2nd Port of Spain Guide Hut

A Reflection

 

 

2nd Port-of-Spain Guide Hut was recently “burnt down” and we take this opportunity to reflect on the historical value of this building – now a heritage building – which held many memories for many people.

Our records show that Girl Guiding started in Trinidad on the 8th June 1914 at the St. Ann’s Church Hall Oxford Street, Port-of-Spain, by Mr. Anne Havelock, the wife of a Methodist minister with twenty-nine girls.  Four weeks later there was an outpouring of recruits – this resulted in the recruitment of Mrs. D. Burslem, Lieutenant to Mrs. Havelock and the formation of the 2nd Port-of-Spain Units.

 

The Brownie Guide section (younger girls then known as Rosebuds) was formed alongside the Senior Girls and Rangers.  Mrs. Leela Scott-Bushe succeeded Mrs. Burslem as Captain.

 

The first Headquarters was a shed on the old government farm situated in the now residential district of St. Clair where the Young Women’s Christian Association on Alexandra Street is now located.  In 1916 when the street was being extended from Hayes Street the company (2nd Port-of-Spain) had to seek new Headquarters.

 

The 2nd Port-of-Spain Units were given permission in 1916 by the then Colonial Secretary Sir William Knaggs, to use the small ruined outhouse of a former Government House in the back, western end of the Botanical Gardens, on the condition that the Guides were responsible for the repairs and did not expect government help.

 

All the guides worked hard to clean it up – one room was given to the Brownie Guides and the other was called the Guiders Room to house the Library and all Equipment, the centre room was divided into patrols.  By this time the House was no longer “in the bush” but rather on a popular thoroughfare to the Zoo.

 

This building enabled them to carry out the programmes which facilitated the Guides contribution to World War work and the promotion and development of citizens/members who gave service to the country as – Senators, Administrators, Teachers to the level of Patron of the Association.

 

 

"... other prominent citizens who shared and now mourn the loss, by fire, some no longer with us include the entire Knaggs clan, Andersons, Trestrails, Jardines, Alcazar, Inglefield’s, Stollmeyer, De Verteuils, Mona Porter, Margaret Bynoe and oh so many many more families."

The building provided the home base for moulding young minds and preparing young women to take up the role as responsible leaders to our Nations girls and young women in addition to accommodating international guests and trainers.

Both Lord Robert and Lady Olave Baden-Powell (founders of the Scouting and Guiding Movements) visited the building in 1930 on one of their trips to this country.  A number of prominent and outstanding citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have been members of the Guide Units which meet at the “Hut” and perhaps the most outstanding one has been Mrs. Zalayhar Hassanali who became Patron of the Association in capacity as wife of the Head of State – as is required by the Constitution of the Girl Guides Association of Trinidad and Tobago – other prominent citizens who shared and now mourn the loss, by fire, some no longer with us include the entire Knaggs clan, Andersons, Trestrails, Jardines, Alcazar, Inglefield’s, Stollmeyer, De Verteuils, Mona Porter, Margaret Bynoe and oh so many many more families.

 

Needless to say the valuable, irreplaceable assess to memories, badges, certificates, awards, equipment and historical records are regretted and we appeal to anyone who can assist in restoring and or providing historical data to contact the National Office through the Grace Anderson Girl Guides Headquarter, 8 Rust Street, St. Clair. Telephone 628-7966 or Email girlguidestnt@gmail.com