The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

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This site is on the Heritage Asset Register which is the official list of Trinidad and Tobago’s historic sites that are worthy of notation and preservation. The register is authorized by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago’s Council and is by no means exhaustive. The sites on the Heritage Asset Register are not owned by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. The Trust welcomes any historical information and oral histories the public wishes to share with us concerning this site via the feedback form.

The first Catholic Church in Port of Spain was built in 1781 by the Spanish governor Martin de Salverria on the site that is now known as Tamarind Square.

The English governor Sir Ralph Woodford decided to build a church better suited to the growing and predominantly Catholic population. Plans were drawn by the governor’s secretary, Phillip Renagle, and the foundation stone was laid on 24 March 1816. The new church was located west of the existing church at the eastern end of what was MARINE Square, one Independence Square.

The building was laid out in the shape of a Latin cross and built of blue metal from the Laventille quarries, with iron framework from England for the doors and windows.

Dr James Buckley, Vicar Apostolic to the Holy See, arrived in Trinidad in March 1820 and the church became a Cathedral. Completed in 1832, the Cathedral would be consecrated in 1849 after all the debts had been paid. In 1851 Pope Pius IX declared that the cathedral was to rank as a Minor Basilica.

On 2 September the twin towers, originally built of stone, were destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt in wood as they are today. The towers contain twelve bells and a clock, added in 1879.

Olga J. Mavrogordato

Address: Independence Square North

Town/City: Port of Spain

Region: Port of Spain

Site Type: Cultural Heritage

Ownership: Private

Public Accessibility: Limited Access

Listing Status: Stage 4 – Preparation of Dossier for Heritage Site

Cultural Community:

Site Features: Places of Worship

Address:

Independence Square North, Port of Spain