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Artisan's Workshops

Visiting Hours: Week days 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


Often referred to as the old shoemaker’s shops, a building was constructed in 1869 in a section of the Jewish burial grounds that was used for members that were denied full ritual burials.  In recent times, the building had fallen into major disrepair.  The redevelopment scheme of what we now refer to as the new Artisan’s Workshops retained the outer wall on James Street with its original doors, and improved street access for pedestrians.  Four new artisans workshops, including a shoemaker shop, have been designed in the building.   

During the course of restoration, 17 gravestones were uncovered.  Several gravestone fragments that were probably shattered during the construction process in 1869 were also exposed.  The discovery of the gravestones under the foundation of the Artisan’s Workshops did not come as a surprise to local historian, Karl Watson:

…as the Jewish community dwindled in the second half of the 19th century, attempts were made to raise money to support the synagogue. A decision was taken to build four shops on the old synagogue burial ground (Indenture 6 May, 1869).
— Karl Watson in “1806 Plat of the Nidhe Israel Synagogue in Bridgetown, Barbados, Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Vol. LXI, December 2015

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