Tyrol Cot Heritage Village


Spooners Hill, St. Michael Barbados 13°07'30.9"N 59°36'26.3"W

TEL: 1 (246) 424 2074

Admission: Grounds are free

NOTE: The Tyrol Cot Main House is currently closed. However the grounds and other businesses in the Tyrol Cot villages are open for business such as Adams Rum Bar, The Real Escape Barbados Escape Room & The Coffee Brewtique. Feel free to visit!

The best of the iconic chattel houses of Barbados

The Chattel House Heritage Village was designed to showcase both the best of the iconic chattel houses of Barbados, which in the ’80s and ’90s were fast disappearing, and the traditional crafts of Barbados, in an “Outdoor Museum” modelled after the famous Black Creek Village in Ontario. It features replicas of seven of the most attractive houses identified by architect Bruce Jardine of Gillespie and Steel, a traditional rum shop, a replica of the last well preserved stone slave hut at Moore’s Hill, Nicholas in St. Peter, a blacksmith shop, and a chattel house museum, which is a 1920’s shingled house from Tudor Bridge, furnished in the style of that era. The slave hut was repaired and re-thatched with a grant from the Peter Moore’s Foundation prior to April 2016.

History of Tyrol Cot House

Tyrol Cot, on Spooners Hill, St. Michael, was the home of Sir Grantley and Lady Adams for more than 60 years, and the birthplace of their son J.M.G.M. “Tom” Adams. But apart from its historical significance for Barbados and the West Indies, it is also an architectural gem of Grade 1 quality.
The house was built by William Farnum in 1854. It was offered for sale in 1855 for the grand sum of 750 pounds, which does not sound as if he would have made him a profit! But apparently he lived there for some time, as the death of his mother at Tyrol Cot was reported in the press a few years later.
Mr. Farnum was a prominent builder who clearly built in the grand manner, as he built the initial grand block of Glendairy Prison in 1855, the male block with its 72 arches on the West façade, and later builtthe Public buildings porch.
Later ownership of Tyrol Cot is not known, until 1890, when it was purchased by Mr. V.A. Hanschell, a Dane from the Danish Virgin Islands (now the US virgin Islands), who founded the Ships Chandlers and merchandising firm of Hanschell and Larson. Hanschell sold it in 1926, allegedly in a deal related to legal services, to Sir Grantley, his attorney. Sir Grantley and Lady Adams took up residence after their marriage in 1926, and a honeymoon at Bathsheba. Sir Grantley died on November 28 th , 1971 and Lady Adams lived on there with a loyal retainer Olive, until her own death in 1990. On the morning of her death, the then Governor General called the President of the National Trust and requested us to do everything in our power to raise funds, under his patronage, to purchase, restore and maintain Tyrol Cot. as a national monument to a national hero.
Tyrol Cot is a superbly designed house of coral stone, echoing the “harmonic proportions” of Palladio, but with a minimum of decoration. The combination of Roman arches with triple Demerara windows is an entirely unique invention of Mr. Farnum, and a delightful combination of the classical with tropical
vernacular. Surprisingly, its particularly harmonious combination of arched doorways and ingenious arched Demerara windows, with three movable jalousied sections, from apex to floor, appears to have had little influence on the design of other houses.
The hallway in the centre of the house features a cupola above, which provides light, and from which a view of Bridgetown could be obtained, but access to this elevated view point must have been a simple ladder in the past. Apparently young Tom used to hide from his mother up there!
Other interesting features of the design are the elegant transoms over the bedroom and study doors – it
seems that ventilation was much more important than privacy in that era … The front entrance is a large, arched door approached through an elegant Palladian portico. The entrance hall has portraits of Sir Grantley on the left and son Tom, as Prime Minister, on the right. A mahogany plaque lists the major donors who contributed a total of a million dollars for the purchase and restoration of the house by the Barbados National Trust.


The Grounds

There are three charming outbuildings – a double carriage house and stable, built of brick, a brick garage,
and an “outside” toilet and bath, some 50 yards away in the garden! The circular driveway around the
lawn and lily pond in front of the house was a traditional Barbadian great house feature seen at Bank Hall,
Colleton House and several others. To the East was Sir Grantley’s pride and joy – his rose garden.
Beyond the driveway is a paved area, where Lady Adams held court with her visitors and her gin and
tonic in the afternoons. There was a splendid fernery of coral stone blocks and lattice work, which was
demolished by mistake, and cries out for replacement! The orchard, beyond the house, was developed into
the Chattel House Heritage Village after restoration was completed. There is a Jamaican ackee tree given
to Sir Grantley by Mr. Michael Manley, Premier of Jamaica from 1955 to 1952; he was a frequent visitor
to Tyrol Cot.

TEL: 1 (246) 424 2074

Admission: Grounds are free

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