Queen of the East *File photo
Queen of the East *File photo

FRIDAY, NOV. 23: Attempts by the National Trust to purchase one of Bermuda’s most historic buildings have proved unsuccessful.

The Trust now fears that there may be little it can do to prevent the Queen of the East from being demolished or turned into a multi-storey office block.

The property which was built in the 1740s and was once a brothel, was put on the market for $1.95 million in May 2011.

And the ‘For Sale’ placard has remained on the wall facing East Broadway since then.

The building is no longer listed on the vendor’s website. And it is unclear whether the property is under contract with another party at the moment.

Jennifer Grey, president of the Bermuda National Trust, told the Bermuda Sun the trust had “worked tirelessly” to save the building.

She added: “Despite the current difficult economic times, the Trust does not accept that this remarkable building is without a viable future on the edge of Hamilton and believes it would be a tragedy for it to be demolished.

“We have explored the feasibility of finding external assistance through partnering with other organisations to determine if we could raise the necessary funds to save the building for the benefit of all Bermuda.

“In that vein, we approached the seller of the property, but so far have been unsuccessful.

”The Trust would like to appeal to any potential purchaser of the property to please consider saving the building, we guarantee that it would serve as an authentic unique asset.”

The old Queen of the East is said to epitomize Bermudian 18th century architecture and remains the least altered of all the original buildings along the historic Foot of the Lane waterfront. It was built at a time when St George’s was Bermuda’s only town and in its day was a substantial merchant house.

The house’s use varied and, following the establishment and growth of the City of Hamilton, it served as a bakery, laundry and even a brothel.

But in recent decades the old house has fallen into disrepair.

Ms Gray added: “The Trust fully appreciates that for countless commuters on their way in and out of Hamilton each day on Crow Lane, the Queen of the East appears to be an unsightly derelict building.

“But we can promise that on closer inspection the structure reveals what was once a Bermuda showplace, dating from the mid 1700s. “Despite its condition today Queen of the East remains one of the island’s most architecturally significant historic buildings.”

She added: “The BNT is confident that, while in significant disrepair, the building is sound and that the necessary repairs to restore the structure are achievable.”

The Sun contacted Caldwell Banker to find out the current status of the Queen of the East. But the agent said he could not comment as he was ‘bound under duties of care to the vendor’.