Knowsley occupies a city block facing Port of Spain’s Queen’s Park Savannah and bounded by Chancery Lane, Dundonald Street and Albion Lane. The building was designed and built in 1904 by Taylor and Gillies for William Gordon as his residence. It is composed of imported yellow bricks and hand hewn local limestone. The marble on the veranda which surrounds the ground floor was imported from Italy and the wood for the magnificent staircase is purple heart from Guyana. The ceilings to the ground floor are plaster of Paris with gesso work executed by an Italian craftsman.
In June 1956, Kowsley was purchased by the government of Trinidad and Tobago for use as offices for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Knowsley is one of the last remaining examples of colonial architecture of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago. It was designed and built by the Scottish firm Taylor and Gillies and completed in 1904 using an amalgam of imported bricks and hand-hewn Laventille blue limestone. This mix of local and foreign elements is a leitmotif of the colonial mansions around the Queen’s Park Savannah and is reminiscent of George Brown’s legendary architectural signature. Knowsley’s unique design has been mentioned in a few accounts in the early 1900s: one foreign admirer in the early 20th century observed a whimsical quality about Knowsley likening it to the witch’s house in the fable Hansel and Gretel; another described the property as having “an almost ecclesiastical air of conviction.” Apart from its spectacular exterior fabric, Knowsley has managed to maintain its chic interior assets. These include its marble gallery floors imported from Italy; ground floor ceilings of Parisian origin, a staircase made of Guyanese-originated Purple Heart wood and engraved gesso work by an Italian craftsman whose artistry can also be found within the Red House council chamber. Aside from its own magnificence, Knowsley’s charm is also part of the collective architectural splendor evident in some of the other historical properties which circumscribe the Queen’s Park Savannah including the Magnificent Seven, Boissière House and President’s House.
Property of interest located in the City of Port of Spain and bounded on the north by Queen’s Park West, on the south by Albion Lane, on the east by Chancery Land and on the west by Dundonald Street.
Address: 1 Queen’s Park West
Town/City: Port of Spain
Region: Port of Spain
Site Type: Cultural Heritage
Public Accessibility: Restricted Access
Cultural Community: British
Site Features: Residences & Great Houses
Knowsley Corner detail Juliette Mcawly
Knowsley Etched glass door Juliette Mcawly
Knowsley Etched glass int_J.McCawley
Knowsley Interior Steps_J.McCawley
Knowsley Living room_J.McCawley
Knowsley Sconce detail Juliette Mcawly
Garlene Hicks – Knowsley Building
1 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain