Last Thursday [July 21] the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kim Wilson participated in the Bermuda Post Office’s latest stamp series launch depicting the old Casemates Barracks. The event took place at Commissioner’s House in Dockyard.
Pictured below, Minister Kim Wilson (end) is pictured with from L to R: Lisa Quinn-Brown, Chair of the Stamp Design Advisory Committee, Robert Steinhoff, Chair of the Bermuda National Museum, Acting Post Master General Dr. Eugenie Simmons and Stanley Taylor of the Post Office’s Philatelic Bureau.
Minister Wilson said, “I am pleased to be here to highlight yet another fine addition to our Stamp Series – the stamps depicting some of Bermuda’s most iconic structures – Commissioners House, the Casemates Barracks and other images of the Royal Naval Dockyard.”
“So much has been written and recorded about the Royal Naval Dockyard, its cultural importance and its physical structures that it seemed only appropriate that we honour its historical legacy in a Stamp series.”
“Without question, Dockyard is considered to be one of the most fascinating areas in Bermuda. Its buildings and architecture are timeless, and over the decades the Royal Naval Dockyard has certainly enhanced Bermuda’s reputation of being one of the most culturally attractive locations in the world. In a moment, you will hear more from Mr. Stanley Taylor of the Bermuda Philatelic Bureau regarding the history of this stamp series.”
“However I’d like to share just a few highlights. History tells us that the Bermuda Dockyard of the Royal Navy was established in 1809 as a result of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), which ushered in the independence of 13 British colonies of what became the United States of America. History also tells us that the construction of the Dockyard took over 50 years.”
“Casemates, the second oldest building in Dockyard, housed the Royal Marines Light Infantry. It was built during the period 1839 to 1843 by large number of British convicts who were brought in from England, and it served as Bermuda’s maximum security prison from the early 1960s until 1994. Ladies and gentlemen, there is such a ghostly sense of history associated with Casemates wouldn’t you agree?”
“It conjures up thoughts of a rich and exciting history, which will forever be etched in our imagination. But the Casemates Barracks was also a significant location for the training of tradesmen.”
“And I want to commend the members of the Stamp Design Advisory Committee, in particular the former Chair and Minister of Education, the Hon. Dame Jennifer Smith, for recognizing this aspect of the facility’s historical significance and taking the steps to create a series of stamps in honour of this legacy.”
“Now more than 200 years later, the Casemates Barracks continues to have significant historical relevance.
In recent years, Cabinet sanctioned its approval for this building to become the Bermuda National Museum. And it has already yielded some exciting developments with the discovery of a major piece of local heritage, buried in the lower yard of the Casemates Barracks complex.”
“The feature proved to be a tunnel that runs underneath an existing building and courtyard for some 60 feet. So we are thrilled with the work taking place at the Casemates Barracks complex, as we know that the final result will be a special historical gem that our residents and visitors alike can enjoy and appreciate for many years to come. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in making this evening’s events a reality.”
“Particular thanks to Dr. Edward Harris, the members of the Stamp Design Advisory Committee, the members of the Philatelic Bureau, the Bermuda Archives for their images, and to the Creative Design team at the Department of Communication and Information for the final works of art you see today.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a wonderful piece of our history. And as we earnestly take time to look around and explore this part of Bermuda, we cannot help but be struck by the combination of past and present images – these formidable architectural structures and the new, modern bustling sea port community that is Dockyard.”
“Yes, our past and our present seem to embrace each other in this beautiful place that is the Royal Naval Dockyard. And may we continue to preserve our historical legacy for our generations to come,” concluded Minister Wilson.