September 27, 2009

Historic New Amsterdam, Guyana

Posted in Guyana, History tagged at 11:22 am by randallbutisingh

Mission Chapel Congregational Church in the 1950s

A panoramic view of Strand, New Amsterdam in the 1920s

New Amsterdam Public Hospital in  1950

A view of  a Dry Goods & Provision Store in New Amsterdam

The New Amsterdam Postal Service in the 1940s

New Amsterdam Cycle Course

The Governor’s House

A Dry Goods Store in New Amsterdam

A panoramic view of Queenstown, New Amsterdam

A view of Strand, New Amsterdam in the 1950s

A day in the Town of New Amsterdam

in the 1950s

New Amsterdam Waterworks in the 1950s

A view of Peter Chung Tiam Fook’s Dry
Goods & Provision Store in
New Amsterdam

The New Amsterdam Prison

Government Quarters, New Amsterdam (1950)

New Amsterdam Town Hall (1950)

Historic New Amsterdam

The town of New Amsterdam developed as a settlement  beside Fort Nassau some 55 miles up the Berbice River.  Around 1784,  as a result of the fluctuating fortunes of Fort Nassau, the Dutch relocated  the town to its present site at the confluence of the Berbice and Canje Rivers.
The name New Amsterdam was chosen because most of the colonists originated  from the province of Amsterdam in Holland. Between 1785 – 1790,  New Amsterdam was established as the seat of Government for Berbice. at that time the town was little more than a forest settlemnt, with a house there and a house there, no roads, no drains.
By the resolutions of an Ordinance dated 11 January 1791, plots of land were awarded to settlers along the river front. In 1776  George Pinkhard described the town as that of a wild country, only just opening into cultivation. It comprised an extent of wood and water, with small patches of land breaking into incipient tillage.
In May 1825 an Ordinance to establish a Board of Management for the town  was passed. Subsequent ordinances in October 1825 and September 1838 resulted  in the establishment of a ‘Board of Policy’ to be responsible  for the affairs of the Town. In 1844 a Board of Superintendence was established  for this purpose.
Under their guidance the town grew.  The Board of Superintendence lasted until 1 September 1891, when legislation was enacted to incorporate the Town into a Municipality. The membership of this council consisted of members who had served on the Board of Superintendents and Mr. Neil Ross McKinnon, K.C., who was president of that Board, was appointed as the Town’s first Mayor

The New Amsterdam Public Hospital: designed by Ceasar  Castellani, a Maltese architect, employed by the Public  Works Department of British Guiana during the 19th century, this edifice is one of the most beautiful structures in Guyana.  Arranged like a  Pavillion Hospital, with the wards placed end to end this edifice was constructed in 1878.

Mission Chapel Congregational Church:

this edifice was constructed after the first Mission Chapel which was founded by Reverend John Wray was destroyed  by the order of the planters who blamed the missionaries for the 1823 slave insurrection. Under the ministry of Ebenezer Davies, the foundation stone of this structure was laid in 1841.

All Saints Scots Church was founded circa 1820 through the assistance of the Public Teasury. In 1838 the present structure was built when the Scots aquired a plot of  land to erect a church and later a school to cater for the population of New Amsterdam.

Ituni Temple:

this elegant wooden building was constructed in the late 19th century. It is home to one of Guyana’s oldest  fraternity the Freemasons Lodge. Timber louvres and stained glass windows in the small tower with intricately designed fretwork are noteworthy features of this  edifice.

The New Amsterdam Town Hall :

This imposing structure was erected in 1868 after the establishment of the Board of Superintendants in 1844. The tower encircled by a ‘widow’s walk is one of the main architectural features of this edifice.

Submitted by Cyril Bryan – Guest Contributor


  1. patrick owen davis said,

    My grandfather Lionel Owen Davis who lived until the middle 1960s at 6 Main Street new amsterdam was a dental surgeon. you may be familiar with the name. he went to a dental school for coloured people in the USA during the early 1900s and returned to New Amsterdam after successfully completing his studies………..i can’t remember the school he went to (in the us), so i am putting out feelers to sources that might be able to help me know the school he attended. i know for sure that he was the grandmaster at the lodge on ferry street for quite some time well into the early 60s. perhaps there may be some record of his being a member of the lodge – ituni and phoenix lodge- and just maybe something that gives the name of the school.maybe?if you can’t help me on this, perhaps you can just send me the lodge’s address and then i will be able to communicate with them on this. as i said before i am just touching base with whatever i can gleam from the various sources that is available

    • Herman Bacchus said,

      Hi Patrick – I think u might know the Bacchus (photo studio in Water Street. I am one of Harold’s sons. U might be able to get that info from the Barrans or Latchana’s or Ganpatsingh’s
      I used to go to your grandfather fror extractions when I was 5 or 6 yrs old. He might have studied in Minnesota – that’s where Dr Ramlall went . Many people from N A were advised by Ramlall to go to MN. Maybe your grandaddy was the one who advised Ramlall to study medecine in MN??
      Herman Bacchus

    • Herman Bacchus said,

      Patrick – pl ignore this comment – it was meant for the Junew Ramdeholl inquiry

    • Loreen said,

      Hi Patrick, I remember you, Peter, your dad and granddad we were your neighbours at 5 Main and Coburg Sts.
      Hope all is well with you.

