Designer of Hamilton landmark the Bird Cage, Dickie’ Bird dies
Hamilton’s first city engineer, who the Bird Cage on Front Street is named after, has died aged 89.
Geoffrey ‘Dickie’ Bird dedicated his life to Bermuda through his work within the business, arts and sailing communities.
Mr Bird was responsible for the construction of City Hall, co-founded the Marion to Bermuda sailing race and introduced the concept of condominiums to Bermuda. But he was probably best known for designing the Bird Cage after “seeing a policeman standing there and realising he needed to be protected from the elements”.
His widow Jean Bird said: “He devoted his life to Bermuda and was well respected by everyone but he never believed in blowing his own trumpet.”
Mr Bird passed away at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) last week after a lengthy illness. He was in the process of writing his memoirs.
Mr Bird enlisted in the Fleet Air Arm at age 18. He had a distinguished naval career as a pilot and air gunnery officer.
He was awarded the Russian Convoy Medal, Malta Defence Medal, Defence Medal, the General Service Medal, the Atlantic Star, the Italy Star and the 1939-1945 star. He moved to Bermuda from England in 1948 to carry out the $300,000 refurbishment of The Princess Hotel.
It was during this time he was credited for reducing the construction working week from 60 hours to 45 hours.
From 1950 to 1963 he worked as the Corporation of Hamilton’s first city engineer and surveyor. In 1960 he oversaw construction of City Hall. Mr Bird was reported as saying he was privileged to have been part of the building from sketch to skyline as “she was a building before her time in Bermuda”. He also had the ‘new’ fire station on King Street built.
Mr Bird founded Geoffrey Bird & Company in 1963, which went on to become Woodbourne Associates. He is also a co-founder of the Bermuda Paint Company and headed up the travel company, Adventure Travel. Mr Bird is the name behind the very first condominiums in Bermuda; Roxdene on Pitt’s Bay Road, Pembroke.
He also played his part in the building of Belmont Hotel, KEMH, Reid House and the British American Building.
A keen sailor, he was the co-founder of both the Bermuda Offshore Cruising Association and the Marion to Bermuda Race. It was in 1975 when Mr Bird and David Kingery were moored off a barren island near Antigua that they came up with the idea of the Marion to Bermuda Race. There and then they drafted the conditions of the race, most of which remain today.
Over the years Mr Bird also served as commodore at The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, president of the Royal Naval Officers Association and The Mariners Club and chairman of the Bermuda Sailors Home.
He was also twice recommended for the Queen’s Honours List for his services to maritime affairs in Bermuda.
He served as president of The Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society, was a member of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society and a founding member of the barbershop group Grate Sounders.
He was an executive committee member of the Bermuda National Trust and a trustee at the Maritime Museum.
Mr and Mrs Bird were married in 1985 and Mr Bird was a loving stepfather to Wyndham and Conway Bennett.
Mr Bird’s ashes will be scattered in the Great Sound and a celebration of his life will take place at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Church Street at 11am on June 25.
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