Knowsley Building

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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.

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

Ownership: Public

Public Accessibility: Restricted Access

Cultural Community: British

Site Features: Residences & Great Houses

  • Knowsley (1)

    Knowsley (1)

  • Knowsley (2)

    Knowsley (2)

  • Knowsley (3)

    Knowsley (3)

  • Knowsley (4)

    Knowsley (4)

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    Knowsley (5)

  • Knowsley (6)

    Knowsley (6)

  • Knowsley Chandelier_J.McCawley

    Knowsley Chandelier_J.McCawley

  • Knowsley Corner detail Juliette Mcawly

    Knowsley Corner detail Juliette Mcawly

  • Knowsley Etched glass door Juliette Mcawly

    Knowsley Etched glass door Juliette Mcawly

  • Knowsley Etched glass int_J.McCawley

    Knowsley Etched glass int_J.McCawley

  • Knowsley Interior Steps_J.McCawley

    Knowsley Interior Steps_J.McCawley

  • Knowsley Living room_J.McCawley

    Knowsley Living room_J.McCawley

  • Knowsley Sconce detail Juliette Mcawly

    Knowsley Sconce detail Juliette Mcawly

  • Garlene Hicks - Knowsley Building

    Garlene Hicks – Knowsley Building

Address:

1 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain