The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
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
Public Accessibility: Limited Access
Listing Status: Stage 4 – Preparation of Dossier for Heritage Site
Site Features: Places of Worship
Independence Square North, Port of Spain