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.