The New Amsterdam Town Hall; a memory of Guyana’s colonial past

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By Royan Abrams

 

The New Amsterdam Town Hall was constructed in the 1860s. It was an imposing Tudor timber building with a majestic tower. However, the tower which was 22.8 meters with a window walk was demolished on June 10, 2012 because of its severe state of disrepair.

 

Presently the New Amsterdam Town Hall is located at lot 14 Strand Street in New Amsterdam, East Berbice, Corentyne and houses the offices of the New Amsterdam Town Council.

 

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The building is strategically located and is easily seen from all directions within the town. A market which is located on the ground floor currently occupies over 2452.6 square meters of the structure.

 

An official who has been working with the New Amsterdam Town Council for several years now disclosed that the structure presently includes an expansive council room, a large airy concert hall which is naturally cooled by the open gallery on the eastern side, an outpost for the constabulary and a number of other offices.

 

It was said that the hall is currently one of the premier venue for cultural activities in New Amsterdam.

 

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About five years ago, the most unique feature of the town hall was its main tower which stretched about 75 feet above the main entrance. The main tower was capped by a single story smaller tower encircled by a window’s walk with architectural details, which are attributed to Guyana’s colonial period.

 

During its existence the tower had boasted large twelve paneled casement windows with narrow timbered hoods, each of which was supported by two elaborately carved timber brackets.

 

Unfortunately for the past ten years a number of rehabilitation works were done on the building which has reduced the aesthetic of the structure.

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