Anguilla News

The Wallblake House…. Beautifully Restored

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The Wallblake House, after seven years of labour-intensive craftsmanship amidst dedicated fundraising drives, now stands beautifully restored and available for community appreciation and use. The house has provided the perfect setting for recent art shows and flower shows and plans are in progress to further utilize the spot for wedding receptions, school tours and more. Interesting, informative house tours are currently offered to residents and visitors on Tuesdays and Fridays between 10am and 12 noon.
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The exquisite home built in 1787 by William Blake formed part of the ninety seven acre sugar and later cotton plantation, which also included the Old Cotton Gin (now housing Ranny & Joe's Icecream shop) and the area now used by The Wallblake Airport. Many of the records of plantation were kept in St. Kitts and unfortunately got destroyed, so mainly through word of mouth recounts and sketchy details, was the history of Wallblake House recaptured.

The house was left to the Catholic Church by a Marie Rey Lake in 1959. (See her picture below right.) No restoration efforts were undertaken until The Wallblake Trust was established to lead the fundraising drive. Wallblake House, originally built by hand, was also painstakingly restored detail by detail, by hand, as close as possible to what is known to be the original design and colour scheme. The original wood that formed the upper portion of the main house and the roofs was hardwood from Guyana, and the restoration effort also used this material in replicating the design. The intricate patterns in the decorative wooden features throughout the main house are exquisite and great pains were taken to maintain the original beauty.
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Thanks to the dedicated fundraising efforts of the Wallblake Trust and generous support from the community and friends of Anguilla, approximately US$240,000 was raised with an outstanding US$28,000 still remaining to be covered. Special appreciation is extended to members of the Wallblake Trust, Iain Smith, the Architect and Tony Sheehy, the Building Contractor and all other key players for giving of their time and efforts completely free of charge.

Donations and volunteers are still very much welcome as the preservation effort of one of Anguilla's historical treasures continues. Two projects remain to complete the restoration…the lighting for the interior and exterior and the furnishings for the house. Volunteers are needed to act as Tour Guides and Coordinators for various committees such as fundraising, functions and historical research. Even if you can volunteer for a limited time like six months to a year, your contribution would be much appreciated. If you wish to find out more information about fundraising and volunteer opportunities please contact any one of the following: Marjorie at ferryb@anguillanet.com; Kathy at rachbeck@anguillanet.com or Fiona at dcurtis@anguillanet.com

Web site: www.wallblake.ai

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Story and pictures by Janine Edwards

 Revised: 2003/2/1



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