Trust helper: Bermuda is where I want to be
There’s no place like Bermuda for Margie Lloyd.
She and her late husband Peter once called Africa, Hong Kong, Fiji and England home.
They were living in the Cayman Islands, where Mr Lloyd was governor, just before they returned here permanently in 1986.
“People said I guess [you will be] moving to England to be nearer your children,” Mrs Lloyd said. “Two of them live there now and one lives in Dubai. I said, ‘No, I’m done travelling. I’m staying right here’.”
She found her place as a volunteer with the Bermuda National Trust, helping with an extensive survey of the island’s historic buildings and monuments.
“We looked at over 4,000 locations,” she said. “In only a quarter of the locations was there something historic left of real significance.”
The BNT decided to put all the research into a series of books about Bermuda’s parishes.
Mrs Lloyd helps with the proofs and carries out the administrative work around the publications. The eighth book, about Pembroke Parish, was released this week.
Last month, the Bermuda Arts Council honoured her with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work.
“We thought we’d put out one every six months,” Mrs Lloyd laughed. “It has taken a lot longer than that.
“An amazing number of people have never heard of the books. Some people in Bermuda appreciate what we have historically, but an awful lot don’t. I am not sure they really appreciate what the Bermuda National Trust does. “What I’ve learnt from the work is that most of what I was told about Bermuda as a child is rubbish.”
The 83-year-old grew up below Fort Hamilton in Pembroke. Her English mother, Dorothy, was a nurse.
Her father, Eugene Harvey, was a doctor who used a horse-drawn buggy to visit patients.
“When my father went to the hospital, the horse would sometimes get bored and lay down,” said Mrs Lloyd.
“Then my father couldn’t get him up. He’d have to call my mother to get him up again. My mother didn’t know how to ride, but at least wasn’t afraid of horses.”
The solution to her father’s problems came in 1942, when doctors were allowed to import cars.
“Neither my parents knew how to drive so Esther Trimingham, later Lady Trimingham, taught them how,” said Mrs Lloyd.
She remembers her worried parents huddled around the radio when the Second World War broke out.
“My father would often bring home survivors from ships that had been sunk in the Atlantic,” she said. “I can remember seeing mass funerals going along East Broadway; six or eight coffins all in a row from sunken ships.”
Her father went to Oxford, and she dreamt of following in his footsteps. After two years at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, she entered Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford University.
She believes she was the first Bermudian female to attend the prestigious university.
“I don’t know of any others before me, but certainly several have come after,” she said. “I don’t really know what my goal was. I think today children specialise in things so early. We didn’t back then.”
She studied chemistry for three years, and passed on an optional year in 1955 when she took a cruise to visit family in Africa.
“I met Peter on the ship going over to Kenya,” she said.
“I was going to Nairobi. He worked outside of Nairobi, but eventually moved much closer. When I went it was probably thinking it was a holiday, but then I thought it would be nice to stay and get a job there for a while.”
She found work at the East African Meteorological Department.
“I was cataloguing things,” she said. “I’d had some experience working in the library in Bermuda during vacations. I didn’t really know what I was doing though. I was probably doing it all wrong.”
She and Mr Lloyd married in Bermuda in 1957, returning to Kenya to live for several more years.
Mrs Lloyd found work with an organisation doing spectra chemistry research.
The couple had a son, Lokabandhu, while there. They then moved to England for two years before relocating to the Seychelles in 1961, where Mr Lloyd worked as colonial secretary.
“There wasn’t much pomp and circumstance,” Mrs Lloyd said.
“In the 1960s, Seychelles was very poor.
“Nobody had much money — including us. There were no frozen foods.
“On the other hand there were loads of lobsters for almost nothing. I had the second child just before we went there, Charles.
“My daughter Sue was born there.”
Stints in Fiji and Hong Kong followed.
“I have really travelled the world,” she said. “It was good.”
She enjoyed a spell back in Bermuda when her husband was deputy governor from 1974 to 1981.
“My mother was still alive and active and my brother was still here,” she said. “It gave the children a feeling of permanency.”
But in 1981 they were off again when Mr Lloyd was made governor of the Cayman Islands.
Mr Lloyd died suddenly after brain tumour surgery in 2007.
Aside from her work with BNT, Mrs Lloyd enjoys kayaking across Hamilton Harbour.
“I learnt to sail as a child, and as a teen at Oxford,” she said. “Now I have to content myself with kayaking across the harbour although right now my kayak is in need of repair.”
She has six grandsons and one granddaughter.
This article had been updated to reflect inaccuracies in the original version