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Emancipation Monument

 

William T. Codd, a local businessman, bought two houses from the Jews along Coleridge Street in Bridgetown: the first one in 1827 and the second in 1837.  Government rented the larger house from 1837 until 1849 for use as their new “Town Hall” or Parliament to relieve the pressure of space in the Town Hall opposite.  Both chambers met here from 1837 to 1848 when they returned to the old Town Hall. 

At ‘Codd’s House’, several historic events occurred: one was the Act of May 1838 terminating the Apprenticeship System - the final act proclaiming Emancipation was passed by Government in 1834; the other was the statute of 1840 that created Bridgetown as the 12th constituency, leading to the election in 1843 of the first person of colour, Samuel Jackman Prescod, to the House of Assembly for the City of Bridgetown.

In 1847 an Act was passed establishing a Public Library in Bridgetown (which in fact was 3 years before the first Public Libraries Act was passed in Britain).  The Public Library was actually started in Codd’s House before it was moved in 1874 to the Public Buildings.

Mr. Codd’s house finally served as the Water Works Headquarters until 1972.  Codd’s House was then demolished in 1985 and the site became a parking area that covered an early Quaker cemetery.

[Sources:  S. Carrington et. al., 2004.  A-Z of Barbados Heritage.  MacMillan Caribbean, 2nd Edition

M. Greenidge, 2015.  Bridgetown, Barbados: A Walking Tour in Six Parts, Calton Printing, Barbados]  

To celebrate the history of this national heritage site, a commemorative monument and plaza with tour bus parking has been constructed as a major feature of the new master plan.  The design features a round classical rotunda with equally spaced Ionic columns and majestic dome with skylight. This striking monument is elevated on a circular podium and set within a new green space with majestic cabbage palms and other shade trees. This impressive heritage symbol is one of the dominant features of the Synagogue Historic District and indeed of the city of Bridgetown.

 
 
 

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