September 9, 2009

Buxton’s Tipperary Hall restoration kick-started

Posted in Buxton, Education, Guyana, History tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:35 am by randallbutisingh

Buxton’s Tipperary Hall restoration kick-started

September 6, 2009 | By KaieteurNews | Filed Under News

The name Tipperary Hall is synonymous with Buxton and the village’s much talked about social events, at least to the elderly and not so young.

It was a name that rang out on the airwaves during ‘party time’ segments on Radio Demerara and the Guyana Broadcasting Service, and adorned billboards advertising the much anticipated excursions and other such events when all roads led to the village.

It was the place where many recall meeting their life mates; a place where the jury decided who had the best waltz and of course, who was the best dressed.


An artist’s sketch of the old Tipperary Hall in Buxton.

Over the years the hall had fallen apart and other venues took up the mantle.
Once the headquarters of the Buxton/Friendship Burial Society, the deterioration began with the advent of accessible banking institutions, as instead of persons pooling their resources in the village through the society, they were more inclined to put their money into the banks.

Hence funds to maintain the building had to be sourced from its rental for dances and other social activities. But then when the big string bands went out of orbit, the nature of dancing changed, rendering lesser use of Tipperary Hall.

Built more than 80 years ago, today, all that remains of Tipperary Hall are a few stumps which are really no reminder of what used to take place at the Middle Walk, Buxton site.
But there is a desperate effort to resconstruct the hall and this is all being done to honour the legacy of those early Buxton residents, as well as to provide a centre that the new generation could cherish.

A group of Buxtonians, some of whom are domiciled overseas, has committed to the rebuilding of the edifice, which was named after a county in the Republic of Ireland in the United Kingdom, and already several processes have been initiated towards this end.

Buxtonian Malcolm Parris, a former Government Minister, is one of those involved in the restoration project.
“There’s a Chinese proverb which says, ‘the longest distance starts with the first step’ and we are making the first step this afternoon by rededicating ourselves…to the restoration of a modern Tipperary Hall,” Parris told a gathering at a special service last Sunday to kick-start the project.
The service was chaired by Dion Abrams, the nephew of one of the most famous dancers on the Tipperary Hall dancing floor.

Apart from the famous ‘dances’ Tipperary Hall was managed by the Buxton/Friendship Burial Society.
According to Malcolm Parris, the descendants of African slaves were very ‘fussy’ about the way their loved ones were buried. And for this many persons were associated with the society.
“This benevolent and burial society ensured that you had a proper burial. They wanted to be absolutely certain that you received a good burial that they used to make their own coffins,” Parris explained.

In the earlier days, in the absence of electricity many persons gathered at Tipperary Hall to listen to political speakers from the city.
“There was Burnham, John Carter and Jagan. They all spoke at Tipperary Hall.”
According to Parris, the restoration of Tipperary Hall is seen as part and parcel of the restoration of the entire village.
He said that this is all happening when the village is currently being blessed with some positive vibes as against what was transpiring a few years ago.

Within recent times, Buxton has returned significant successes in the academic field, with many of its young residents excelling at the various local and regional examinations.
“Now we’ve got to go for the spirit of the people, and Tipperary has to do with the spirit of the people,” Parris told this newspaper.

The new Tipperary Hall will not only be a dance hall. It will encompass a community centre complete with a library.
There will be a series of fund-raising activities to assist in the restoration project and this will be supplemented by the contributions from Buxtonians overseas.
According to Parris, the coordinators are hoping to complete the project by 2012.



  1. Cyril Bryan said,

    Buxton’s Tipperary Hall holds a special place in my memory, as our family lived next to this Hall in the late 1950’s. My father George Bryan, was the school master at the Lusignan Anglican School at the time, and we lived at Buxton. I loved the village life there and the stress on education and personal development, which made me, like many others, achieve our goals in life.

    I do remember the various events held at that Hall. The Easter, August and Xmas events were especially popular. At that time there were trains and they brought the revelers from Georgetown and all all along the East Coast of Demerara. Everyone dressed in their best finery, and there was always the competition between the visitors and the Buxtonians as to the latest styles for both men and women. The popular bands, competing for best band at that time were Lucky Strike, Synchopaters, and Washboards… I really got to know these bands and their music and see the dancers from our window. I was even allowed to go in the Hall sometimes and observe the bands and the dancers. To this day I know all those old tunes. Remember, we did not have radio as yet, so these events were the highlights of entertainment for us.

    Of course there were weddings, church and Burial society meetings and other events… it was a busy focal point to be near and a very great experience for me as I grew up.

    We wish Malcolm Parris and his group all the best in their plans for the reconstruction of this important landmark and their overall work in re-establishing the good name and history of the people of Buxton/Friendship.

    Cyril Bryan

  2. randallbutisingh said,

    This was the song I used to hear villagers sing when I wa a litttle boy, many years before Cyril Bryan came to live in Buxton; the hall may be as old as, or older than I am; and I too, did not live far from it

    It’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way to go;
    It’s a long way to Tippreary, to the sweetesr girl I know.

    The Tipperary hall is a historic building and a landmark, standing beside the less imposing Church of God. I am glad to hear that Buxtonians overseas have decided to restore it. A new Tipparary, just near the main road, will give some significance to what was once regarded as the Premier Village in Guyana, and a feeling of some importance to Buxtomians. Take heart Buxtonians; we have not forgotten you. WE SHALL OVERCOME!

    The Art work
    The art work of the building was done by a son of Buxton Lyndon O’ Barton, a talented artist domiciling in Delaware in the United States of America. He is one of the major losses in talent that Guyana suffered because of bad governance. He, along with many other loyal sons of Buxton, has not forgotten his Motherland and is working behind the scenes to restore it to the status of what it once was, the Premier Village in Guyana. You can learn more of this gifted Buxtonian by visiting his website, the address is:

    • Lyndon said,

      Teacher Randall,

      Thank you for the plug on my artwork and newly launched website. However, regarding the website, I would like folks to know that this is a work in progress, since effort is still being made to add a body of work completed within the past nine years. In the meantime, I hope visitors to the site will find it interesting.


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