Message from the Executive Director

With our series of summer camps now at an end, it is strangely quiet around Waterville. We enjoy the vibrancy of having the children on site, with laughter in the garden as they attempt to build shelters out of palmetto leaves like the early settlers or watch their s’mores melt in a self-built solar oven while learning about solar energy and climate change.


Education remains a very important part of what we do here at the Trust, as we must inspire the next generation to appreciate the value of their natural and cultural heritage so that they will care for it in the future. I am delighted that Anna Ridgeway, formerly the Trust’s Museums Manager, has stepped into the role of Heritage Education Coordinator. A teacher by profession, Anna combines many years of teaching experience, both inside and outside the classroom, with an in-depth knowledge of and passion for Bermuda’s heritage.  


I am also very pleased to announce that Dr Dörte Horsfield, formerly our Director of Education, is now managing the Trust’s Development department as Head of Development and Engagement. Her first challenge in this new role has been to get out our Annual Appeal letter for 2021. Many thanks to those who have already answered our call for support.


If you have not yet done so, I hope you will consider giving this year. We are still seeking to overcome the impact of Covid, and every dollar is greatly appreciated - to read the 2021 annual appeal letter please click here.

Please Give Today!

2022 Calendars: History in Art

BNT 2022 Calendars have arrived! This year's calendar showcases Bermuda's 19th Century heritage through art.  


As a tribute to the late Geoffrey and Fay Elliott, the 2022 Bermuda National Trust calendar exclusively highlights images from the Elliott Collection. This extraordinary collection of more than 200 watercolours was donated to the BNT by the couple in 2017, and we are delighted to share them with you! The collection features artists such as Thomas Driver, Lieutenant General Gaspard Le Marchant Tupper, and Admiral Sir Michael Seymour.


These beautiful calendars cost $12 and can be purchased at the Bermuda Book Store, Bookmart and at BNT Headquarters, Waterville from Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm.

Conservation Updates

This work is hot stuff!


While we have dialled down the quantity of volunteering for July and August, nothing has been lost in the quality of volunteer activity. The joint challenge of heat and humidity failed to deter two groups of volunteers from getting to work to improve our environment. As noted in the July Newsletter, our green spaces keep us cooler and we thank the US Coast Guard Eagle Cadets and Deloitte interns for their incredible work at Waterville and Paget Marsh.


Myles Darrell, Head of Natural Heritage

Interns at Paget Marsh 

Many of the 14 Deloitte interns who came to Paget Marsh on 16 July had either never been or hadn’t visited in a long time, so we began with a short tour of the property to familiarise them.


While it has been closed for repairs the boardwalk became overgrown and the team proceeded to do a thorough job of clearing it, ready for re-opening. They successfully avoided the dreaded poison ivy that runs rampant throughout the marsh and is often difficult to identify in the green palette of this beautiful wetland.


Balloon vine continues to be a nuisance, even after two years of consistent work to remove it, demonstrating how challenging invasives have become for Bermuda’s native plants in the past two decades. The team did a great job of removing significant amounts of the vine.


They also weeded around juvenile trees to encourage their growth. Deloitte has been volunteering with the Trust for many years now but this was their first visit to Paget Marsh. The most recent Deloitte visits have been to Springfield in Somerset where the team did amazing work to make good the most traversed nature path in the west, the Anita Wingate Trail.


The team was upbeat considering the sweltering heat, and they maintained smiles and a positive attitude throughout the afternoon. There was a lot of laughter, learning and general camaraderie as we worked to preserve and protect our natural heritage


Thank you to Deloitte and the interns for improving Paget Marsh Nature Reserve.

  • The Paget Marsh boardwalk is closed at the moment due to safety issues, but we are making good progress in rebuilding it, to enable visitors once again to access the full beauty of this remarkable area with its wealth of Bermuda’s pre-colonial plant growth.


  •  A visit to Paget Marsh is still a worthwhile to-do for families and visitors wanting to learn more about our natural heritage. The signage throughout the remaining accessible part of the reserve provides excellent educational insight about the marsh and its inhabitants. This is a great central place to enjoy a picnic in the shade and take in the serenity of it all.


  • Paget Marsh, 28 acres, is a valuable open space and ‘green lung’ for Bermuda, located centrally and highly visible to all travellers from the west end. It’s also an important field trip location for schoolchildren as part of their science curriculum. We are fortunate that a number of regular volunteers work hard to keep invasives at bay and continue the native planting. 

Cadets at Waterville

Ties between Bermuda and the US were strengthened by a visit to Trust headquarters at Waterville on 12 July by US Consul General, Karen Grissette, and 16 US cadets from the US Coast Guard (USCG) Academy visiting Bermuda onboard ‘America’s Tall Ship’, the officers’ training ship Eagle.


