The Royal Navy forces were not established here until the Napoleonic Wars of 1803 – 1815.
Spread along the southern outskirts of Bridgetown is a veritable community of approx. 100 old garrison buildings of historical and architectural interest, built from a period beginning in the 1660s and continuing into the 1800s.
In 1785 the British Government established permanent land forces in the Windward and Leeward Islands with Barbados as headquarters. Construction of the British Garrison then began in 1789 leaving behind a legacy of buildings, artillery and artefacts.
They were some (20) forts and (26) batteries around the island dating from the 1600s, making Barbados one of the most fortified islands of the British West Indies during that time.
The Garrison Historic area occupies 151 acres, and is also the exact location of a house where George Washington stayed for six weeks while visiting his sick brother in Barbados. The house is today simply called the 'George Washington House' or '?Bush Hill House' due to its location at the top of Bush Hill. It was where the first president of the United States stayed in Barbados during the year 1751 on his only visit outside of America.
On November 30th 1966, the Garrison Historic Area was also the location where the ceremony was held for the lowering of the Union Jack (British flag), and the raising of the Barbados flag, thus ushering-in full independence for the country of Barbados.
Ringing the track and weaving up and down the small gaps and roads surrounding the area are the many buildings that made up the Garrison. Some of the buildings are private homes; others have been converted to offices and places of business, while others sit abandoned.
An effort is now underway to continue the restoration process of many of the buildings as well as to develop an interpretive centre and make the island's enviable National Cannon Collection more available for public viewing. This collection constitutes the largest cluster of 17th Century English cannons in the world and is also home to one of only two cannons in existence containing a gun with Oliver Cromwell's crest. Some of the cannons can be seen in front of the Main Guard facing the racetrack.
Between 1905 and 1906 the British Garrison was withdrawn after the Barbados Regiment was formed in 1902 as the Barbados Volunteer Force. This volunteer unit provided local defense for the island and included soldiers who were part of the South Caribbean Force and the Caribbean Regiment. Some of these soldiers served in both the 1st & 2nd World Wars.
After the withdrawal of the British troops many properties were sold while others were donated to the Barbados Government.
Throughout the years, due to the commitment of the Barbados National Trust, the Government of Barbados, the Private Sector and the Barbados Garrison Historical Consortium, the buildings of the British Garrison in Barbados have become one of the most comprehensive and well preserved colonial garrisons in the world.
The Barbados Historic Garrison Area spreads from the Esplanade on Bay Street to the South Coast Boardwalk in the Hastings area.
The preservation of the Garrison's rich military history in this area has led to Barbados being added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
On June 25th 2011, "Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison" was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Official Inscription Ceremony commemorating Historic Bridgetown and the Historic Garrison as a UNESCO World Heritage Site was June 13th 2012
Things to Do & Places of Interest in Barbados' Garrison Historic Area
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Barbados Garrison Historic Area Tourist Attractions, Sites & Sights include:
Military Historical Sites surrounding The Garrison Savannah
…Listed clockwise from the Main Guard traveling around the Savannah
Other Historic Military Sights in the surrounding areas
…Listed East of St Ann's Castle – along Hastings area
…Listed West of St Ann's Castle – along Bay Street area
Activities & Tour Options:
The Barbados Garrison Historical Consortium Inc.
The Barbados Garrison Historical Consortium (BGHC) is an ‘umbrella’ body created to manage and coordinate the implementation of the Garrison Historic Area Project. Incorporated in July 2006, as a non-profit development corporation, it is governed by a Board of Directors comprising representatives from a wide stakeholder base, including government, non-government organizations and private tourism.
BGHC continues to work for the Sustainable Development of the Barbados Garrison Historic Area as a premiere heritage attraction.
Other Interest in the Garrison Historic area
for Barbados Garrison World Heritage Vacations & Holidays
Here are some BEACHES in the Garrison Historic area:
ACCOMMODATIONS RESTAURANTS & BARS ENTERTAINMENT & NIGHTLIFE
|Savannah Beach Hotel
|Rachel's Bar & Restauran/Drifters Beach Bar
|Harbour Lights Night Club & Dinnershow
|Island Inn Hotel
|The Boardwalk Restaurant
|Harbour Lights Beach Club, Restaurant & Bar
|Coconut Court Beach Hotel
|The Deck Restaurant
|Blakey's Bar & Restaurant
|Hilton Hotel Resort
|The Lighthouse Terrace
|Dinner with George Dinner Theatre
|Radisson Aquatica Hotel Resort
|Angle Guest House
|The Water's Edge
|Marriot Courtyard Hotel
|Nautilus Beach Apartments
|Brown Sugar Restaurant
|The Stable Coffee Shop
|Dippers Beach Bar
|Bayside Plaza & Food Court
|Blue Room Sports Bar & Restaurant
|Blakey's Bar & Restaurant
Gun Hill Signal Station
Used as the rest camp for the British Garrison
|On the south coast, 5 mins drive from Bridgetown, just past upper Bay Street.