      • patrick owen davis said,

        thank you for your reply. two of my cousins wen to guyana a while ago and went to new amsterdam to look at granpa’s house and couldn’t find it so i suppose that it was torn down.i have a question, and that is, what was the address number of the house, was it 3 main street or 6 main street

      • David Jones said,

        David Jones lived on 5 Coburg Street opposite the fire station

  2. Rosalie Rodway said,

    Patrick I remember you and your grandad.We lived next door to you on Ferry street.My aunt was Carmen Bartrum. I suspect that most of the people who could help you have passed on.All the best however.Its nice to see a name I recognise From almost 50 yrs ago.

  3. Jackie Headecker said,

    I am looking for information of the family HEADECKER who lived in New Amsterdam. I am trying to get in touch with any of the descendents of this family, any information would be appreciated.

    • randallbutisingh said,

      Thank you for your inquiry.
      Please send a copy of it to as they have this entry on New Amsterdam in their Blog.
      That blog has a large Guyanese readership who may be able to help you.

  4. douglas liverpool said,

    very helpful. Looking for Cumberland Village

  5. June Ramdeholl Farinha said,

    I am trying to trace my husband’s lineage. His father’s name was William (Guilherme) Farinha who married Belvira Ferreira of New Amsterdam. Her siblings were Francisco (Francis) Gregorio Ferreira who married Julia Roza; Jose who married Serrao, (Belvira who married Farinha) and Antonio.

    I understand that Francisco Gregorio Ferreira was well known owing business in New Amsterdam and was also Mayor at one time. Has anyone got any information perhaps on him in particular?

    • Aodhagan Roddy said,

      Dear June Ramdeholl Farinha,
      My wife, Elizabeth Ferreira, is a grandaughter of Francisco Gregorio Ferreira. I have gathered a fair amount of information on his descendants and can communicate further if this email reaches you. We live in Galway, in the west of Ireland.

      Yours sincerely,
      Aodhagan Roddy

      • Marguerite Noone said,

        Hi Aodhagan,
        I am an old school friend of Elizabeth and would be glad to hear news from her. I am also researching my roots.
        Best Wishes from Marguerite Boulter nee Noone

      • Mark Farinha said,

        Hello Aodhagan

        My name is Mark Farinha and I am the eldest grandchild of Guilherme and Belvira. My father was Cecil and Phyllis Farinha. My youngest son is named Francisco after Francisco Ferreira. I would be grateful for any and all information you have about him including photos. Unfortunately in those days few photographs were taken and I would like to get whatever I can to pass on to my sons.

        Thanks very much

      • michael said,

        i am the grand son of Francisco gregorio ferreira my father was victor ferreira who had 3 brothers and 2 sisters. francisco was the mayor of new amsterdam and i believe his son patrick was mayor also. i would love to know more about the ferreira family

      • lisa mcginness said,

        Hi Michael,

        My grandmother was the sister of Francisco Gregorio Ferreira. I am trying to research the Ferreira family but I need to get a copy of Francisco’s birth certificate to find out his father’s full name ie. the full double barrelled portuguese surname which I suspect is Joaquim Ferreira. Do you know anyone in your family that would have this? It is very important.

        I have been in touch with Liz Roddy but she has not been able to help with this. If you can help or find out if anyone has his birth certificate, please can you contact me as soon as you can. Please email me directly at

      • lisa mcginness said,

        Aodhagan can you contact me at to discuss? Very important.

      • my grandfather was Francisco gregorio Ferreira from british Guiana if he is the same man then your father must be either Gerald Harold or patrick

      • hi aodhagan my grandfather was Francisco gregorio Ferreira who was the mayor of new Amsterdam if this is the same man your wifes father must be either Gerald, Harold, or Patrick Ferreira I am trying to trace my roots in British Guiana I live in north Yorkshire England best regards Michael Ferreira.

      • Eve Denise Farinha Bento said,

        I am the granddaughter of Belvira Ferreira who was the sister of Francisco Gregorio Ferreira. I live in Georgetown, Guyana former British Guiana.

    • my grandfather was Francisco gregorio Ferreira my father being his youngest son victor i know he was mayor of new Amsterdam and so was his son patrick

    • petfurse said,

      dear mrs farinha &mr roddy my grandfather was Francisco gregorio Ferreira and he was mayor of new Amsterdam so was his son Patrick if this the same man then mrs roddys father would be either Gerald,harold or Patrick my name is Michael Ferreira & I live in north Yorkshire england

      • Eve Denise Farinha Bento said,

        My name is Eve Denise Farinha Bento and I am the grand daughter of Belvira Farinha (nee Ferreira) She was the sister of Francisco Gregorio Ferreira. I think myself and another cousin are the only two who still live in Georgetown, Guyana (former British Guiana) My email is: evedenisebento@hotmail,com.

