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Senator calls for historic building to be saved

Wantley Building, on Princess Street (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

An independent senator today joined calls to save a historic building earmarked for demolition.

Michelle Simmons, vice president of the Senate, said Wantley, located on Princess Street, was a window into the island’s collective past and should be preserved.

Speaking in the Senate today, Ms Simmons said: “It’s not just a building. That’s our legacy. That’s our heritage. That’s our history.”

The Bermuda Housing Corporation-owned building was the venue for a meeting with the founders of the Berkeley Institute in 1879 which led to the school’s opening in 1897.

However the structure fell into disrepair and was set for demolition despite public outcry.

While Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, confirmed on Friday that the demolition would go ahead, Ms Simmons called on the public to do what they can to protect the building.

She said: “It’s our community’s history, its legacy.

“That building on Princess Street connects us with our past. It is not just a building to be demolished.

“It adds perspective to the Berkeley story, the Bermuda story and all of us, whether we attended the Berkeley Institute or another school.”

She said that if Wantley was restored, the island would be able to experience more of Bermuda’s rich past.

Ms Simmons said: “Are we going to allow Wantley to be demolished after 13 years of neglect by respective governments?

“Berkleyites and other members of the Bermuda community who believe in the preservation of our history, our culture, our heritage, we must step forward and do our part.”

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Published June 24, 2021 at 7:55 am (Updated June 24, 2021 at 7:55 am)

Senator calls for historic building to be saved

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