In preparation for their Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) examination in the month of May next year, four students (Camryn Williams, Gabriela Chase, Rashelle Bowen and Iyanu Antoine) from the First Choice Junior School with their parents visited the office of Norris Mitchell – Immediate Past President of the Willie Redhead Foundation (tWRF), on Tuesday December 16, 2014 in order to obtain information for their CPEA assignment entitled “St. George’s City – 300 years old.”

In a two hour engagement with the students Mr. Mitchell took them on a historic journey beginning with the first people, of the Pre-Colombian era, that of the Amerindians (Kalinago) to the first European occupation by the French in 1650, and the establishment of the first town called Port Louis, in honour of the King of France; on a strip of land in an area previously known as “the spout” or Ballast Ground.

The site of the new town proved unstable, as the land began to submerge, which necessitated its relocation in 1705, where St. George’s now stands, across the Lagoon from its original location.

The students were informed that the first major structure by the French in the new site was the construction of Fort Louis 1705 – 1710 (afterwards renamed Fort George in honour of King George III of England after its recapture by the British in 1762), for protection against pirates entering the harbour. As commerce grew, there was a need to construct warehouses along the Carenage, to store local produce for export as well as products and materials coming from the metropole. The commercial activities at the port (Carenage) saw the need for housing which followed the natural concours of the land around the harbour, and the coming of Tyrrel (now Herbert Blaize) Street, together with Scotts, Green and Lucas Streets.

While the Carenage was expanding another development was taking place at the same time on the other side of the ridge. This development at the Bay (Bay Town) was laid out by the French with the streets running parallel and at right angles to each other, with the Market Square becoming its focal point and the core of the down-town area. Sad to say, the Market Square within recent times, has deteriorated and has lost its urban and civic appeal for which it was originally designed, due to its current insensitive development, which pays no regard to its religious, cultural, historical and political significance of yester year.

In order to ease the laborious tasks of conveying materials and goods from the Carenage uphill- via Young Street by mule and manpower onto Halifax Street into the Bay, Governor Walter Sendall in 1894 commissioned the construction of the Tunnel, which was completed in 1895 and bears his name, thus connecting by road the two sections of the town.

The students’ attention was drawn to many outstanding heritage and historic buildings in the town with special reference to those on Church Street ie the original Greco-Roman Stone building of Presentation Brothers College, formally the Vicarage – residence of the then Vicar of the Dominican Priests, St. Louis Girls School, the St. Joseph Convent, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Cathedral House, the Registry, York House and Priory House. The significance of the Sedan Chair Porches (Porticos) also on Church Street were highlighted, as recorded at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C (USA).

Attention was also drawn to those historic buildings on Young Street and the area known as the HISTORIC VILLAGE including the Public Library Building, Hubbard’s Head Quarters and the Financial Complex.

In celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the city of St. George in 2010, the Tricentinnial Park was established to mark the occasion, but nothing was done by the sponsors to engage the Business Community to clean-up, touch-up and celebrate the city as a unique and important Georgian Town Site in the Caribbean, a case in point is the Foundation’s on going engagement with the Parliamentary Representative for the Town of St. George – Hon. Nickolas Steele for the RESTORATION OF YORK HOUSE, the former parliament building of Grenada prior to Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The Foundation took note of the plea made by Senator Ray Roberts during a recent sitting of the Upper House for the upgrading and enhancement of our Capital City as the SIGNATURE SITE of Pure Grenada, and the Foundation would like to join the Senator in bringing to the attention of the Authorities, which we have done on more than one occasion, of the Tourism and Economic potential, that will continue to lay fallow in the field of opportunity if our current dispensation is not adjusted accordingly.