Restoration of the Commissioner's House
OF ALL THE BUILDINGS CONSTRUCTED AT BERMUDA SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE 19th Century, only the Commissioners House at the Keep of the old Royal Naval Dockyard, now Bermudas Maritime Museum, can claim to be of international significance.
The Commissioners House was designed by the Chief Architect of the Royal Navy, Edward Holl, in the early 1820s. The construction of the building began in 1823 and took about five years to complete. Its architectural significance lies not in its imposing facade, nor in its superb location, but in its prefabricated design using cast iron for all major structural members.
The Commissioners House was the first residence in the world to be constructed using such cast iron features. It is now acknowledged to be one of the earliest and finest examples of that type of structural metalwork in the world.
Neglected since 1951, the building was in a sorry state when a programme was set out for its restoration by the Bermuda Maritime Museum in the late 1980s. Much has been accomplished and in 1991 the Museum was the recipient of an American Express Preservation Award for the ongoing work at the Commissioners House.
This is a project of international importance and of great local significance, as the Commissioners House is the finest architectural monument in the old Royal Naval Dockyard, now the most visited tourist site in Bermuda. The project has received much support from the local and international business community in Bermuda, but more help is necessary to complete this enormous task begun by the Board of Trustees some years ago.
We look forward to receiving the support of you, your friends and associated companies in this vital project for cultural tourism in Bermuda, I hope you will enjoy reading about the Commissioners House in this booklet and will be able to help the Museum and its Board of Trustees in this worthwhile endeavour for the preservation of this very historic building.
The Commissioners House and staff in the 1880s, with saluting cannon at front.
PAUL A. LESEUR,
CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF TRUSTEES,
BERMUDA MARITIME MUSEUM ASSOCIATION