Upon the highest eminence within the boundaries of the city of Hamilton stands the Sessions House. Apart from the Bermuda Cathedral, whose roof line and tower rise well above it, the Sessions House with it’s clock tower is the most conspicuous building on the city’s skyline.
The original building was a two story edifice of simple but pleasant design and completed about the year 1819. This was shortly after the seat of Government was moved to general convenience from the Town of St. George’s to Hamilton. The large chamber in it’s upper story is reserved for the use of the House of Assembly. In the Chamber immediately below it, the Supreme Court of Bermuda holds it’s sessions. The Senate Chamber is in the Cabinet Building on Front Street.
The clock tower which adorns the building was erected to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887.
THE CHAMBER : The room in which the house of assembly meets is well -proportioned and is rectangular shape. The Eastern portion is cordoned off from the main part of the room to provide galleries for visitors. The Chamber was paneled about 1890 and the Speaker’s chair and members chairs and desk, constructed of English Oak, date from the same period. Members’ seats are arranged in two rows- the two on one side facing the two on the other with an open central gangway between. This follows the arrangement of the House of Commons.
THE SPEAKER The speaker of the House is chosen from 40 elected Members now(36) of the Assembly. His election to office normally takes place during the first meeting of Parliament following a general election. Once elected the Speaker sheds all party allegiance and conducts the meetings of the House with impartiality and is responsible for ensuring that the rules are observed.
ST,GEORGE’S CRICKET CLUB:The present site of the St. George Cricket Club land was purchased from the St. George’s Grounds Company. They later purchased land North and West of the field from the Packwood and Roberts Estates. The Construction of the club began in 1960 under President Broodie Smith.
SOMERSET CRICKET CLUB: Mr. Warren Simmons was instrumental in the construction of the Somerset Cricket Club and was President in January 8th. 1948. when the club opened. The Oddfellows of Somerset members of the Loyal Irresistable Lodge renamed the cricket organization Somerset Cricket Club and their colours as Red and Blue. Warren was the first batsman to score 500 runs at a cup match and the first Somerset Batsman to score 1000, runs in a season.
William Pearman also associate with the Cricket Club was a member and founder of the Irresistable Lodge. He was also a trustee and member of the Hannibal Lodge and a founding member of Abercorn Lodge.
THE FOX CONTRIBUTION: The father of Charles H.G. ‘Warbaby’ Fox was responsible for helping to build Chapel of Ease a Church in the Eastern end of Bermuda. He also established BLACK HORSE TAVERN in 1926 and BLUE MARLIN RESTAURANT.
REMEMBER NORMA NOTTINGHAM: Ms. Norma Nottingham was the first black person to work in the overseas Department at the Bermuda Telephone Company. She began as a switch board operator and retired as a Senior Supervisor. In 1997 she became Bermuda’s first lady Grand Marshall of the Carnival section of the Bermuda Day Parade.
Raymond Deshields was born during the time of segregation in 1933 to John and Edna Deshields. Growing up in North Village he was officially among the ranks of those that were proud to be known as Pond Dogs a name that derived from persons living on the Parsons, Glebe Hill and Government Gate roads.As a young man he was sent to collect sawdust for their outhouse at a neighbourhood Carpentry Shop. He later started working there after school.
In 1949 at the tender age of sixteen he studied an apprenticeship programme at the West End in Somerset and by 1950 he was sent to Portsmouth in England to complete his education as a shipwright. He returned to Bermuda with the skills that would be a benefit to him in future endeavours. He spent three months at Portsmouth Naval Base helping to repair the Replicas of the Royal Navy’s famed HMS ‘Victory’ which was Lord Nelson’s flagship at the battle of Trafalgar.
In 1968 Mr. Deshields was then hired to build the ‘Deliverance replica’ for the Junior Service League, with the assistance of Gary Paynter. The job took about a year and a half to complete. The mask was made of Canadian Spruce by Mr. Deshields. Interesting to note when the job started Bermudians were being paid in Pound Shillings and Pence and before he finished the currency had changed to dollars and cents. So successful and notable was his work that he was hired to repair Bermuda fitted Dinghies and he worked at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club as a deck hand. He was an avid supported of the Progressive Labour Party and helped to canvas for candidates over several years, for his support he was privileged to receive the Drum Major Award on the PLP Founders Day in 2018. He was a world traveler and was always invited to bring in large yachts from all over the world. He was a stanch worshipper at St. Paul’s A.M.E. church. He will be remembered for his great work and beautiful craftsmen’s ship.
