their safety is paramount.” He said that he had met the Prison Officers Association six times and heard their concerns and that a plan was to be implemented to address them. Mr Caines added that acting Commissioner of Corrections Keeva-Mae Joell-Benjamin had drawn up a plan to tackle problems with the ageing buildings, security and how to deal with prisoners with mental health difficulties. He said national security officials were in talks with the Ministry of Health and the Bermuda Hospitals Board to try and set up a forensic mental health unit. Prison officers met last night after the attacks and the acting commissioner is expected to meet the Prison Officers Association on Monday. Officers from the prison system are also expected to hold a meeting next Friday, which was scheduled before yesterday’s attacks.

Westgate prison

Willowbank Hotel & Conference Facility 3 StarDiningMeeting RoomPool

126 Somerset Road, Sandys Parish MA 06, Bermuda. Established in 1960. 

Willowbank, Bermuda

2017. March 24. Six years after it closed its doors, the Willowbank Hotel is to reopen in May. The 56-year-old hotel enjoys stunning ocean views in Sandys and is expected to be busy during the America’s Cup period and beyond. Glenn Jones, director of public and stakeholder relations at the Bermuda Tourism Association, said: “Our chief executive officer Kevin Dallas and our chief product and experiences development officer Pat Phillip-Fairn visited Willowbank this week and were delighted to see a property on the eve of a new beginning with a team of staff and managers motivated to welcome visitors very soon. “Our expectation is that Willowbank will reopen its doors formally on May 1. It’s especially good news to have additional hotel inventory online ahead of the America’s Cup.” The 64-room hotel closed in November 2011 during the economic downturn. It was a family-run Christian hotel, which also had a conference centre. The closure of the hotel has continued to be lamented online at websites such as TripAdvisor, by former guests asking if it will ever reopen. During the past few years the conference centre has been used occasionally, however, the hotel remained closed. The property has undergone refurbishment and the expectation is it will reopen for business in the early part of May. A website for the hotel at Willowbank.bm currently advises visitors to check back for updates. Mr Jones said: “The Bermuda Tourism Authority is encouraging Willowbank to reposition itself as a 64-room family hotel, leveraging its secluded beaches, green space and the surrounding neighborhood which has a family-friendly feel — all while remaining true to the hotel’s original mission. “The team here on-island and in New York will work with Willowbank to assist with its reintroduction to the Bermuda hospitality industry. “We’re excited about what they’ve done so far and look forward to the opening in about six weeks.” The Royal Gazette has approached Willowbank regarding the reopening and is awaiting a response.

Closed on November 30, 2011, with no indication as yet whether it will reopen and if so, when. Was a nice hotel with 67 rooms, all with balconies and non-smoking. On six acres of manicured grounds. Owned and operated by the Willowbank Foundation. Registered Bermuda Charity # 433. Was a Christian spiritual retreat complete with devotions for those who wish them. On bus routes 7 (Dockyard) and 8. 2 private beaches, water views, tennis courts, heated (in winter) outdoor pool. Before closure, room rate included breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner. There was no bar. A place for spiritual and physical rest, and fellowship. Had WIFI.

Wreck Bay and Wreck Hill

The first is below Wreck Hill. Both first got their names from the fact that a Flemish or Dutch ship went aground and sank here in 1618. It was why the original name was Flemish Hill. The captain of the ship had the very English name of Powell and was a notorious Caribbean pirate. The buccaneer ship then had legal status as a privateer. It had sailed against the Spanish under a Letter of Marque by the Dutch prince Maurice of Orange, so was technically not a Flemish ship but a Dutch one. The British Government did not like the presence of Powell in Bermuda so Governor Miles Kendall banished him to a western Bermuda island now called Ireland Island. It was from there that Powell and his men tried to build a new ship. 

In 1777, Bermuda was invaded briefly by the USA. During the American Revolution, British militia soldiers manned the isolated 17th century battery near Wreck Hill.  The old fort had a strategic position protecting the West End Channel. It was one of the few passages through the dangerous ring of reefs for sailing ships. The soldiers at the fort had the presence of mind to exchange gunfire with two armed brigs that advanced in a threatening manner although they then flew British colors. The brigs, thought to include Bermudian expatriates familiar with local waters, answered with broadsides from their cannon, lowered their Union Jack flags, hoisted the red, white and blue striped ensign of the United States of America and proceeded to invade Bermuda with landing parties. To avoid meeting this much bigger force, the Bermuda based militia men retreated from the battery. The Americans spiked their guns and destroyed the walls of the fort but were forced to retreat themselves when more local soldiers and a Royal Navy detachment responded to the alarm. The Americans escaped on their ships in what became only the second time in the history of Bermuda that it was invaded.