  6. Herman Bacchus said,

    Hi – I know a person named Jerome P(Perreria/) who used to work for the Ferrerias in the 60′s, 60′s, 70′s who managed DM Fernandes on Water and Trinity and Trinity Sts. JP was a Portugeuse who had a nephew named Desmond Serrao. Desmond was one of my friends in grade school. June, are u related to Anne Ramdeholl whose dad a store on Water Street?
    The Ferreria guy had sons and daughters – Terrence, Ronald Donna and Jackie (who lives in florida). Terrence and Ronald live in Tononto – u might find them on Facrbook

  7. Loreen Hanoman said,

    Patrick, we lived at 5 Main Street, our house was also torn down,
    there is a gas station in it’s place now ….I think. You wouls probably remember my sisters Janet and Juliet Hanoman.

  8. patrick owen davis said,

    i remember all you.your father had a dry goods store in new amsterdam. a guy by the name of allan ramlall told me via this blog site that he and his family lived in my grandfather’s house.he says that his father who was a doctor had bought the house and when they moved to america that sometime after the move they sold the house.but from how he described the houe it does not appear to be the house that my grandfather owned and that is why it is kind of important for me to get the number of the house.i know that a gentleman by the name of mr clark (a lawyer and his son) lived next door and their house was at the corner of main and charlotte street:grandpa’s house was in the middle of the block:the block consisted of 3 houses – one at the corner of main and coburg street, and mr clark’s house at the corner of main and charlotte street.perhaps someone you know may remember the number of the house that my grandfather lived in. i don’t know if you are still living in new amsterdam but, if you are,perhaps asking around may bring some answers to your question.the number of the address is kind of important to me for future reference.thank you anyway for your reply to my first also had some brothers if i remember correctly.

    • Herman Bacchus said,

      If your house was at the corner of Coburg and Main Sts , then
      I know a lawyer lived there in the 60’s – Taharalli or Thaharalli
      If u can find him, then u would have the correct number. If Loreen lived at 5 main street, and the Tower house was next to the house in question, then the lot number might be an odd number – so it could be 7, 9, or 11. Loreen might be on the money and my previous reference to lot 8 would be wrong

  9. Loreen said,

    Patrick, My guess would b that your address # was 9, i think, on our side of the st. were all odd #s( not to mean odd balls…or were we?) lol! and there was a lot betweem your house and ours where the Murrays once lived. Dr. Ramlall bought the house opposite yours where 1st Mrs. Benson (mother B) lived and then the Davies, I think they were English, remember David Davies and his mother Pam? don’t recall much about Mr. D.
    I had 4 bros. and 5 sisters, most of us left guyana by 1967.

  10. Herman Bacchus said,

    I knew some people (Naraine) who lived on the third floor of the Davies TOWER House circa 1965 – 1969 – I thought it was 8 main street. It was 3 stories with a cylindrical shaped tower which extended to a 4 th level (hence the nick name tower house) – there was a kind of deck on top offering a panoramic view of the area including the Berbice river

    • Maria said,

      Does anyone Knows the Wreford Family that live on Strand. New Amsterdam. Love to make contact with someone.

  11. Paul Kendall said,

    My name is Paul Kendall and I attended school with Patrick Davis.I remember the house very well and I think it was Lot 6 Main street.Glad to know you guys are still around.\Mr. J.T. Clarke was the attorney who lived at the corner of Charlotte and Main Streets.Also remember the Hanomans. Peace and Love.

    • David Jones said,

      Paul Kendall…is your dad WOR Kendall. David Jones

      • Herman bacchus said,

        Hello David .. Your uncle or brother Terry ate very close friends. I know Brian and Nunston well too.,also Joan and Annie too., Your mom (or grand parents)
        And dad were nice people .., tell tall hello for me (Herman bacchus)
        I married a girl who lived at 6 Main St -/ so I know that building well…,classic Dutch design !!

  12. Shahab said,

    Hi Aodhagan,

    My wife Eve Denise Farinha, is the grandaughter of Belvira Ferreira who married Guilherme Farinha. This would therefore make your wife Elizabeth her third cousin.
    i would be very grateful if you can share any information you may have on Guilherme Farinha and any other family history.
    My email is:

    Thanks and have a blessed day.


  13. lisa mcginness said,

    Does anyone have any information on Francisco Gregorio Ferreira and his family or know of any connection of the Ferreira family to the Joaquims. Any information would be gratefully appreciated

  14. Vivian Armstrong said,

    Hi, I’m trying to find out when the clerk, George William Armstrong arrived in New Amsterdam. I would also like to find out about Elleonore Therese Burnett whom he married in the All saints Catholic church. A son George Theodore was born to them in Smyth town in 1873.
    Help would be appreciated.
    Viv Armstrong

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