Saving Trinidad’s Boissiere "Gingerbread" House

The historic Boissiere House on Queen’s Park West in Port of Spain is in danger of being razed, for which a petition, website, Facebook group, and Flickr Photo Gallery have been started in an effort to save this architectural treasure.

Built in 1904 and designed by the architect Edward Bowen, the house has been in the Boissiere family for 104 years. It is now being offered for sale, and is in grave danger of being bought by a property developer who will demolish it to build an(other) office block.

The Boissiere House is a prime example of the late Victorian creole “gingerbread” architecture that was once characteristic of Port of Spain. It is a landmark known to hundreds of thousands, and a national architectural treasure.

In his 1983 book Ajoupa, architect John Newel Lewis wrote: “No. 12 Queen’s Park West … is a classic Trinidad building…. This cottage Ajoupa is marked by its green slate, steeply-pitched roof which is the main element. A large dormer gable is most beautifully decorated with fretwork, the finest remaining example in Trinidad…. The whole effect is magical and nostalgic with mysterious colours and a melancholy air. This house is an example of Trinidad’s visual heritage at its best.”

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