In 1795, Wreck Hill was bought by the Royal Navy which considered the site an ideal one for a lighthouse. But the one that eventually got built at Gibb's Hill instead from 1840 caused the plans for this one to be scrapped. In the later 19th century, there was a grocery and general store at the bottom of the hill which could be accessed only by boat. American painter Andrew Wyeth - see our http://www.bermuda-online.org/forart.htm - is said to have painted a marine scene from the property as a young man in about 1938.

The entire headland of this hill on the northernmost tip of Main Island is now incorporated into Wreck House, an exclusive 26-acre estate with spectacular gardens, private beach, tennis court and more, once owned by multi millionaire Robert Stigwood whose was responsible for the successes of John Travolta, Andrew Lloyd Webber and others and whose guests included Michael Jackson. Australian Bruce Gordon bought the property from Stigwood. The latter, an international music, theatre and film impresario, often hosted parties on board his yachts, seen moored alongside The Flagpole on Front Street. Mr Stigwood left his native Australia for London in the 1950s to pursue a career promoting pop acts. His transition from a rock band manager and producer to multimedia entertainment magnate started in the late ’60s when he saw the musical Hair on Broadway and decided to produce it in London’s West End. He went on to produce the stage and movie versions of Jesus Christ Superstar, a film adaptation of The Who’s rock opera Tommy and brokered the deals which repackaged British TV shows Til Death Do Us Part and Steptoe & Son as All In The Family and Sandford & Son on American television in the early 1970s. A 1976 Rolling Stone magazine profile described Mr Stigwood “as constant traveller, a bachelor with homes in Los Angeles, New York and Bermuda … a peripatetic power broker with a penchant for style and a fondness for life in the grand manner.” And the New York Times once called the self-made tycoon “a combination of PT Barnum, Mike Todd and Jay Gatsby” — a description which delighted Mr Stigwood and one he often quoted. In 1976 he was planning a slate of new movies when he first arrived. One of those films was a low-budget production based on a New York magazine article about the disco subculture called Tribal Rites Of The New Saturday Night; the film’s title was later changed to Saturday Night Fever. Starring a relatively unknown John Travolta, the film told the story of a Brooklyn paint store clerk who escapes his dead-end existence on the disco dance floor. A massive commercial and critical success when it was released in 1977, the film became an international pop cultural phenomenon. It popularized disco music around the world, spawned trends in everything from dancing to fashion to hairstyles and turned Mr Travolta into a superstar. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, released by Mr Stigwood’s RSO recording label, featuring four new songs by the Bee Gees and two previously released hits, sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. Some Bee Gees songs from the soundtrack — How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever and More Than A Woman — were sketched out in Bermuda when the band stayed with Mr Stigwood at Palm Grove in the summer of 1976. And the infectious theme song Stayin’ Alive — which topped the US singles charts for a month and was once famously described as “a kind of national anthem for the ’70s” — was largely completed here. Speaking to a Netherlands radio interviewer in 2002, the late Bee Gee Maurice Gibb said Stayin’ Alive was “really born, I think, more in Bermuda than anywhere else. We finished it off in France.” Also while in Bermuda Mr Stigwood produced the ’50s-era rock’n’roll movie musical Grease, which co-starred John Travolta and Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, and the West End and Broadway versions of the stage show Evita along with a later film adaptation starring Madonna. He hosted such visiting luminaries as the Duchess of York, Mr Travolta, film director Ken Russell and pop star Cyndi Lauper at his Wreck Road mansion before moving to the Isle of Wight in the 1990s. He died in London in January 2016.

Wreck Hill

Wreck Hill, from the sea

Other Bermuda geographic areas

City of Hamilton Hamilton Parish Paget Parish Pembroke Parish Sandys Parish
Smith's Parish Southampton Parish St. George's Parish Town of St. George Warwick Parish

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Last Updated: December 5,  2019
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