The USCG team came to make a meaningful contribution to Bermuda – and they certainly succeeded with their great work on the grounds at Waterville, one of our most visited properties. The gardens around this iconic historic building are used daily by walkers on their way to the city, people spend a peaceful moment at the waterside, and families enjoy the busy wildlife around the mangroves. In other words, the cadets’ contribution benefits many people in our community.


Following a brief tour of the space, the cadets planted Bermuda Palmettos that will one day replace the invasive Chinese fan palms that are a general nuisance to Bermuda and have a strong presence on the property.


We also planted a Southern Hackberry, Bermuda’s only native deciduous tree. The cadets were keen to learn about similarities between wildlife in Bermuda and the US and this tree species provided a good example.


After a brief lesson on roses, the team weeded around the small collection of Bermuda roses between the buttresses of the building. The main Repository Rose Garden at Waterville is diligently and exquisitely cared for by the experts at the Bermuda Rose Society.


The cadets had heard about the juvenile fish, turtles and rays that populate the water at Foot of the Lane and were looking forward to their National Geographic experience! Some of the cadets paddled around Duck Island and were amazed by the unusual creatures and general abundance of life in this little bay.


After learning about the mandate and work of the Trust, the US Consul General joined in and took a moment to plant a Palmetto to symbolise the continued strengthening of the historic relationship between the United States and Bermuda. 

Heritage at Risk

Montpelier was in pristine condition when this aerial photograph was taken in 1995. The oldest part is the central portion with the two projecting wings separated by a massive chimney.

Montpelier was a well-loved family home in 1978.

Montpelier

This is part of a series of architectural articles by the Bermuda National Trust to highlight some of Bermuda's endangered historic buildings.



by Linda Abend and Margie Lloyd


Montpelier is a listed building owned by the Bermuda Government. Built in the middle to late 1700s, Montpelier is perched on the hillside and once would have enjoyed a fine view of Hamilton Harbour. During the next century, there were additions and alterations that surrounded the original T-shaped cottage. 

 

The first owner of record is Bermudian Richard Jennings Peniston who, with his wife and first cousin Rebecca Jennings, took up residence when they returned from the Dutch island of St Eustatius in 1781 after it had been captured and looted by British Admiral George Rodney. The story goes that it was Rebecca’s idea to sew their gold into the upholstered seats of the cedar chairs and so were able to escape without their fortune being detected and seized by Rodney. Richard died in 1810 and Rebecca in 1816 and Montpelier was inherited by her nephews, the sons of her sister Mary, and eventually by Mary’s grandson, Richard Jennings Peniston Darrell.


Click here to read the full article

 The roof of Montpelier Cottage is riddled with cracks and vegetation is growing through the windows.

Montpelier’s shutters have been allowed to fall to pieces.

BNT Summer Camp

Waterville has been buzzing all summer long, with our holiday camps back in full swing! Campers had great fun and learnt a lot about Bermuda’s natural and cultural heritage.


This summer children took part in a vast array of activities, including building their own solar ovens. At Carter House they met Larry Mills who joined them back at Waterville and helped them in building their own settlers huts.


Campers also had the chance to travel to St. George’s and visit the BNT Archaeology lab where they met Dr Michael Jarvis and Alexander Cook. They explained the importance of archaeology and their recent finds at Smith's Island. Campers got to hold old artefacts and learnt about the clues they tell us about life in Bermuda 200 - 300 years ago.

Upcoming Events

Volunteer Day at Tivoli Community Gardens

2 October, 2021 - 9:00 am - 12:30pm

Click here to sign up


Volunteer Day at Marjorie Jackson Nature Reserve

30 October, 2021 - 9:00 am - 12:30pm

Click here to sign up


Volunteer Day at Gilbert Nature Reserve

27 November, 2021 - 9:00 am - 12:30pm

Click here to sign up


Volunteer Day at Rebecca Middleton Nature Reserve

11 December, 2021 - 9:00 am - 12:30pm

Click here to sign up

A Tribute to Robin and Sue Judah

The Trust owes a huge debt of gratitude to Robin and Sue Judah who died earlier this month – Sue on 3 August and Robin on 12 August. Both were deeply involved in the Architectural Heritage series from the beginning. Robin took virtually all the modern photographs and Sue was one of the keenest and most thorough of the researchers and proofreaders.


Margie Lloyd, who leads the Architectural Heritage team, said: “When we first planned the series in 1992 we originally thought that each researcher would photograph his or her own buildings but soon realised that we needed help if we were going to produce quality books. So, knowing that Robin was a skilled photographer, we approached him and he immediately agreed. Sue was interested in the project and became one of the very first researchers. Their involvement continued until they moved to England in 2019 and even the forthcoming Southampton volume will contain many of Robin’s photos taken before their departure.”


We extend our deepest sympathy to their daughter Catherine, who herself has been a proofreader for some of the series.

Robin Judah, seated on the left and Sue Judah, standing second from the right.

The Bermuda National Trust | www.bnt.bm

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