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

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