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Bermuda National Trust objects to planned porch removal

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2 Reid Street (Photograph from planning documents)

Plans to remove a porch from an historical Reid Street building have sparked objections from the Bermuda National Trust.

According to a planning application, filed last month, Mayfair Limited is seeking permission to remove the cantilever porch from 2 Reid Street because of safety concerns.

The property, which now hosts P-Tech, was the original home of the Phoenix Drug Store, which first opened at the site in 1902.

However, the proposal has sparked an objection from the Bermuda National Trust who noted the history of the building and urged that the structure be restored.

The charity said on social media: “After 122 years of existence it is understandable that today it is in an unsafe condition and requires urgent action.

“This building has been somewhat of a landmark in Hamilton and we hope that the owners will have a change of heart and replace or restore the balcony in order to preserve the character of the Queen and Reid Street corner.”

The Phoenix Drug Store at 2 Reid Street in 1905 (Image courtesy of Horst Augustinovic)

In a formal letter of objection, the BNT said that it understood the need to remove the porch for safety reasons but said that it should be conserved and restored “in its entirety”.

“We recommend that the original porch structure and materials, such as but not limited to the spindles and posts, be conserved and reinstalled alongside other restoration and replacement of the porch, insofar as it can be made safe for the public,” the letter of objection added.

The Corporation of Hamilton said it backed the removal of the unsafe balcony because of health and safety concerns given the structure’s condition.

However, it added: “While we support the removal of the balcony, the CoH requests that the Department of Planning approve the demolition on the condition that a new balcony be installed within a six-month period of the demolition of the existing unsafe balcony in order to preserve the character of the Front and Queen Street historic area.”

Plans to remove the porch from the old Phoenix Drug Store (Image from planning documents)

The building, designed by Bermudian architect Edward Peniston for chemist Fredrick William Grantham, was first erected in 1902.

Linda Abend and Margie Lloyd, for the BNT, said the building was designed to take advantage of its location with the main entrance located on the corner.

“Mr Grantham’s new premises opened on the evening of November 29 so that the electric and acetylene gas lights lit up the corner and attracted large crowds,” they wrote.

“Mr Peniston designed an impressive building with three storeys and a tower. The wraparound verandas on the middle floor and the tower were the prominent features.

“The lower veranda was originally used as seating for customers of the soda fountain located on street level.

“The cantilevered veranda or balcony appears to have been the first of its type.”

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Published June 15, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated June 15, 2024 at 7:58 am)

Bermuda National Trust objects to planned porch removal

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