Cecil G. Smith was the son of Christopher Smith he had 2 other siblings Ruth Dill(Smith) and John Smith. He grew up on Camp Hill Warwick. In his early childhood he discovered his love for music and spent time playing on his grandmother’s organ. He readily followed in his father’s footsteps who was himself an organist. Cecil obtained his degree in Music at Wilberforce University in Ohio and completed his Master’s degree at Michigan State University. In 1961 he became the assistant to Doris Corbin on the Organ at St. Paul A.M.E. Church Bermuda. He became the Director of the Bermuda Police Male Voice Choir who had the honour of singing before the Queen and during the unrest of the 1977 riots it is said the smooth music helped to calm the crowds,
In 1980 Cecil succeeded Mrs. Doris Corbin at the church Organ and often played at other churches when ever his services were required. Cecil was married to Avery Smith (Jones) they had one daughter.
He was a teacher and taught Music to several generations of children at Sandy’s Secondary School where he remained for 12 years. In 1979 he received the O.B.E. from the Queen for his contribution to the Police Choir. Cecil shared his talents in later years with Christ Church in Devonshire until ailing heath prevented him from continuing to give his best. He was recognized by the Government in 1993 for his contribution to the Arts. He was also given a lifetime achievement Award in 2015 by the Bermuda Arts Council. Cecil you were truly legendary and blest my spiritual brother and lifted the hearts of so many your heavenly reward is well deserved.
Thaddeus R Ming
THE BERMUDA STROLLERS —-‘AS THE DRUMS BEAT’
Thaddeus (Ted) Rudolph Ming was born in December 1937 It is was as if he had music in his bones. At age 16 he along with his friend John Johnson started structing their music. Ted played the Guitar and John played Congo’s and Maracas. Ted and his friend John started entertaining the Tourist at their job in the Elbow Beach Cycle Store. They soon played three evenings a week for cocktails. Their full band was founded in 1955.
The band advanced quickly and played for College Weeks and Spring Breaks of young people. They made a great impression with their Calypso sound gaining the attention of President John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. They toured world wide and performed concerts at Central Park for the New York Marathon with an audience of 300.000. Other members of the Strollers were Rudy Ford, Dexter Dillas, their drummer. As Ambassdors’ for Bermuda they played along the East Coast from 1960-1980,
THADDEUS R MING
LISTEN TO THE MUSIC TELL THE STORY
‘THEY CALLED HIM SPARKEY’ 1923-2000
Hubert Winfield Lightbourne known to many as ‘Sparkey’ was the son of Laurie and Gladys Lightbourne of North Shore Pembroke. He attended Edith Minors’ Nursery School and later Central School. He began his working career as a grocery boy at Percy Hart’s grocery store than as a dishwasher at Castle Harbour and also as a bus boy on the cruise ship the Monarch of Bermuda.
In 1939, he worked as a deck hand on Darrell’s Island where he earned his license as a Marine Pilot and by 1942 when Darrell’s Island Air Operations closed he joined Mr. Tom Keel and Commander Ware at the Bermuda Aviation Services where he became Bermuda’s first Limousine driver. In 1952 he left the airport and joined the Bermuda Public Transportation Department working as a bus operator and sightseeing guide for 36 years being classed as Bermuda’s most outstanding sightseeing Tour Operator.
In 1947 he married Betty Wilson and that union produced seven children and in 1997 the Lightbourne’s celebrated their golden anniversary. Sparkey had several hobbies, Gardening, Kite making, Boating, Singing, Music (Jazz)) which was his great love and he sang with the Hayward and Hayward Ensemble and later with Lance Hayward’s MU-EN Chorale as a member and then director.
In 1974 he received the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour for his outstanding contributions to Public Transportation in Bermuda. An Award from the Pembroke Rotary Club, The Paul Harris Fellow award and in 1987, he received the Bermuda Government Tourism award and in 1994 the best of Bermuda Gold Award from the Department of Tourism. On February 2, 2006 the Central Bus Terminal in the City of Hamilton Bermuda was named “the Hubert (Sparkey) Lightbourne Central Terminal. Well done Sparkey for sharing your knowledge with us.
James Varity Grocery Store the way it used to look’
As time moves on we tend to forget those persons who paved the way for us to survive with their acts of kindness in our communities. Bermuda being a small Island surrounded by water it was important that we found ways to survive and not just rely on the import of goods from over seas although that really hasn’t changed much. I’m remembering some of our Ma and Pa shops that kept that tradition up in various neighbourhoods around Bermuda. Now as time has passed many of our Ma and Pa shops have closed or been made into other establishments or just left to deteriorate. Here are some that was the main stay in my Village area or nearby.
