National treasure: Queen of the East dates to the 18th century. *File photo
National treasure: Queen of the East dates to the 18th century. *File photo
FRIDAY, MAY 13: One of Bermuda’s most historical and colourful homes could be demolished to make way for a commercial development.

The current owners of the Queen of the East put the property on the market this week for a little more than $1.9 million.

The old waterfront house on East Broadway lost its listed building status in 2007, meaning the new owners could choose to level it completely.

The National Trust fears the sale could spell the end for the building, which has its origins in the 1740s and served as a bakery, laundry and even a brothel.

Jennifer Gray, the National Trust’s executive director, told the Bermuda Sun: “We desperately hope the Queen of the East can be saved and cannot stress enough how important this building is to Bermuda.

“The Queen of the East is the epitome of Bermudian 18th-century architecture and remains the least altered of all the original buildings along the historic Foot of the Lane waterfront. It is extraordinary that it survives relatively intact today.

“The architecture is representative of Bermuda’s early history, exhibiting features such as being built into the hillside, with the living quarters above and the warehouse below.

“It is accessible by water and has high tray ceilings, windows under the eaves, thick cedar beams and large chimneys at either end of the long rooms.”

Showplace

The Queen of the East was built when St George’s was Bermuda’s only town. It was an important merchant house and a major part of the 18th-century port.

In the 1940s, Bayfield Clark, a well-known architect, rented and restored the house and it became a Bermudian showplace.

But for the last two decades it has been left to fall to ruin.

It featured in a Bermuda Sun special report on derelict houses in February and pictures taken revealed how the property had been overgrown by vegetation.

Ms Gray added: “The Trust repeatedly expressed its concerns and offered help and advice to the owners of the building to prevent its ongoing decline.

“We were shocked in 2007 when the Grade I listed status of the building was removed, leaving it without any protections from demolition, especially when just a decade before it was recognised as being of such interest and architectural and historical value that it should be preserved.

“The Bermuda National Trust does not accept that this remarkable building cannot have a viable future on the edge of Hamilton and it would be a tragedy for it to be demolished.

“It is extremely sad to see it in its current state — the building demonstrates the grace of old Bermuda architecture at its best.”

The sale of the Queen of the East is being overseen by realtors Coldwell Banker.

Sales representative Tab Froud told the Bermuda Sun: “It does have a demolition permit and is zoned commercial.

“The architects have come up with two options. It could be four floors of residential or five floors of commercial space.

“The option of whether to demolish the property will be up to the buyer. We have had some early interest.”