Landmark Naval crests are reduced to rubble

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  • <B>Rubble</B> from demolished walls and buildings that previously were decorated by hand-drawn and painted Naval crests created by the crews of visiting vessels at the Royal Naval Dockyard since the First World War. The demolition makes way for a new development at Albert Row.

    Rubble from demolished walls and buildings that previously were decorated by hand-drawn and painted Naval crests created by the crews of visiting vessels at the Royal Naval Dockyard since the First World War. The demolition makes way for a new development at Albert Row.
    ((Photo by Akil Simmons))

  • <B>Soon to go: </B>This building at the Royal Naval Dockyard bears a number of Naval crests created by the crews of visiting vessels. Some of the artwork on the walls and buildings at the site dates back to the First World War. The building, and others in the area, are being demolished to make way for a new development at Albert Row.

    Soon to go: This building at the Royal Naval Dockyard bears a number of Naval crests created by the crews of visiting vessels. Some of the artwork on the walls and buildings at the site dates back to the First World War. The building, and others in the area, are being demolished to make way for a new development at Albert Row.
    ((Photo by Akil Simmons))

  • <B>A D&G construction worker</B> looks into the distance beside broken bits and pieces of the Old Naval Dockyard buildings.

    A D&G construction worker looks into the distance beside broken bits and pieces of the Old Naval Dockyard buildings.
    ((Photo by Akil Simmons))


Historic Naval crests at Dockyard were bulldozed this week to make way for a new development at Albert Row.

The crests date back to the First World War sailors left their mark by drawing the crest of their ship on the walls of the South Yard.

News of their demolition was greeted with dismay by longtime Somerset resident, football legend Clyde Best.

He was a boy in the West End when well known vessels such as HMS Hamilton, HMS Brilliant and HMS Londonderry were in working order.

Yesterday he expressed disappointment that a resolution couldn't have been reached to keep the drawings intact.

“The crests have been around since my teenage days or maybe even before, and with news of the buildings going down it's definitely going to be a miss in terms of history,” he said.

“Dockyard is a historical landmark in Bermuda, and many were hoping that they could have found a way to cut out the crests and put them somewhere but that wasn't to be.

“When boats such as the HMS Hamilton and the others would come in they would put up their crest and over time when they would be fading or deteriorating they would repaint them.

“Many of the ships also had football teams and they would play us over the summer. That's how I got my trade by watching them play, and that's how Somerset Trojans prepared for the season and had the upper hand in that era.

“They had serious historical significance, and it is a shame that they knocked them down given there were years and years of heritage on them.”

The crests were removed by Wedco, with each one photographed and placed in the National Museum of Bermuda.

Museum director Edward Harris admitted that although moving the pieces of rock was an option, the biggest problem was the fact that the crests were painted on individual blocks, not one whole wall that could be moved.

“There are many crests that are painted on the walls of buildings, which are either of concrete block or soft Bermuda limestone blocks, the latter also presenting the most difficult of tasks to take apart, as they are individual blocks and not, say, a sheet of painted plywood,” said Dr Harris.

“This is a type of transient art that most likely cannot be preserved by removal to another site, where one would somehow have to make sense of them in a new architecture setting, as well, even if one could cut them out of the existing walls in a large block for each crest.

“The crests have been professionally photographed on behalf of the National Museum and thus as historical data, they have been preserved for posterity.

“That is perhaps all that could have been sensibly done with this particular set of heritage objects.”

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Published Oct 17, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 16, 2012 at 11:20 pm)

Landmark Naval crests are reduced to rubble

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