Burrow’s Grocery, Simmon’s Ice Cream and Varity, Swan’s Grocery, Phillip’s Grocery, Jonathan James Grocery, Tom Wilson’s Grocery, Jones Dry Goods, Robinson’s Goods, Mrs. Simmons Ice Cream & Nuts on Pond Hill, Mrs. Trott’s Hideaway Varity, Mrs. Baker’s with her secret S cake recipe that folk came from all across the Island to purchase, Mr. Sealey’s Grocery, Jockey Lamb’s Varity, Brownie’s Ice Cream Varity, Nick Flood’s Cafe, Bassett’s Minerial Water Factory, Stirling’s Mineral Water, Clarke’s Cleaners and Tux Shops, Campbell Richardson’s Restaurant, Kingsley’s Swan Shoe Repair, Mrs. Ottley’s Grocery, Wilson’s Night Club and Restaurant, The Flood Cleaners on North Shore, Empire Grocery, Dublin’s Grocery, Mr. Flood’s Grocery Devonshire, Dunkley’s Snowball, Degraff’s with his to die for beef pies, Bridgewater’s Sugar Cane and Mrs. Scotts Varity. Is it any wonder that as children we did not have to venture into the city of Hamilton to purchase any thing. It was I’m sure many more Ma and Pa shops about the Island that you too can remember so lets never forget those entrepreneurs that gave us that part of our history as they paved the way for us to follow.
The Colonial Opera House Threatre also in view the Lodge Building
In early 1900’s a group of young brothers had a grand vision that one day they would have their own Lodge Home they were brothers of the Loyal Flower of the Day Lodge #6347. It would be a mammoth task, but with determination they formulated plans to erect a building that would stand as a legacy until the end of time. During the era of racism it was not easy to achieve that goal. Five Black Brothers, made up their minds this was going to become a reality. After many meetings with their brother Lodgepermission was granted to purchase the land and proceed with the plans.
Brother Clarence Orister Darrell a business man of note who held some clout with the white establishment interceded and the land was purchased on Victoria Street. When the white businessmen found out that Brother Darrell had purchased the land not for himself but the Lodge Order they were furious but the deal was done. They stated “Had we known this is what you wanted the land for we wouldnever have agreed to the sale’ racism as obvious as the nose on ones face.The brothers involved in the building were Brother William ‘Syke’ Smith Master Designer, Brothers William ‘Willie” Stowe, Adolphus D Dickinson, Henry Heard, William Francis Wilson 2nd. known to some as ( W.F ), the youngest of the group and lead Mason, the work began. Once completed people looked in awe at such a magnificent structure with it’s Gothic Style. It became known as The Colonial Opera House Theatre adjacent it housed a Minerial Water Factory operated by William F. Wilson 2nd. and Seth O Hinson and in later years W,F, Sons and brothers -in-laws. The Manchester Unity Lodge Room was on the upper floor situated on the corner of Union Square which in its self has a story to tell and Victoria Street was built. Unfortunately the theatre after being rented out as a church was destroyed by fire in 1976 and was never rebuilt the lodge room still standsand on many occasions used for cultural activities as well as their meetings.
See full store of the Opera House Theatre “A legacy Destroyed ‘ in the book Bermuda’s Forgotten Heroes’ Our Greatest Legacy’ by Joy Wilson-Tucker
Richard Bascome was born in the area of his West Over Farm. He grew up accepting responsibility from an early age. His family returned to Somerset when he was age nine where he could be closer to his maternal grandparents. During this time Mr. Bascome senior raised cows and pigs. Richard along with his siblings had various chores to complete before attending school for the day. Often he travelled to West Side Marketing Centre to deliver farm produce for sale and deliver milk at times to Woody’s in Dockyard. In 1953 Richard travelled to an all trade school at Hampton Institute and later he moved to Ohio and served in the U.S. Air force as a fuel specialist. He took advantage of this career and lived in Texas, California and Korea.
He returned home in 1962, and sought work outside of farming, but as the need to help his family increased, he went back to the farm at West Side. He operates the only slaughter house on the Island, this is a lucrative part of his services to other farmers. Diary farming contributions is a significant portion of his farming as well. His two sons joined in the work along with a small staff.
As technology improves Mr. Bascome expresses his thoughts that every day the farmer has to look for ways to improve. He continues to supply milk for the Island as well as fresh meat which can be purchased twice a week.
He was acknowledged by Bermuda for continuing the family legacy of his parents and the services offered through the years by the Bascome family at West Over Farm.
