The Red House

In

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 Government Building on the site of the existing Rd House was constructed between 1844 and 1848. The buildings compromised two blocks as a concession to allow Prince Street, now Sackville Street, to remain open to St Vincent Street and Brunswick Square., now Woodford Square. In 1892, in an effort to provide much needed accommodation, alterations were carried out. Two new buildings of two floors were erected on either side of the northern building, used for the Court House- one to house the Registrar, the other the Record Office. Ornaments were also added to the exterior of the building. In 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the Government Offices were painted red and subsequently became popularly known as “The Red House”. The building was destroyed by fire in the Water Riots of 1903.

With D. M Hahn as the architect, the Red House was then rebuilt using the most of the external walls, but with added galleries and the Chambers at the northern and southern ends. Additional ornamentation in neo classical style was added to upgrade the appearance and the building was reopened in 1907.

In 1990, an attempted coup held the Prime Minister, the Hon Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson hostage, together with members of the House of Representatives for three days. It was not until 26 July 1991 that the traditional Chamber was restored to its original status. Parliament reconvened in that Chamber with a rededication and memorial service, in which a commemorative plaque bearing the names of those killed in and around the Red House during the attempted coup, was unveiled. An eternal flame, symbolizing “the need to be ever-vigilant in the protection of our democracy” was also lit outside.

With re-election of the People’s National Movement in 1992, the Red House became, once again, the centre of controversy, when a decision was made to remove sea serpent atop the weather vane in order to replace it with a Ken Morris design dove, bearing an olive branch in its beak. The installation, carried out during the night of 11 January 1992, was timed to correspond with the ceremonial opening of the 1992 Parliament session.

The Red House is now being restored.

Other Known Name: The Seat of Parliament

Address: 25-27 Abercromby Street

Town/City: Port of Spain

Region: Port of Spain

Site Type: Cultural Heritage

Ownership: Public

Public Accessibility: Limited Access

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

Cultural Community: British

Site Features: Public Buildings

  • Red House 2 Juliette Mcawly

    Red House 2 Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Corridor Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Corridor Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Ext Molding Detail Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Ext Molding Detail Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Interior  Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Interior Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Interior Hall Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Interior Hall Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Interior Molding Detail Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Interior Molding Detail Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Iron Banister detail Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Iron Banister detail Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Iron work detail Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Iron work detail Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Juliette Mcawly

  • Red House Molding details_J.McCawley

    Red House Molding details_J.McCawley

  • Red House Roof Juliette Mcawly

    Red House Roof Juliette Mcawly

Address:

25-27 Abercromby Street, Port of Spain