City bandstand renovation starts
A historic Hamilton landmark is to get a major facelift for the first time in almost 15 years.
The City of Hamilton will start repainting the unique Victoria Park bandstand this week and the work is expected to last seven weeks.
The park will remain open while work on the cast iron structure, the only one of its kind left, is carried out.
The bandstand was built in Scotland in 1888 and shipped to Bermuda, where it was put together the following year.
It was put up to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, which happened the previous year, and to provide a venue where the public and the military could gather for concerts and other performances.
The bandstand also motivated the city fathers to build a park with the bandstand as its central feature.
It is one of a handful of bandstands from its time built with a corrugated iron roof as most from the period were made of zinc.
The bandstand suffered major corrosion and structural damage over the years and, with the help of Butterfield Bank, was dismantled in 2007 and sent back to Scotland for restoration.
It returned in 2009 and was reinstalled with a time capsule embedded in one of its columns that will remain unopened until 2109.
Ian Hind, the former engineer at the City of Hamilton, who oversaw the restoration, said: “Repairs had been done over the decades, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the major repair work was undertaken.
“We engaged industry experts from Scotland to provide a conservation assessment prior to the works being carried out.”
He added: “What is particularly notable is that the structure was prefabricated and shipped to Bermuda without the supply of skilled labour to erect it.
“It was not unusual for the large firms to ship such a structure complete with specialised staff to complete the project.
“This either indicates a level of skill by the Bermudians or a degree of financial prudence.”