When we think about visionaries we must remember Lloyd Telford born on the 5th of February 1934, he grew up during the racial divide with one set of standards of respect to one race and another set of standards to the other. Lloyd learned at an early age how to navigate in such a racially divided society attempting to be a successful human being while maintaining his dignity and individualism. He attended West End School in Somerset and at age 15 years he entered the five year Apprentice Ship programme at the old Royal Naval Dockyard. When the Dockyard closed in 1950 he was one of the apprentices sent by the Admiralty to Britain to complete their Apprentice-ship at Port-mouth Dockyard.
Mr. Telford ably acquitted himself at Port-mouth and on completion of his training, he was offered a commission in the Royal Navy as a Marine Electrical Engineer, which he declined. He entered employment at the Bermuda Electric Light Company and later at the U.S. Naval Base at Morgan’s Island.
He launched out on his own in 1959, providing electrical service to his community from his home, from these humble beginnings he and his family established the Telford Industrial Complex at Well Bottom in Southampton, and the Telford Depot building in Somerset. He was the founder of the Telford Mile, the youth competition for runners of ages 4-17 years and this event continues to be supported by the community and younger Telford family.
A thank you goes to Mr. Telford Sr, and his workers for his contribution of electrical work to the Bermudian Heritage Museum in 1998. Our good deeds should never go unnoticed.
I want to take this opportunity to thank those persons whom has taken the time to view the historical information I have posted on this web-site. I take a sense of pride in my knowledge and the time it takes to research and record the contributions Bermudians have made to our history. I also want to extend my thanks to anyofyou that has taken the time to point out any corrections that needed to be made or any oversites I have made. It is greatly appreciated. I will continue to do my best to record the history of our people to the best of my ability. I realize I’m just a vessel through which God has gifted me to produce and I’m thankful.I would also like to inform my readers that I have developed an additional web-site the domain name is “bermudapastourheritage.com It was recently done in February 2022. it covers more information on interesting people in our history. I hope at some point to link it with the Bermudianheritagemuseum.com site as I’m the administrator of both sites. Please feel free to view the new site I would appreciate your feedback. Any responds can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org for the new domain site. You can also make comments to me on that e-mail for the bermudianheritagemuseum.com site.
To you I leave my quote: “As you reach the stars of success, no matter where you roam, reach out to hold Gods unchanging hand so you’ll never walk alone.
Many times we have individuals that have faced obstacles throughout life that we hear very little about. Perry Oliver Johnson, Hazzard Florentus Dill and Phyllis Edness were three of those persons. Perry grew up in St. Georges attended East end Primary School and later attend school in Canada. He also did a stint in the Bermuda Militia Artillery which at the time was segregated. In spite of that it was there he received his first form of training in track. In 1948 Perry had the opportunity to go with a group of people who were travelling overseas to participate with an Olympics team. This team was known for three historical first. The first racially mixed team, the first to include men and women and Bermuda’s first entry into the track and field arena. Many black persons who were interested in track and field were secretly trained by Alma ‘Champ’ Hunt who felt that black athletes should be included in the team. The fact that an all white team had been sent to Berlin in 1936 did not escape Mr. Hunt. When told that if these persons intended to travel with the all white team they would have to raise their own funds Alma’ realized that the only way this could become a reality was through much hard work and determination and the biggest obstacle of all to raise funding for these athletes. It was difficult to know that there were persons that could compete and promote Bermuda but would be discriminated against and for financial reasons. Mr. Hunt had a brain storm he approached some of his close friends David Tucker and Hilton Hill upstanding gentlemen in society and when they learned of the plight of these young people, they quickly formed the Bermuda Amateur Sports Association. They approached other black sports clubs and organizations for financial aid and were successful in their bid. The three athletes went off to London and participated at Wembley Stadium with 9300 people watching. Champ Hunt however was never recognized as the team coach. The trio was successful and won their trial events and made their country proud. Bermuda Track and field Association (founded in 1971) became the governing body in 1974. Mr. Johnson left Bermuda in 1956 to work in the United Nations and later for Eastern Airlines. He returned home in 1972 began a career with the Department of Immigration and returned in 1988. He was still interest in the sport of Track and worked briefly as a massage practitioner, he felt this would help future local Olympians. When we look to the future of upcoming persons interested in the field of Track just how much has changed? Perry’s vision was to see a National Stadium that would be used to improve runners of the future and good competition must take place in order to produce world-class athletes. Alma Champ Hunt shared that vision. Yet one will ask just how much has things changed where do we go from here? See more on Perry at the Bermudian Heritage Museum.
Photo Hazzard Dill Bermuda’s first Olympian winner