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

The future of the Queen of the East looks a little bleaker after Planning Minister Sylvan Richards admitted it would be difficult for him to override the decision to delist it.

The National Trust has urged Mr Richards to put the historic Bermuda house back in the listed buildings category in a bid to save it from the wrecking ball. 

But the Minister told us: “I am not aware of any precedent where this has been done before.

“I know the building was delisted by a previous Minister and she had her reasons for doing that. And I can confirm that we have been approached to re-list it.”

Mr Richards added: “I believe in protecting our heritage.

“But I also believe that sometimes we need to be cognizant of the fact that there is a place for development.

“I am very familiar with the history of the Queen of the East as well as some of the parties involved with it now.

“I have not come to a decision as to which way I am going to go.

“It is challenging for me to override a decision of a previous Minister in this regards.”

Early settlement

The Queen of the East, pictured, was built in 1740 by George Darrell and is the last surviving building of those originally built along Hamilton Harbour’s foreshore as part of the early settlement.

In the early 20th century the premises became a laundry and staff offered ‘additional services’ to sailors and soldiers giving the building its exotic name and reputation as a brothel.

The building had been a Grade I listed structure until 2007 when it lost listed status following a request from the agent for the owner.

The property at 26 Crow Lane has been for sale for several years, but on March 26 its owners applied for planning permission to demolish the existing structure. n